I love being able to enjoy produce fresh from the garden. In winter time we don’t get to enjoy very much fresh grown vegetables – which is why I preserve much of my harvest. I love storing my fresh kale in the freezer because it’s incredibly easy to throw into soups and stir fry dishes.
I start by removing the stems from the leaves. This is really my first chance to look over all the kale and inspect for impurities and decay. Don’t worry about dirt at this point – the next step is washing. Because I pull my kale straight from the garden I will find the occasional bug. They promptly get ushered back outside so they can continue to do their beneficial work.
Next I drop the kale into a cold water bath. I take the opportunity to swirl the water and rub the dirt off. This is my second opportunity to look for impurities and decay. Ultimately, I let the kale soak for about 10 minutes before moving to a tea towel to dry.
While the kale is drying I put a large stock pot on the stove and bring it to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil I take one last opportunity to inspect for impurities and decay. Because I process so much at once I feel that it is important to look over the kale a couple of times to make sure I’m only processing the best quality of produce.
Once the water is boiling I will drop in a couple handfuls of leaves and then push them under the water using a pair of tongs. The leaves must boil for two minutes in order to kill and remove all the harmful spores and bacteria. After boiling for two minutes I pull the leaves out and place them in a colander to drain.
While the kale cools I shake it and fluff it to get the large water drops off. I don’t worry too much about drying completely, but I do want it to cool completely before packaging. I use 16 ounce deli containers to pack my kale into. I find that I can easily stack these cups in my freezer and stay organized. You can use zip-locked freezer bags, reusable freezer bags or even a vacuum sealer. Just make sure you are leaving enough headspace to account for the greens expanding as they freeze.
When I’m ready to use I pull one container out and defrost. I like to squeeze the excess moisture out before using; however, that is not necessary.
Freezer stored kale must be used within 8 months.