Lacinato kale in my front yard garden just waiting to be preserved for winter eating!In this post I’ll show you how insanely easy it is to freeze kale for use in delicious recipes all winter long.But, when I take an objective look at kale, it wins a place at the top of my “most worth it to grow” vegetable list.I’m often harvesting from those same kale plants through the heat of summer, into the cooler temperatures of fall, and right into the freezing days and nights of winter.Kale leaves are at their most tender and yummy when they’re new, so there’s not a lot of benefit to letting them sit in the garden for weeks on end.In the rest of this post I’ll walk you through the extremely easy process I use to freeze piles of kale every summer.Use a towel to pat them dry, or give them a few turns through your salad spinner if you have one.If you’d like the leaves to be loose and easily broken apart, spread them on a cookie sheet and pre-freeze them in the freezer for 60 minutes.I don’t find this to be a necessary step because even when you freeze the kale in a block it’s pretty easy to break off a chunk.A chest freezer stays at a constant temperature of zero degrees F. This is better for long lasting frozen food quality.Kale is difficult to remove from these jars, so I’ve defaulted to using freezer bags instead.I try to care for my bags so they last several seasons in a row and then they’re often downgraded to hold other random household objects.See all of my recommended garden tools, books, seeds, and easy preserving supplies in my Amazon storefront.I recommend keeping a record of how much food you’re preserving each year so you can evaluate whether you’re putting away too much, not enough, or exactly how much you need.I love to use frozen kale in smoothies, soups, stews, and stir-fries throughout the dark winter months.Here are some of my favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years that are a great complement to frozen kale.If you love the idea of having a stash of kale to use in your favorite dishes all winter long, make a plan to plant more than you can eat fresh this season.Then, when the plants are pumping out fresh leaves during harvest season, have a blast gathering piles of kale and using this simple method to freeze it!And don’t forget to check out my free mini-course: Get Started Stocking Your Pantry for Winter.I’ll show you how simple it can be to fill your pantry with lots of healthy food that will save you trips to the grocery store this winter! .
Can You Freeze Kale? [3 Must-Read Tips]
Often, you only want a handful of kale with your dinner and find half of the bag going to waste, right?You want to give it a good rinse under cold water to remove any dirt or bugs.Once cleaned, remove the main stem and any woody parts then cut into bite-sized pieces as you normally would.Once blanched, remove immediately and place in the cold water to stop it from cooking any further.Depending on the size of your tray, one or two cubes will be the equivalent of a serving for a person.Once frozen, you can remove the tray, pop the cubes out and store them in a freezer bag.If you don’t have an ice cube tray or want larger portions then try a cupcake or muffin tin.If you don’t bother to blanch the kale, then you’ll want to consume it within 2 months.If you have blanched the kale then it’ll be fine to store in the freezer for 6 months.Beyond this time, it’ll remain perfectly safe to eat but there is a risk that the flavour and texture will begin to degrade.As always, we highly recommend labelling your kale with the date on which it must be consumed so you can easily plan your meals and avoid wasting it.Simply place a cube into a pan over a low heat and allow it to thaw out.Unfortunately, refreezing kale isn’t advised as it can play havoc with the texture.It’ll remain safe to eat but without blanching the texture and flavour can degrade much quicker in the freezer.You’ll get that hit of kale goodness whilst keeping your smoothie nice and cool. .
