Category Archives: In the Garden

The Superhydrophobicity of Kale


Kevin is Portuguese. He grew up on salted cod fish and boiled things thrown together. Unfortunately, I dont like either of those things.  I try to find a middle ground, in the end I end up making this dish often. It is that perfect agreement between any relationship – he gets his chorizo and I get to feed him a hefty amount of kale. We both win. Spicy smoked meat combined with a veggie that is one of the nutritionally dense – with a serving containing significant amounts of vitamin c, calcium, carotenes, B vitamins, chlorophyll etcetera etcetera.


It is also my favorite thing to grow in the garden. It grows all year long (here in Berkeley) and one plant can be harvested endlessly (or so it seems).


These days Kale’s reign over the lesser vitamin packed veggies is known (to the point of becoming trite), but the thing that has always amazed me the most about it was the when washing it there would be little beads of water that would form and slide off its waxy cuticle. Scientific and very magical.
This was my first encounter with Biomimicry and as I now know something called “The Lotus Effect”. It is this superhydrophobicity (as they call it) that has inspired water repelling clothing and paints. It is a natural mechanism that through a microscopic rough structure and protrusions of hydrophobic waxy nature allows a plant to self clean, which happens when the water droplets slide off effortlessly taking dirt away with them.

kale combined

This soup is a consistent hit and insanely easy and malleable to additions.
New Bedford Portuguese Kale Soup
Bundle or two of Kale
One Large Onion
2 Chourico or Chorizo
8 Cups of Chicken Broth
Olice Oil
6 Cloves of Garlic
Can of Cannellini Beans
Paprika or Cayenne
Salt and Pepper
Saute onions first in olive oil and then add garlic. Add slives chourico for a minute. Add liquid and simmer for 10 minutes.
Rinse kale and tear leafy portions from stems. Add kale. (You can add potatoes here to if you like them) Simmer for 30 minutes. Then add beans if desired.