The summer has come to an end and our garden is almost ready to go to bed before the sub-zero temperatures arrive. The kale plants are still going strong, but before I got into the hustle of the holiday season, I wanted to get them pulled before the heavy frost finally takes them.
I thought this would be a great post to share on how to freeze kale from your garden since it’s not as simple as throwing it in a freezer bag for a later date.
Some may say you can simply wash, chop, and throw kale in a freezer bag, but I have noticed that the kale eventually starts to turn brown and brittle.
The best way that I have found is to blanche the kale beforehand.
Blanching is a process where you cook something for a short period of time. Typically between 2-3 minutes depending on what it is. Then it is usually followed by an ice bath to stop the cooking process quickly.
Blanching kale before you freeze helps the kale stay green, hold nutrients, and keep its texture. Blanched kale is perfect for soups and stews. Nothing beats using the harvest from your garden in the dead of winter for a warm cozy meal.
Since our kale is from the garden, I gave it a good shake to get all of the fallen leaves, debris, and bugs off before bringing it inside. I then give it a lukewarm bath to get all of the remaining debris and bugs off. I wash in lukewarm water only when I plan to freeze my kale right away. If you plan to store your kale in the fridge I suggest washing it in cold water to help keep the kale nice and crisp for eating.
Once the kale has swished and soaked for a little bit, I examine each kale piece and give it a good scrub with my fingers to remove any stuck-on bugs, dirt, and even egg sacks (yuck!).
I then strip the leaves from the kale stalk and give the leaves a good chop.
Once the kale leaves are nicely chopped thin, I allow my pot of water to come to a rolling boil. I then add my kale to the pot. Let the water come back to a boil, and then keep the kale cooking for 2 minutes.
Once the kale has cooked for 2 minutes and is a deep green color, remove the kale with a slotted spoon and immediately transfer it to an ice bath.
Since I will be using my kale for winter soups and stews, I am freezing my kale in ice cube trays. This will allow me to pick out one cube from the freezer when needed.
After the ice bath, squeeze as much water from the kale as possible. The less water the better. Then pack it into an ice cube tray and press down with your fingers to get as much in each cube section as possible. This will allow you to use only 1-2 cubes per recipe.
Once your ice tray is full put it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight. Once frozen remove the kale cubes from the tray and transfer them to a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Date it, and throw it back in the freezer. Pull out cubes as needed.
I’m going to do a whole post about this one day, but freezing your own produce as we did here today allows you to be in control of your own food. It is so rewarding, growing something from seed, nurturing, watering, harvesting, and then processing it all in your backyard. Not to mention the money you save. I spent pennies growing this kale. Buying frozen kale in the grocery store can cost you close to $4 for a meal these days.
In a world where everything seems to be on the rise, and our cost of living doesn’t seem to be going down, learning these basic skills can save you hundreds of dollars over the years.
If you haven’t already noticed, I love freezing to save money on groceries! Check out my other freezing recipes to help you save money on your grocery bill.
Kale can stay fresh in the freezer for up to 6 months,
A community for those looking to take things slower in life. We discuss and share things like gardening, preserving (canning, freezing, dehydrating), homemaking, and homesteading.
JOIN THE COMMUNITY