How to Freeze Kale - A Step-By-Step Guide
Freezing vegetables is one of the easiest ways to reduce food waste, stretch your grocery bill, and save time.If you follow me on Instagram, you know we’ve been dealing with quite a few toddler sleep issues the past several weeks.I’ve been sharing a collection of tips, tricks, and suggestions from other mothers who have (wonderfully) offered their advice, which you can view in my highlights.Frozen veggies are one of my best secrets to eating healthy when you’re pressed for time, and when I have any excess kale, potatoes, broccoli, or other produce that isn’t going to get eaten before it goes bad.But technically, any bunch of kale that you buy from the farmer’s market, CSA, or grocery store can be frozen.If you buy too much fresh kale or you want to eat it slowly (or use it in smoothies, which is what I normally do), you can simply freeze for later use.Freezer-safe Ziploc bags or containers Instructions Remove the kale leaves from the stem.If you don’t like the thicker, coarse kale stems, you can certainly remove them (but there’s no harm in keeping them!).Place your rinsed kale in a large pot or covered pan on the stovetop.Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and submerge the kale about ½”.Firmly close the top of the pot or pan, turn on the burner, and bring to a simmer.If you have a salad spinner, you can pass them through it first to remove excess water, but you’ll still need to lay them out to make sure they are completely dry before you start the freezing process.Once the leaves are dry, lightly grease or spray a muffin tin, then divide your kale into 12 portions and gently press each portion into a compartment of the muffin tin (see note for instructions on using a cookie sheet instead).Transfer your frozen kale pucks from the muffin tin to a freezer-safe plastic bag or another airtight container.If you don’t have a cookie sheet that fits inside your freezer, you may need to freeze your kale in a couple of batches on dinner plates or another smaller flat surface.Recommended Products As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.All-Clad Stainless Steel Saute Pan with Lid Cookware, 5-Quart, Silver Did you make this?To defrost frozen greens, simply take the Ziploc bag they’re stored in out of the freezer and place it on the counter or in a bowl of cool water.This recipe combines yogurt, coconut milk, strawberries, bananas, and kale into each bite. .
Facts and information about Kale
Hyped by healthy living influencers and somewhat insufferable celebrities, kale’s popularity may seem like a recent phenomenon, but this member of the brassica family has actually been cultivated for thousands of years.This nutrient rich superfood originated in Asia Minor and the eastern Mediterranean and has been an integral part of German, Dutch and Scottish cooking for centuries.Until it was made popular by health-conscious celebrities (and possibly the owner of one PR company), the biggest buyer of kale was apparently Pizza Hut, which used the leaves to decorate its salad bars across the country.Kale was such an integral part of Scottish cuisine that the word “kail” featured in a number of sayings and idioms and was even used interchangeably with "food".As kale was the most cultivated vegetable in Scotland at the time, there was even a school of 19 th century Scottish writing referred to as “kailyard”, because of its idyllic representation of rural life.Kale chips were apparently invented by New York celebrity chef Dan Barber in the noughties, though there are other contenders who claim to have been the first to turn this divisive green into popular comfort food.It can keep in the fridge for a week or longer if you wrap it lightly in paper towels and store it in an airtight bag in the vegetable drawer.Keep it away from fruit and veg like apples, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, peaches and pears, as those emit ethylene, which can make it spoil faster. .
How to Freeze Kale (4 Easy Methods!)
Leave the stems on the kale if you’ll be pureeing it or using it in soups and stews later.For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.Making freezer smoothies is a great way to freeze your kale for a later use.All you have to do is stuff a freezer bag full of your favorite fruits and/or vegetables, label, date, and freeze.When you’re ready to make your smoothie, dump the contents in the blender, add your liquids and blend.This method is perfect when you just want to add small amounts of kale puree to smooth, chunk-free recipes like smoothies, soups or sauces.However, if you’re preparing something where extra moisture would not go unnoticed, be sure to thaw the kale and squeeze it dry.I like to place the kale inside a paper towel and squeeze that over the sink.If you have enough frozen already, make a big batch of Kale Cilantro Pesto and freeze that too!It’s a lightened up version of an Olive Garden Classic and crowd favorite, Zuppa Toscana.This Baked White Cheddar Mac n Cheese with Kale and Bacon is a bit sinful.Pasta loaded with rich, velvety cheese gets my taste buds watering during these often colder than fall but not quite winter yet evenings.Freezing raspberries is a wonderful way to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round!Frozen grapes make for great snacks on hot days, and they can be thrown into smoothies.Check out the entire Kitchen Tips and Tricks archive for lots of great ideas!Sign up for Good Life Eats email updates and never miss another recipe!Print Ingredients 1 pound Kale (any variety)* Instructions Make Freezer Smoothies 1.Stuff a freezer bag full of your favorite fruits and/or vegetables, label, date, and freeze.When you're ready to make your smoothie, dump the contents in the blender, add your liquids and blend.Chop the kale and freeze in pre-portioned amounts in small freezer baggies.Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!Tag @goodlifeeats and include the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen! .
