Can You Freeze Kale?
Can you freeze kale? Preparing fresh kale is simple, but it can be time-consuming. What about freezing kale? Not everyone wants to deal with washing and chopping kale after a long day at work.
One solution would be to wash and chop bulk amounts ahead of time, but the kale would spoil before you could use all of it. But if you freeze the prepared kale, you can add kale to meals quickly and without much extra preparation.
Kale, like few other vegetables, freezes beautifully — but you have to deactivate enzymes in the kale before putting it in the freezer. Most vegetables have these enzymes that cause the vegetables to continue aging and rotting even if the vegetable is frozen.
If you thaw out vegetables that have been frozen raw, you’ll find they are slimy and really unappetizing. Below is the proper way on how can you freeze kale:
Blanching, or quickly boiling the vegetables, for a couple of minutes before freezing deactivates the enzyme that accelerates spoiling in green leafy vegetables.
However, cooking for too long, though, will cook the kale into a mushy mess that doesn’t freeze that well. So it’s crucial that you do the blanching properly.
Image used under Creative Commons from Mervi Eskelinen
Luckily, blanching is easy to master. Have everything ready to go before you start the blanching process, and definitely use a timer. Set aside a couple of hours for this; eventually you’ll get so much better that freezing kale won’t take you that long.
Preparing the Kale
When you’re starting out, though, leave yourself a buffer zone and don’t attempt blanching before any big appointments, lest you run late.
Wash the kale well; dunk it in water and ensure all dirt and any bugs wash off. Dry the kale completely — this is important because you don’t want excess water to freeze as chunks of ice on the kale. Cut out the stiff central stem and slice up the leaves and set aside.
Blanching the Kale
Start the water boiling in the stockpot and add the insert. The bottom of the insert should be below the surface of the water. Dunk as much kale as you can into the insert — all the kale should be submerged.
Start the timer and set it for two minutes. When the two minutes are up, remove the basket insert that’s holding the kale and place it in the ice water. Again, all the kale should be submerged. Remember that overcooking the kale results in mushy kale, so don’t estimate the time. Use a timer.
Freezing the Kale
Repeat all that until you’ve blanched all the kale. Dry all the kale and spread chunks of it out on a large tray. Put the tray in the freezer for about half an hour or so.
What you’re doing is freezing the kale just enough so that the pieces won’t smash down into a heap when the kale is stored. Place the semi-frozen kale in a freezer bag.
Defrosting frozen kale is easy, just take out what you need when you start preparing your meal so that the kale has a little time to melt. Then add the kale to soups or stir-fries as appropriate. You might not want to eat the thawed kale without further cooking because the texture could seem a little weird. But it will taste wonderful in cooked dishes.
Technically, frozen kale will be good for however long you keep it in the freezer. However, after a couple of months or so, freezer burn might start to take its toll. Try to use the frozen kale within those couple of months. See how the quality changes over time; you might find that in future batches, you can store the kale for a longer time without a change in quality.
Freezing kale is a great way to maximize an otherwise delicate vegetable with a short shelf life. Now that you know how can you freeze kale properly, there is no reason why you shouldn’t buy in bulk. Just stick the vegetable in the freezer and you can enjoy this nutritious vegetable anytime you want.