Posted on 01 April 2010 by

Plant Duality – Flowering Kale, Ornamental Cabbage and Pansies (Part 1)

kale2By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I am always looking for bargains in all aspects of my life and one that I seem to have specialized in is planting plants that serve 2 purposes.

Flowering kale, ornamental cabbage and pansies fit this bill.

Early spring always makes my gardening elbow itch with excitement and anticipation of a new year of gardening. To treat my ailment I go to my favorite seed store and drool over my choices.

What to get, what to get I keep asking myself but my frugal lifestyle always leads me to plants with a double life that is flowering kale, ornamental cabbage, and pansies.

Flowering Kale and Ornamental Cabbage

These plants provide rosy and /or white ornamental foliage to a drab early spring and a splash of color in the fall. They go from seed to mature plant in about 11-14 weeks. Cool weather either spring or fall is needed fro the brightest color and planted in mass or as an edging enhances this color. But visual stimulation is not the only use for these plants they also address the palate.

Greens, Grits, and Country Ham with Red-eyed Gravy

Ingredients for greens dish


  • 1 head or bunch of flowering kale or ornamental cabbage
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  1. Remove tough ribs from kale or cabbage leaves and wash completely. Make sure that your leaves are dirt and grit free. This may take many washings.
  2. Place oil in skillet or wok and heat on medium
  3. Once oil is hot, place minced garlic in hot oil.
  4. Cook for 2 minutes
  5. Add greens and cook until wilted in texture.

Ingredients for grits

  • 1 ½ cup water
  • ½ cup corn grits (not instant)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, optional
  1. Place water in saucepan and bring to boil on high.
  2. Once water has come to boil place corn grits in water and stir.
  3. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir for 10 minutes or until they become the thickness one desires
  4. Place butter in grits and stir if you desire.

Ingredients for Country Ham

Please note you can use any type of ham but you will not be able to make Red-eyed gravy without this type of ham.

  • 4 slices of Country ham
  1. Place iron skillet or heavy skillet on stove and heat on medium.
  2. When skillet is hot place ham slices in skillet and heat until meat is thoroughly warmed throughout. This type of ham is already preserved and only needs to be heated.

Red-eyed Gravy

  • Ham fat from the country ham
  • ½ cup coffee
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoon butter
  1. Render fat from ham in skillet or it ham has been cooked in skillet just use that fat that remains.
  2. Add coffee and water and stir with wooden spoon. Scrape the bottom of skillet while stirring to loosen up the tidbits of ham and fat.
  3. Bring to a boil, add butter, and stir while reducing heat to low.

Plate the dish by placing a layer of greens then the grits and country ham on the side. Serve with the red-eyed gravy in individual serving dishes or pour over the greens and grits. Goes well with corn bread and country-fried apples.

Continue reading Part 2 of this article.

One Response to “Plant Duality – Flowering Kale, Ornamental Cabbage and Pansies (Part 1)”

  1. Running Betty Says:

    is the photo here cabbage or kale?

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