Freeze Kale the Right Way
When preserving, it never hurts to have a little knowledge to make sure you’re keeping your product and your family in good shape.So we’ll talk a little about food safety, quality and nutrition so you’re going to be well-armed and avoid any pitfalls along the way.You can just jump ahead to the printable if you want but if you at least scan through the information you’ll know the whys and that’s knowledge you can use anytime you want to freeze just about any vegetable.It can be a difficult temperature to maintain with a refrigerator/freezer combination, especially if the door is opened often; keep a closer eye on those types of freezers and the food in them.Freezing won’t destroy bacteria or organisms like Clostridium botulinum or E coli or any other; for the most part, it just holds them in a kind of suspended animation.What goes in the freezer comes out, the bad with the good, and once your kale warms up as it thaws, so do all bacteria and other organisms, to do what they do best: multiply.While it might seem as if there’s little danger of thawing vegetables outside of the refrigerator, especially if the package feels cold, the outside surfaces can warm faster and bacteria can begin to reproduce there.Factor in the moist environment and before you know it there can be a veritable invisible stew of bacteria laced throughout your kale.While loose-leaf kale may sustain some damage in places, usually at the stems if wrapped in wire or rubber band (it’s a good idea to remove those from any vegetable as soon as you get it home whether you’re freezing or not) and stems can be trimmed off, bagged kale has dangers of its own.The high moisture content in those bags will ensure any bacteria will have multiplied and spread throughout the kale.Make sure your work surfaces, any cutting boards, knives, and your hands are well washed and clean.There’s really no need to go through heroics and lots of products to clean your counters but do wash with a clean rag (sponges are one of the worst offenders as far as carrying bacteria and it’s a health code violation to use them in restaurants) and soapy water and thoroughly dry.Wash your kale in a colander, not directly in the sink, by thoroughly rinsing under a strong steady stream.Generally, soaking in a solution of vinegar (about 3 tablespoons to a gallon of water) will take care of them.All vegetables and many other plants (and animal products) have proteins present called enzymes.That is why kale (and all kinds of vegetables, fruit, and other food) that isn’t treated, with enough time, will not be so attractive when it comes out of the freezer.Blanching can be done by steaming, boiling, or in the microwave and has the added benefit of destroying some of the micro-organisms that might be present on your kale.Blanching is essential to preserve the quality of kale or any vegetable frozen for more than a brief period of time in the freezer.Once the kale is blanched it should be drained, preferably spun, and or rolled in a clean kitchen towel to remove most of the moisture.While boiling or steaming kale for six to eight minutes will reduce most of the soluble (and about 1/3 of the total) amount of oxalic acid, the simple blanching to freeze will remove some of it.Drain your kale well after blanching, spin if you can, and if necessary, spread over a clean towel and roll it up to remove excess moisture.Wrap well (heavy Ziploc type freezer bags work well) and freeze quickly to minimize cell damage.Placing the bags on a metal sheet tray that has been in your freezer for 30 minutes is ideal.There are pots called Blanchers that come with a wire mesh basket and cover, and if you regularly prepare items for the freezer it can be nice to have.As soon as the kale is transferred pick up the strainer, still running the cold water over it and empty the pot underneath, replace the strainer in the pot in the sink and continue running the cold water over and into it.Category: Preserving Ingredients Scale 1x 2x 3x This is a preferred method for many home cooks.I’ll be sharing this week both at Fiesta Friday #324, coshosted by Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas & Spoons and at the Weekend Potluck. .
