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Feb 21, 2010 10:41 AM

Cavolo Nero - recipe suggestions...and how to get rid of YUCKY APHIDS!

So I just bought a couple lovely bunches at the farmer's market. I'm grateful to have pesticide free food, however, when I brought it home to wash it, I noticed the leaves were infested. I'm not squeamish - I'll eat a few bugs don't mind the extra protein, however, I'm telling you - these were seriously INFESTED. One leaf had hundreds of bugs.

It sort of made me lose my apetite. I soaked it overnight and in the morning, saw thousands in the sink. Washing it 6-8 times, I got rid of most of it. So I must have wasted gallons of water to do this.

So: does anyone have suggestions of how to rid of these pesky aphids in the future, and 2) does anyone have foolproof recipe suggestions?


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  1. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you buy the future, you can soak the leaves in baking soda but you'll still have to wash them a few times to get them clean...

    1. I would make "ribollita"- a Tuscan bean and bread and cabbage "soup"....very thick and hearty and perfect cold weather chow. adam

      1. As an organic gardener, I deal with aphids sometimes too. Two suggestions:

        1) Use hot water instead of cold to rinse the leaves. Not hot enough to cook, just hot tap water. It'll rinse them off faster than cold. (I think because it's killing them, but I haven't ever made a close inspection.)

        2) Now that you know what to look for, inspect the leaves before buying (undersides and curling edges particularly) and point them out to the growers. Often aphids just congregate on one or two plants, so other bunches might well be aphid-free. Hopefully they would pull the aphid infested stuff, since that's not going to win them any love from their customers.

        For recipes, I like chopping up kale and adding it to spicy bean soup (sausage optional, but a spicy Cajun andouille is great).

        1. The farmers we buy from suggested washing in salt water to remove aphids. I've never dealt with hundreds of them like you though. When I bring greens home I fill a big bowl with salty water and soak them in there before rinsing under cold water and that seems to get rid of them. Something about the salt is supposed to make them lose their grip.

          The first thing I think of for cavolo nero is ribollita.

          1. I think if I had 100s I would toss that bunch. I buy organic kale and that's never happened to me. I usually soak it in salty or soapy warm water and then rinse under cold running water before using.

            As for recipes:
            Suzanne Goin's Long Cooked Cavolo Nero
            Spaghetti With Braised Kale (Bon App├ętit)
            Tuscan Kale Chips - These are addictive!
            Kale Salad With Pine Nuts, Currants & Parmesan