Close-up of frozen kale in a Ziploc freezer bag.

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!

Frozen kale in a closed, zip-top bag with fresh kale beside it.

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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:

Collage of six steps to freeze kale.

  1. Wash the kale well.
  2. Dry the kale using towels or a salad spinner—moisture left on the kale leaves can lead to freezer burn.
  3. Tear the kale leaves off the woody stem.
  4. 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.
  5. Transfer the frozen kale leaves to your preferred freezer container.
  6. Label and freeze for up to a year, depending on the container used.

Wholefully Protip

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.

Overhead of torn kale in a single layer on a baking sheet to flash freeze before storing.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Wholefully Protip

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:

 
Close-up of frozen kale in a Ziploc freezer bag.

How to Freeze Kale

Yield: 1 lb
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Frozen kale works beautifully in smoothies, soups, and casseroles. We'll teach you how to freeze kale so you can stock up when it's on sale!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound kale

Instructions

  1. Wash the kale well. Dry with towels or a salad spinner.
  2. Tear the leaves from the woody stems.
  3. Spread the kale leaves out on a large baking sheet. A few layers are fine, as long as the kale is dry. Stick in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  4. When the kale is frozen, move it to freezer-safe containers or bags. Label and freeze for up to a year.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

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11 Comments

  1. Hi there, thank you so much for your advice on freezing Kale. I live in the Highlands of Scotland and buy from an organic farm here. I want to buy in quantities to freeze until next years crop. I have it in Smoothies as need the antioxidants as have Macular degeneration and want to try and slow the blindness down. I don’t want to add more chemicals by buying shop produce so big thanks for the advice.

    1. Hi Holly! Mature kale leaves (the big ones) hold up wonderfully! You can barely tell they’ve been frozen. Baby kale is a bit more like spinach in that it looses most of its texture through the freezing and thawing process.

  2. Thank you VERY MUCH for such a detailed description on how to freeze kale and the nutritional benefits of freezing it. I just bought a fresh bunch of organic Lacinato kale and know that there is no way I will use it all before it starts to go bad. It is a really fresh looking bunch of kale so I am going to try your method. I also just happened to buy a case of freezer canning jars this week on Amazon which is perfect (unplanned) timing! Thanks a lot:-)

    1. You’re very welcome, Gail! We’re glad you found it useful. Thanks so much for coming back to tell us about it =)

      1. Have you tried to freeze Swiss chard? I have a huge amount, because of course it all comes on at once and I hate for it to go to waste….

  3. Does this only work with the big kale leaves? I actually prefer to use baby Kale and wonder if it would work to freeze it since the leaves are much smaller.