Let me ask you a question. How many times have you forgotten about a bag of greens in the back of your fridge until they went bad?
There is no doubt that I have been guilty of that at some point in my life. The good news is that guess what?
The good thing about kale (and bagged spinach) is that you can freeze it so that you can keep it on hand all the time without it going sour, smelly, and gross in your refrigerator after a while.
There is no doubt that freezing kale (or spinach) is incredibly simple to do, but if you’re new to freezing vegetables, let’s look at how to get the most out of your frozen vegetables.
What Are the Benefits of Freezing Kale?
There are many benefits of freezing kale, such as reducing food waste because it can be quite difficult to consume a whole bunch or bag of kale before it starts to get slimy and odorous, so you can freeze kale after you have cooked it.
When I get home from the store, most of the time I will freeze half of my kale right away, just to make sure that I don’t forget later on or to make sure I freeze it while it’s at its freshest.
Due to the fact that you will have to prepare your kale before freezing it, it’s a great way in which to simplify your kitchen work and make cooking in the future faster and simpler.
If you prep the kale and freeze it in advance, it is now ready to be thrown into any number of recipes later on, without having to do any more preparation.
The Best Way to Use Frozen Kale
When it comes to freezing kale, the most important thing you need to be aware of is the recipes you can use it in later on.
There are times when frozen vegetables become softer after being frozen and thawed, so I do not recommend using frozen kale in salads or any other recipe that calls for a similar texture to fresh kale, as frozen vegetables generally get softer after being frozen and thawed.
It is also important to keep in mind that frozen kale tends to be quite delicate when it is frozen, so it can break into small pieces easily, which can also make it less suitable for salads.
Therefore, I would recommend that you do not use it for kale chips, since you would want a large piece of kale.
You can use frozen kale in any recipe that uses sautéed or cooked kale, such as soups and stews.
In addition, since it thaws in such a short amount of time in the pan, you don’t need to thaw it before using it. These are some great examples of recipes where frozen kale would be useful:
- Spicy Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Kale
- Garlicky Kale and Ricotta Pizza
- Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta
- Smoky Potato and Chickpea Stew
- Zuppa Toscana
- Kale and White Bean Power Bowls
A great way to include frozen kale in your smoothies is by adding it to them. Throw a handful of them into your blender with the rest of the fruits and vegetables!
Is Frozen Kale Good for a Long Time?
The flavor and texture quality of frozen kale will decrease over time as it dries out in the freezer. My recommendation is to use frozen kale within a few months for the best flavor and texture.
Here’s How to Freeze Kale
I know that most of you are already very familiar with the whole process, but I am going to share a few helpful tips with you along the way.
1. Kale Preparation
Make sure your kale has been washed and chopped thoroughly before freezing, so you can put it straight into your recipe once it comes out of the freezer.
Whenever I buy pre-chopped kale, I always wash it again and remove any large stem pieces. You should remove the stems from kale before chopping or dicing it. Then give it a good rinse after chopping.
2. Pack the Kale
After rinsing, make sure to let the kale drain well, then just place it in any air-tight freezer safe container. I prefer freezer bags because they lay flat and don’t take up a lot of space in the freezer.
Avoid packing or squishing the kale too tightly in the container so you can easily grab a handful or two at a time later, instead of having a large solid block of greens that you can’t break apart.
And, as always, make sure to label and date your container! This will help you use frozen goods in a timely manner and will help prevent those mystery containers in the bottom of the freezer.
3. Cook the Kale
When you’re ready to use your frozen kale, it can go straight from the freezer into your recipe. Because the kale is so thin, it thaws almost instantly when added to a hot pan or soup. So easy!
And that’s it! So easy, but so easy to overlook. So I hope this simple tutorial inspires you to freeze some of your next batch of kale, and saves you some dollars.