Learn the easy ways to freeze kale in two easy ways to use for recipes, smoothies, and more. Enjoy the health benefits of kale all year round.
We have officially started harvesting at our little homestead! And oh man, do we have a lot of kale! Apparently, I didn’t realize how many plants I actually planted. Oops.
I just picked two small spots and now they have turned into crazy kale making machines! So now that we have it coming out of our ears we are preserving our harvest by freezing it for later.
We are not huge raw kale eaters, but we love putting them in smoothies, soups, and eating Kale chips!
It’s been about 2 weeks since I froze our first bath and its about time to freeze some more! With the warm weather and tons of rain we have gotten, our plants of exploded and we have way too much in the garden!
We have also froze some strawberries and service berries (aka saskatoon berries, juneberries, etc) and have many more freezings planned.
Kale can be frozen fresh or blanched. Follow the step below and see why you may want to take the extra steps to blanch it.
Health benefits of kale:
- High in iron, calcium and vitamin A, C, and K.
- High in antioxidants.
- Great anti inflammatory food.
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Tips For Freezing Kale:
- Decide if you are going to freeze it fresh or blanched.
- Freeze some fresh if you know you will be using it sooner rather than later, like for smoothies.
- If blanching, freeze them on parchment paper or silicon baking mats to make them easy to remove from the cookie sheets.
- Dry blanched kale well using a salad spinner or on towels.
- This doesn’t just work for kale, repeat the same process with other leafy green vegetable like swiss chard and collard greens as well.
Benefits Of Freezing Kale
Reduce food waste: Rather than just tossing out that bag of greens sitting in the fridge, freezing it for later allows you to use it for things like green smoothies and more of your favorite recipes.
Preserve: Easy way to preserve the harvest to use in the winter while also preserving the flavor of the kale.
Healthy: Kale freezes super well and there is little to no nutrient loss. Especially if you pick it straight from the gardena and then put it in the freezer shortly after.
Easy: It is truly a very simple process that only takes a few hands on minutes. Just follow the simple steps below.
How long can you freeze fresh kale?
Unblanched kale can keep well in the freezer for 4-6 weeks up to 6 months. Blanched and stored frozen kale can keep in the freezer for 8-12 months.
Is frozen kale healthy?
Yes! Frozen vegetables in general can actually be healthier that fresh veggies if they are picked and prepared at the peak of freshness when their vitamins are at there peak.
Fruits and vegetables that have been on a truck for transportation or sitting at the grocery store shelves can start to loose some of their nutrients due to enzymes they produce called trypsin and chymotrypsin.
Some vitamin C and B vitamins can be lost during the blanching process, but the majority of the nutrients are preserved.
Can you freeze fresh kale without blanching?
Absolutely, but unblanched kale will not stay good as long. Blanching stops the ripening enzymes from continue which can cause the leafy greens to turn bitter.
Should I wash kale before freezing?
If you are freezing kale picked from the garden, or whole leaves from the store or farmers market, then yes, it is recommended to wash before freezer. If you are freezing a prewashed bag of kale from the store, then it is not necessary.
What is the best way to preserve kale?
Freezing and freeze drying is the best way to preserve for later use. Freezing is the most cost effective way for preservation.
If you want to freeze dry it, you will need this fancy little machine found here.
Want more delicious kale recipes? Check these out!
- Spicy Kale Chips
- Blueberry Chia Green Smoothie is a great and sneaky way to add in veggies.
- Italian Rise Dish With Spring Veggies – swap out the spinach for kale.
- This Apple Kale Salad is a delicious way to use fresh greens
- We love this simple Ginger Beef Broth Bowls
Tools you may meed:
How to Freeze Kale – Two Easy Ways
Option 1: Freezing Fresh Kale Without Blanching:
Wash with cold water and dry fresh kale leaves. If you are using store-bought kale, that has already been washed, then you can skip the washing and drying.
Dry completely. I like to use a salad spinner or just place them on a clean kitchen towel to air dry completely. Any excess water left on leaves can lead to freezer burn.
Chop or rip kale into smaller pieces.
Add to a baking sheet in a single layer.
Pop in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until completely frozen.
Transfer the frozen leaves to an airtight container or freezer safe ziplock bag. Remove as much air as possible. Label the container.
Use kale within 4-6 weeks (possibly up to 6 months) or else it may turn bitter.
Option 2: How To Blanch And Freeze Kale
Place a large pot of water onto the stove on high heat. Bring to a boil.
Rinse your freshly picked kale well and remove the stems by pulling all the green leafs from the stem. (Place kale stems in separated dish and give to your’s or your neighbor’s chickens)
Place kale leafs into the boiling water for 2-3 minutes to kill enzymes and to discontinue oxidation.
Next, transfer kale from boiling water into a large bowl of ice water for 2-3 minutes. This ice bath stops the cooking process.
Squeeze out the extra water, as best as you can.
Lay kale in between a towel and press to remove any extra moisture. Roll into small balls and place on a cookie sheet.
Freeze completely and place into freezer bags for storage. Keep up to 8-12 months.
How To Use Frozen Kale:
- Healthy smoothies – Like this tropical oatmeal smoothie.
- Toss into to soups and stews: Like my favorite bacon minestrone.
- Add to homemade pasta sauce
- Stir it into your favorite pasta dish
- Add it to a breakfast hash like this sweet potato hash.
- Create a freezer smoothie pack by adding your smoothie ingredients to plastic freezer bags for convenience.
- Add to enchiladas or tacos.
- Toss into eggs, omelettes, or a quiche.
- Mix into fried rice
- Serve as it’s own side
These are just a few of my favorite ways to use this versatile ingredient.
How To Freeze Kale
- Freezer container ex) freezer safe plastic bag, Tupperware, etc.
- 1 lb kale
- Wash with cold water and dry fresh kale leaves.
- Chop kale into smaller pieces.
- Add to a baking sheet in a single layer. Pop in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until completely frozen.
- Transfer the frozen leaves to an airtight container or freezer zip-top bag and remove as much air as possible. Label the container.
- Use kale within 4-6 weeks or else it may turn bitter.