How to Store Kale in Freezer
Kale is a popular leafy green vegetable that is nutrient-dense and full of vitamins and minerals. However, it can be difficult to keep fresh for an extended period of time, especially when you have a lot of it. The solution to this problem is to store kale in the freezer. Here’s how to store kale in the freezer properly.
Prepping Kale for Freezing
Before you place your kale in the freezer, it is important to properly prep it first. One of the most crucial steps is to clean your kale thoroughly. You can do this by washing the kale leaves in cold water and removing any dirt or debris that might be on them. You can remove the stems and chop the kale into bite-sized pieces or leave them as whole leaves.
After washing, dry your kale thoroughly. You can do this by using a salad spinner or by drying it with paper towels. This is an essential step because if the kale is wet, it can promote the growth of bacteria in the freezer.
Blanching is a cooking technique where the food is briefly cooked in boiling water and then immediately placed in ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching kale helps to preserve its color, texture, and flavor, and it also kills any bacteria on the surface of the kale.
To blanch kale, fill a pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the kale leaves to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove kale from boiling water and quickly place it in a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process and removes excess heat from the kale. This step is important for maintaining the quality of the kale in the freezer.
Once the kale is blanched and cooled, place it in a colander or strainer to remove any excess water. Using a clean towel or paper towels, pat the kale dry before storing it in bags or containers.
Storing Frozen Kale
There are different ways you can store your blanched and dried kale in the freezer. Here are some of the most common methods:
Method 1: Freezer Bags
One of the easiest ways to store kale in the freezer is to place it in freezer bags. Place the cleaned and blanched kale in an airtight freezer bag, then squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it. Label your freezer bags with the date so you can keep track of their freshness.
Method 2: Containers
Another way to store kale in the freezer is to use plastic or freezer-safe containers. You can use any container that is airtight and won’t break in the freezer. Fill the container with kale, leaving some space at the top, then cover and seal it.
Method 3: Ice Cubes
If you only need small amounts of kale at a time, you can freeze your kale in ice cube trays. This method is useful if you are planning to use kale in smoothies and soups. Chop the kale into small pieces, then place them in ice cube trays. Add water to cover the kale and freeze the tray. Once they are frozen solid, remove the kale cubes from the tray and store in airtight containers.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
1. How long can I store kale in the freezer?
Frozen kale can last up to 12-18 months in the freezer. However, for the best quality and taste, it is recommended to consume it within 8-10 months.
2. Can I freeze raw kale?
You can freeze raw kale, but blanching it first is highly recommended. Blanching helps to preserve the taste, texture, and color of the kale.
3. Can I freeze cooked kale?
Yes, you can freeze cooked kale. Just make sure to let it cool down before placing it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
4. Can I freeze kale stems?
Yes, you can freeze kale stems. However, they may take longer to thaw and cook than kale leaves.
5. Can I thaw frozen kale in the microwave?
Yes, you can thaw frozen kale in the microwave. Place it in a microwave-safe container and use the defrost function to thaw it.
6. Can I refreeze kale after it has been thawed?
It is not recommended to refreeze kale after it has been thawed. This is because the quality of the kale will decrease, and it may also promote the growth of harmful bacteria.
Storing kale in the freezer is a great way to make sure you always have fresh greens on hand for smoothies, soups, and other recipes. By following the steps above, your blanched and properly stored kale will last for months in the freezer, and it will be easy to use whenever you need it.