How to Freeze Kale

Опубликовал Admin
10-06-2021, 08:10
Freezing kale is a great way to preserve it for later, and it can ensure that you have access to fresh and healthy greens when they're not in season. The trick to freezing kale is to clean it and blanch it first, as this will preserve the flavor for longer. Not only that, but if you freeze your kale in individual portions, it'll be ready to go right out of the freezer whenever you need it.

Cleaning and Blanching the Kale

  1. Gather your supplies. To freeze kale, you first need to clean it, trim it, blanch it, and shock it to help preserve the flavor while it’s frozen. To do this, you'll need as much kale as you plan to freeze, along with a few simple kitchen tools, including:
    • Knife
    • Large pot
    • Large bowl
    • Colander or strainer
    • Four clean kitchen towels
    • Tongs
    • Slotted spoon
  2. Wash and trim the kale. Rinse the kale leaves under running water to remove dirt, bugs, and other debris. Place the leaves on a clean towel to remove excess water. Cut the very ends off the stems, and then cut the stems into one-inch (2.5-cm) pieces. Set the stems aside. You can either leave the leaves whole, cut them into strips, or cut them in half for storage.
    • Kale stems are nutritious, but they can make the kale tough. You can remove them before freezing if you wish.
    • To remove the stem, cut off the bottom stem where there is no leaf, and then peel the leaves away from the center vein running up the middle of the kale.
    • Cleaning your kale before you freeze it will make it more convenient when you need it.
  3. Prepare your water. Blanching is a two-part process that involves boiling the kale for a few minutes and then plunging it immediately into an ice bath. To prepare your water for the process:
    • Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
    • Fill a large bowl with equal parts ice and cold water.
    • Have a colander or strainer nearby so you can drain the water from the leaves.
  4. Boil the stems. When the water is boiling, add the pieces of kale stem and boil them for three minutes. Because the stems are thicker and tougher, they require a longer cooking time than the leaves.
    • Cooking the stems separate from the leaves ensures that you don’t undercook the stems or overcook the leaves.
    • If you discarded the stems or used them for something else, go straight to blanching the leaves.
  5. Blanch the leaves. Using tongs, place the kale leaves into the boiling water. Fill the pot as much as possible without overcrowding the leaves. Boil the greens for 2.5 minutes.
    • Work in batches if you have more than a potful of kale. Make sure you allow the water to return to a boil before adding more leaves.
    • Blanching vegetables in this way kills enzymes and bacteria that can destroy the color, flavor, and nutrients of the vegetables. Killing these enzymes, therefore, allows you to store the kale longer.
  6. Shock the leaves. Use the slotted spoon to remove the kale from the boiling water. Plunge the kale immediately into the ice-cold water to stop the cooking process. Leave the kale in the ice bath for 2.5 minutes, the same as your cooking time.
    • If you're working in batches, add more ice after every batch of kale you chill.
    • Shocking the leaves in an ice bath will preserve the vibrant green color, and prevent the leaves from overcooking.
  7. Drain and dry the leaves. Remove the leaves from the ice bath using the slotted spoon. Transfer the kale to the colander, and allow the excess water to drain off. Shake the colander regularly to help remove the water.
    • Lay two clean kitchen towels on a flat work space. When most of the water has dripped off the kale, spread the leaves out on the towels.
    • Use the other two towels to dry the kale as much as possible.
    • Set the kale aside to finish air drying. The dryer the kale is when you freeze it, the fewer ice crystals will form, and the longer the kale will withstand freezer burn.
    • Drying the kale is important if you plan to freeze whole leaves, but not important if you're going to make kale puree to freeze.

Freezing Whole Leaves

  1. Portion out the kale. You can do this according to personal preference or the types of recipes you plan on making. For instance, if you plan to use the kale for smoothies and only need a cup of kale for each one, portion the kale into one-cup (67 g) bunches.
    • At this point, you can also chop the kale into smaller pieces if you know that’s how you'll be using the leaves when you thaw them.
  2. Bag the kale. Pack your portioned kale bunches tightly into sealable heavy-duty freezer bags. Press out as much air as possible, and then seal the bags most of the way. To remove the rest of the air, insert a straw into the opening and suck out the air. Then, remove the straw and quickly seal the bag the rest of the way.
    • Air and moisture are two major contributors to freezer burn. Freezing dry kale and removing all the air from the bag will protect the kale from freezer burn.
    • You can also use a kitchen vacuum sealer if you have one, and this will do a great job of removing the air.
  3. Label the bags. With a marker, write on each bag the quantity of kale contained within and the date of freezing. This will help you keep track of how old the kale is, tell you when you need to use it by, and remind you what portion size is within each bag.
    • Labeling is important, because although you know right now how much kale is in each bag, you may forget in 10 months when you go to use it!
  4. Transfer the bags to the freezer. Place the bagged and labeled kale into the freezer for storage. With the blanching, shocking, and proper storage, your kale should keep for up to 12 months.
    • To use the kale, remove the needed portions from the freezer and use them immediately in recipes, or allow them to thaw for an hour before chopping.

Freezing Kale Puree

  1. Blend the kale. Cut your kale into quarters and transfer a few handfuls to the blender. Measure out 1 cup (237 ml) of water and drizzle some over the kale. Turn on the blender and pulse a few times to break up the kale. Add a few more handfuls of kale and another drizzle of water. Repeat until you’ve pureed all the kale, using up to a cup of water if necessary.
    • You can blend the kale raw or after you’ve blanched and scorched it, but make sure it’s clean.
    • Frozen kale puree is great for adding to soups, smoothies, and other dishes where you don’t want to notice the kale.
    • This method isn't suitable for salads, kale chips, and other such dishes, because you won’t have access to whole kale leaves.
  2. Pour into molds. To make the kale puree easier to use, distribute it evenly among ice cube trays, muffin pans, or mini muffin pans. Transfer the pans to the freezer and let the kale puree freeze, about three hours.
    • To freeze the kale puree in specific portion sizes, use a measuring cup to pour the kale into the mold.
  3. Remove the puree from the cubes. When the puree is frozen through, remove it from the ice cube trays or muffin tins and transfer it to a sealable plastic freezer bag. This will free up your ice cube trays, and make the puree easier to store.
    • To prevent freezer burn, press out as much air as possible from the bag before sealing it.
    • Place the bag into the freezer to preserve the kale for up to a few months.


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