The greatest way to quickly freeze kale


Lacinato kale in my front yard garden just waiting khổng lồ be preserved for winter eating!

In this post I’ll show you how insanely easy it is lớn freeze kale for use in delicious recipes all winter long.

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During the height of the summerharvest season, kale can get a little lonely in our gardens. I have khổng lồ admit, I often brush by my kale plants in summer & rush towards the dramatic reds, purples, & yellows of my favorite summer vegetables lượt thích tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.

But, when I take an objective look at kale, it wins a place at the đứng top of my “most worth it to grow” vegetable list.

In my zone 5 garden, I plant my kale seedlings in mid-April and there they sit all season long calmly producing leaf after leaf after leaf for me lớn harvest và eat.

I’m often harvesting from those same kale plants through the heat of summer, into the cooler temperatures of fall, & right into the freezing days và nights of winter. It truly is an amazing vegetable!

It’s extremely long harvest season is why I devote a least one large garden bed lớn my kale plantings each season and usually grow somewhere around 12 plants of various varieties.

If you’re a kale addict like me, you probably over up with a large amounts of kale that’s ready for harvest, but no way khổng lồ possibly eat that large of a quantity.

(Although the magical wonder of a massaged kale salad can go a long way towards helping you ingest a mountain of kale in one or two sittings.)

When you get khổng lồ the point of having more kale than you can eat it’s time to freeze kale!

Kale leaves are at their most tender and yummy when they’re new, so there’s not a lot of benefit to lớn letting them sit in the garden for weeks on end. It’s better to harvest và use them.

Luckily, kale is one of the easiest vegetables khổng lồ preserve. There’s virtually no prep involved!

In the rest of this post I’ll walk you through the extremely easy process I use khổng lồ freeze piles of kale every summer.

I’ve stopped buying kale from the grocery store in winter because I can simply run down to lớn my basement chest freezer và pull out a bag of frozen kale whenever I want.

If you plan it right, this can be your reality, too!


This post contains tiếp thị liên kết links.

Directions lớn Quickly Freeze Kale

It’s true – you can freeze kale raw! I used khổng lồ steam it first, but after a tip from a friend, I started freezing it raw.

I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two methods. So, of course, I opted for the path that gets the kale into the freezer quicker.

And if you’re also growing swiss chard, collards, and beets you can feel không tính tiền to mix these greens into the same bag as the kale, especially if you need lớn bulk up the amount you need lớn fill a freezer bag. Check out this post all about freezing swiss chard.

Food preserving really doesn’t get much easier than this.

De-stemming the kale.

Step 1: De-stem và Chop

Use a knife to lớn cut the leaves from the stems và chop the leaves into desired bite-sized pieces. You can discard the stems, freeze them with the leaves, freeze them separately, or turn them into Kale Stem Pesto!


Chopping the kale into pieces for freezing.

Step 2: Wash

If you tend to lớn have worms và insects in your kale (I do!) you might want to wash the leaves before processing.


Dry it in a salad spinner after washing.

Step 3: Dry

If you rinsed your kale, try to lớn dry the leaves off a bit before freezing. This will cut down on the ice crystals that form due khổng lồ moisture.

Use a towel lớn pat them dry, or give them a few turns through your salad spinner if you have one. (I’ve had this one for many years và use it several times a week.)


Step 4: Load into containers

In this step you have a choice on how you want the finished sản phẩm to function.

If you don’t mind the kale leaves freezing into one big chunk, simply pack the leaves as densely as possible into freezer bags. This is what I do.

If you’d like the leaves khổng lồ be loose & easily broken apart, spread them on a cookie sheet and pre-freeze them in the freezer for 60 minutes. Then pack into freezer bags.

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.

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You could try a few bags with each of the two methods and decide which you like better.

See below for notes about other containers to use.

Step 5: Store

The best place to store your frozen kale is in a chest freezer. If you’re getting serious about easy food preserving you’ll want khổng lồ invest in one.

The freezer contained in your kitchen fridge (upright freezer) goes through periodic defrost cycles, which is why your ice cream is a bit soft sometimes when you dig it out for a late night snack.

A chest freezer stays at a constant temperature of zero degrees F. This is better for long lasting frozen food quality.

When you freeze your kale it will last up to lớn one year – unless you eat it all first!

Ta-da! Five steps. That’s it!


Containers for Freezer Storage

We’re trying to reduce our overall plastic use in our house. For many of my frozen food items I use wide mouth glass quart, pint & half pint glass canning jars.

Kale is difficult lớn remove from these jars, so I’ve defaulted lớn using freezer bags instead.

I try to care for my bags so they last several seasons in a row và then they’re often downgraded to lớn hold other random household objects. But, they still bởi vì wear out and need to lớn be thrown away.

If you have the budget, or plan to lớn just freeze small amounts of food, you could invest in Stasher bags (or some other reusable silicone based bag).

You can also use plastic tupperware type containers for freezing vegetables.

See all of my recommended garden tools, books, seeds, and easy preserving supplies in my Amazon storefront.

How Much Kale khổng lồ Freeze

I find that a quart-sized amount of frozen kale is one or two servings depending on how I’m using it in a recipe.

That’s why it’s so convenient khổng lồ use the quart freezer bags, even though I’m not crazy about the plastic. (If you have a solution to lớn this leave me bình luận below!)

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.

It’s best to try to eat your frozen kale & other vegetables within one year.

I checked my records and I usually freeze 15 quart bags of kale for winter & tend to lớn use them up by the beginning of the kale harvest season the next spring.

Once you have fresh kale coming out of your garden you’re not going lớn want to lớn dig out that old frozen kale!


Ideas for Using Frozen Kale

I love to lớn use frozen kale in smoothies, soups, stews, and stir-fries throughout the dark winter months. I simply take out a freezer bag và use the whole chunk, or cut off what I want with a knife.

I don’t usually defrost it first. I throw it in frozen.

Frozen vegetables never have the same consistency as their raw counterparts, so frozen kale is best used in cooked dishes.

If you love massaged kale salads you should use your fresh kale. (Here’s a blog post where I mô tả how to lớn make a massaged kale salad.)

In any recipe that calls for frozen spinach, I substitute frozen kale instead.

Favorite Recipes for Using Frozen Kale

Learning how to preserve your extra vegetables is only one part of the equation. Once you have that down you can start searching out recipes that highlight the vegetables you’ve put away. That’s the fun part!

Here are some of my favorite recipes I’ve discovered over the years that are a great complement to lớn frozen kale.

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables from Cookie and Kate

Kale và Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes Recipe from 101 Cookbooks

Best Vegetarian Lasagna from Love & Lemons

Quinoa and Kale Veggie Quesadillas from Love & Lemons

If you love the idea of having a stash of kale to use in your favorite dishes all winter long, make a plan khổng lồ 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 & using this simple method lớn freeze it!

And don’t forget to kiểm tra out my không lấy phí mini-course: Get Started Stocking Your Pantry for Winter. I’ll show you how simple it can be khổng lồ fill your pantry with lots of healthy food that will save you trips to the grocery store this winter! Start watching the videos here.

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