You will always find a kale plant or two in my garden. They are incredibly hardy—often living through the entire winter in our area—and they keep on producing heartily for months and months.
Because kale is so productive, you’ll usually find a bag or two of frozen kale in my freezer. Frozen kale is easy to drop into smoothies, sauces, and soups for a boost of color, flavor, and nutrition—and it’s incredibly easy to freeze. Even if you don’t have space to grow your own kale plant, you’ll want to stock up your freezer when kale is in season and on sale at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Let me show you how to freeze kale!
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What is the best way to preserve kale?
We highly recommend freezing kale to preserve it! Freezing locks in the nutrients, and, unlike other greens like spinach, kale is sturdy enough to retain a lot of its texture during the freezing process.
Teach me how to freeze kale!
Kale is one of the easiest veggies to get stashed in the freezer. Here’s how:
- Wash the kale well.
- Dry the kale using towels or a salad spinner—moisture left on the kale leaves can lead to freezer burn.
- Tear the kale leaves off the woody stem.
- Layer the kale on a large baking sheet. You can make more than one layer—kale freezes just fine stacked up as long as it is dry. Pop in the freezer to flash freeze for 2-3 hours.
- Transfer the frozen kale leaves to your preferred freezer container.
- Label and freeze for up to a year, depending on the container used.
Kale pesto is another great way to freeze kale.
Should I wash kale before freezing?
We recommend it! Leafy greens can pick up a lot of dirt when it is windy or rainy, so give those leaves a thorough wash before freezing. Then, make sure they get good and dry with a salad spinner.
Can you freeze fresh kale without blanching?
Yes! In fact, we prefer it because unblanched kale retains its texture well. However, one big advantage of blanching kale is that it takes up a lot less space in the freezer because the kale has wilted. To blanch kale: bring a large pot of water to boil, plunge in the kale for 1-2 minutes, or until bright green and beginning to wilt. Immediately plunge kale into an ice bath to stop cooking.
Does kale lose nutritional value when frozen?
Nope! In fact, freezing kale preserves its nutrients. It is loaded with just as many vitamins and minerals as the fresh stuff!
How do you store kale in the freezer?
Here are the four top ways we store frozen kale:
- Glass Food Storage Containers—I love these containers because they are reusable and it is easy to see what is inside. They can be a bit pricey and take up more space than some of the other options, so I like to mix in some of the other containers and bags too.
- Glass Canning Jars—You know I have a solid stash of mason jars, and the ones with straight sides (no shoulders!) are perfect for freezing.
- Zip-top Freezer Bags—Freezer bags are a great place to start, because you can buy them at any grocery store, and they don’t take up a ton of space.
Once your kale is flash frozen, you can easily break up the kale leaves into as small of chunks as you’d like for storage.
How long will kale last in the freezer?
Kale will easily last up to 6 months, and as much as a year, before you get any degradation in quality.
Should I thaw frozen kale before using it?
Nope, no need! The kale will thaw very quickly in hot foods. Here are a few ideas we have for using your frozen kale:
- Add some to your blender for delicious smoothies.
- Save yourself some time in the morning and add kale to these smoothie booster packs.
- Mix some into your favorite pasta sauce.
- Vegetable beef soup is a super flexible soup—try using frozen kale as one of the veggies!
- Heat up some kale for these sweet potato breakfast bowls in place of the spinach.
- Drop handfuls into hot soups or stews.
- Breakfast hash is a great dish that can always benefit from a little boost of green.
- Replace the spinach in Chicken Spinach Alfredo Pizza with kale. For this one, you’ll want to thaw the greens in the fridge and squeeze out the water before adding the kale to your pizza.
- Zuppa Toscana is a perfect way to pack some greens into your diet in the middle of winter.
- Use frozen kale in our Turkey Florentine Meatballs. You can even double up on the kale and use kale pesto on the spaghetti squash noodles to go with them!