Can You Freeze Kale?
Kale is one of the heartiest greens around and might seem like it lasts forever in the fridge, but it really only stays fresh for about a week.Blanching kale before freezing prevents the leaves from turning bitter, helps maintain their color and extends storage life.The stems can also just go in an airtight freezer bag, and they'll make a great addition to those soups and stews as well.Transfer the frozen kale bundles to an airtight freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, then seal, label and freeze.Whichever method you use, the key is to always squeeze out as much air as possible and try to press the leaves flat, so the bag can be easily slipped in the freezer.And be sure to label the bag with the date and what's inside to make sure all that kale—and the energy you put into freezing it—doesn't go to waste. .
How to Freeze Kale (and Greens) for Smoothies, Muffins, and More!
This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.Learning how to freeze kale and greens for smoothies, muffins, soups, and more can be a total game changer.Whether it’s homegrown or from the store, freezing kale is one of my very favorite food storage hacks.Green smoothies are a nutritious and easy family meal option for all ages.Greens can go bad quickly in the fridge and they can often make a smoothie actually taste like a salad.This maintains the nutrition, prevents food waste, and helps you keep a stash of greens on hand for whenever the smoothie urge strikes.I prefer kale, either curly or the flat kind, or spinach, baby or full size.You simply need to wash, dry, remove from the stems, and place into a freezer bag.Yes, full size or baby spinach freeze really nicely this way and can be used similarly.Crush the frozen greens for a more compact bag in the freezer and for easier measuring.You can experiment with adding more to a smoothie, but taste it before you give it to the kids to make sure it’s sweet enough. .
Reduce Food Waste! How to Freeze Kale
You can freeze kale (and bagged spinach), so you can keep it on hand without it getting all gross and stinky in the back of your refrigerator.And since you’ll need to prep your kale before freezing it, it’s a great way to consolidate your kitchen work and make cooking faster and easier later.Once the kale is prepped and frozen, it’s ready to toss into any number of recipes later without any further work.Frozen kale will slowly dry out in the freezer over time, causing the flavor and texture quality to decline.Make sure you fully wash and chop your kale before freezing, so it’s ready to go straight into your recipe from the freezer.I buy bags of pre-chopped kale, but I always give it another wash and pick out any larger pieces of stem.If you’re buying a bunch of kale, remove the stems, chop it to your desired size, then give it a good rinse.Avoid packing or squishing the kale too tightly in the container so you can easily grab a handful or two at a time later, instead of having a large solid block of greens that you can’t break apart.So I hope this simple tutorial inspires you to freeze some of your next batch of kale, and saves you some dollars! .
How to Freeze Greens - Bon Appétit
If you're suffering from salad fatigue, or just can't eat another plate of sautéed spinach, we've got good news: Leafy greens are one of the easiest things to preserve.You can't preserve tender lettuce, but hardier greens like Swiss chard and kale lend themselves perfectly to freezing.No matter where you got your greens—farmers' market, farm stand, CSA, grocery store, your garden—it's important to rinse them clean of any dirt or (eek!).Bring a large pot of water to a boil—no need to salt it as you would for pasta, or for actual cooking.Once the water's boiling, add the clean greens and use tongs or a spoon to submerge them completely underwater.Using tongs or a wire spider strainer, transfer the greens to a large bowl or pot of ice water.Excess water will freeze, coating the greens with ice crystals that will degrade the flavor and texture as they sit in the fridge.Space the balls of kale, chard, etc., out evenly on a sheet pan, maintaining their shape but not allowing them to touch.Cover the pan tightly with a sheet of plastic wrap; this will keep them from collecting ice crystals.Once the greens have frozen partially, transfer them to heavy plastic bag; remove as much air as possible when you seal it. .