Everything you need to know to freeze kale into convenient little pucks. These pucks are ideal for tossing into smoothies, soups or stews.
I’m going to start in the garden, but listen, you don’t need to get your kale from the garden to do this. You can freeze kale in small amounts, so if you happen to buy a big bundle at the store and can’t use it all, don’t let it go to waste, just freeze it. Then, the next time you make spaghetti sauce, pizza, soup, stew, casserole or whatever, just toss in a cube. It adds great nutrients and prevents food waste – that’s what I call win-win!
How to Pick Kale
Those of you who have grown kale before know that it just keeps on going and going! Yup, it’s one of those crops that keeps producing the entire garden season – pick leaves today and three days from now you can pick again. As long as you pick it properly, that is.
Pick the most desirable leaves. I leave the large mature ones towards the bottom of the plants and the small ones right in the center. Leaving the center ones helps maintain plant health and ensures it keeps growing. The large bottom leaves are less tender, so I leave them to catch sun for the plant.
How to Freeze Kale
You will find websites that say you don’t have to blanch kale. They say all you have to do is pop it in a bag and freeze. Be cautious when following that advice, especially if you plan to store your kale in the freezer for more than three months. To properly preserve flavor, texture and color for longer than 3 months you should blanch your kale just like any other veggie – see how info on blanching and freezing veggies.
How to Freeze Kale
- ice cubes
- Wash kale.
- Remove large stem and ribs.
- Cut into bite sized pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Add kale to boiling water. Bring water back to full, rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Start timer only when water has returned to a full boil.
- Use slotted spoon to remove kale from water and place immediately into ice cold water bath. Add ice cubes to cold water bath to quickly cool kale.
- Drain and pat kale pieces dry.
- Press kale into ice cube tray.
- Freeze overnight or a minimum of 3 hours.
- Remove frozen kale cubes from tray and seal in a plastic bag or freezer container.
- Use straw to remove as much air as possible from bag.
- Seal, label and freeze for 6 months. (Frozen kale cubes are safe to freeze much longer, but quality will deteriorate after 6 months.)
Blanching time comes from the National Center of Home Food Preservation.
Processing time comes from the National Centre for Home Preservation. The same process and time can be used for spinach, stinging nettle, swiss chard and beet tops. Collard greens can also be done the same way, but they should be blanched for 3 minutes.
Here are some photos of the process.
And that’s it. You now have convenient kale pucks to ensure you get your healthy dose of dark green veggies every day!
How to Use Frozen Kale
Now that you have frozen kale cubes – what will you do with them?
We use them in fruit smoothies – one or two pucks added to the blender with your favorite ingredients.
I also add kale pucks to soups, stews, chili, curry or stir fries. There’s no rules! Wherever you think you can add a little green go for it. As for how much – you decide that too. If I want to feature kale, I’ll add up to five cubes. If I just want a hint of green and not have the kale be a dominant feature, I just add one or two pucks. In small amounts, you can’t really taste it.
Because the kale is already blanched, add the kale towards the end of the cooking process. Basically just long enough to let the cube thaw. That way you’ll keep that bright green color. If you cook it too long, the kale will turn a dark color and be less attractive.
I don’t recommend using frozen kale for any raw dishes, the texture won’t be very appealing.
Oh, try some on pizza or focaccia or in other savory baked goods like cheese biscuits.
How will you use your cubes? Let me know. And please, take a photo, post it on Instagram and tag #getgettys so I can see it and like it!
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.