If kale is thriving in the vegetable garden, but you’re not quite ready to use it, freezing kale will preserve your precious leafy green veg and be on-hand for when you are ready to use it. Read on to learn how to freeze kale and easily preserve your garden harvest.
Kale is such a productive plant in my garden as well as being a powerhouse of nutrients for your health. That makes it a garden winner in my book!
Actually, the kale plants in my garden this season are all self-sown. This is because I left a kale plant or two to flower and set seed at the end of the previous season, and I was rewarded with an abundance of these kale plants throughout my garden.
Many of the kale plants I transplant into places in the veggie garden I want them to grow because I find them in all sorts of places besides the garden — such as in the cracks of the pavements, in my potted fruit trees and even growing in the lawn!
When I find a vegetable plant that grows well in my garden, I love to grow them again and again. After all, what could be easier than transplanting a few self-sown seedlings?
Siberian Kale Variety
This particular variety of kale is Siberian Kale (Brassica napus pabularia). It’s an easy leafy green vegetable to grow with blue/green leaves that are frilled at the edges.
The flavor of Siberian Kale is mildly sweet and the leaves can be eaten at ‘baby-leaf’ stage all the way through to mature leaf stage. And eating the leaves is very versatile because they can be cooked or eaten raw.
Siberian Kale grows to 16 inches (40 cm) tall and it’s really easy to grow thanks to its hardy nature.
With so many kale plants growing in the garden, I wanted to make sure I could preserve my harvest and use the leafy green superfood before it went to waste. Freezing kale is my favorite method to preserve the harvest for later use, so here is how.
How To Freeze Kale
I was able to harvest approximately 2-3 bunches of kale from my garden, so it was well worth preserving.
Step 1: This method involves blanching the kale leaves so start by preparing a pot of simmering water on the stove.
Step 2: Then remove the hard kale leaf stems which can be frozen separately and used in stir-fries, stews or soups. Or if you’re not planning to use the stems, they can be discarded and composted. You can use a knife to cut around the stem but I just run my hand down the stems and stripe the leaves off.
Step 3: Wash the kale leaves well. And if you are growing organically like me, you will want to wash away any unwanted critters who might be enjoying your kale.
Step 4: Next, give the washed kale leaves a rough chop with a knife.
Step 5: And then pop the kale leaves into the pot of simmering water and blanch for 2 minutes. (Blanch stems separately if using them, for 3-4 minutes).
Step 6: Drain the kale and squeeze out any excess water. I used a strainer for this and pushed the kale against the strainer to remove the water. Wait for the kale to cool a little before doing this —it’s hot!
Step 7: Finally, place the kale in freezer bags and into the freezer.
I like to weigh the kale and label the freezer bags with the weight and the date. This just makes it so much easier to work out how much you need for your recipe when you go to use it. I placed my kale in two separate freezer bags each weighing 4.75 ounces (135g).
Frozen kale will last for 8 months to 1 year in the freezer.
Can You Freeze Kale for Smoothies?
Absolutely you can freeze kale for smoothies! For smoothie size servings you might like to freeze kale in ice-cubes before popping them out frozen and placing them in freezer bags. Then it’s just a matter and taking out your frozen ice-cube kale and adding them to your smoothies.
Here’s a link to my favorite blender for making smoothies.
And here’s a recipe to try for a Kale Smoothie.
How to Use Frozen Kale
Frozen kale can be used in a variety of ways. You can use kale in pretty much any recipe that requires leafy green vegetables such as Swiss chard, spinach, and collards. Here are a few ideas:
Use frozen kale in soups, stews, casseroles and stir-fries. Both leaves and stems can be used.
We have a recipe here for a Brown Rice, Kale, Beet and Feta Salad Recipe.
Here’s a soup recipe using frozen kale to try: Kale, White Bean, and Lemon Soup.
As mentioned above, frozen kale leaves can be used in smoothies.
Frozen kale can be used on pizza, scrambled eggs or in a Quiché or pie.
For a twist on a Spanakopita recipe, try this Greek Mixed Greens Pie with Phyllo Crust.
Can You Freeze Kale Without Blanching?
Yes, you can freeze kale without blanching. Simply remove the stems, wash and dry the leaves and place them into freezer bags. It’s best to use these kale leaves within 4-6 weeks because after this time the taste may become bitter. This is due to enzymes continuing to ripen which is stopped when the kale is blanched instead.
Freezing kale is such a simple process, it makes preserving your kale super easy. And once your kale has been processed, it’s then effortless to use it in recipes throughout the months when leafy greens may no longer be growing in your garden. Why not give it a go?
Some of My Favorite Kitchen Items: