Kale stalk “capers”, or kalpers if you prefer

This recipe was very heavily inspired by Sean Brock’s “South”.

I know you probably don’t even like kale. It probably makes you angry when people talk about it too. I feel bad for kale. Kale is a victim of circumstance. Very unfortunate circumstance. When it was adopted as the world-wide mascot for team hipster, its number was up. I can’t remember specifically if it was the kale smoothie or kale chips that did it in the end. I just know it happened. It made the average, vegetable-consuming citizens “10 most hated” list overnight. Poor, poor kale. But you can rest assured I am not here to convert you to a life of eating kale. I care not that your every living breath is devoted to the destruction of kale and all of its value-added products.

Here is a recipe to use the stalks that I doubt you will be throwing away from the kale you probably didn’t buy.

If you like capers I am pretty sure you will like this.


3-4 cups kale stalks that have been cut into 5-10mm pieces
2 cups water
¼ cup cooking salt
1 clove garlic
½ long red chilli, sliced (if you’re feeling the chilli vibe)
5 whole black peppercorns
200 ml white vinegar

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add salt and stir to dissolve. Remove pot from heat and add garlic, chilli (if using) and peppercorns and set aside to infuse. This will be your brine.
Once brine has cooled to room temperature strain through a mesh sieve into a large jar. Discard solids.
Add chopped kale stalks to the brine, cover and refrigerate for 2 days.
After 2 days drain and discard brine.
Pour vinegar over kale stalks, cover loosely (a cloth fixed on with an elastic band will do a good job of this for you) and leave at room temperature for 5 days.
Now you have kalpers.
Seal your jar of kalpers with a firm fitting lid and refrigerate.
Kalpers will last for a bloody long time but I’m not sure exactly how long that is because they haven’t got there yet.
Add to pastas, salads, smoked salmon bagels, anywhere a little pickley tang is required.

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