Can You Freeze Kale without Blanching? Yes! Here’s how

A nutrition-packed leafy veggie like kale is a must-have on everyone’s diet. Being such a handy plant, kale is found in abundance in almost many of our households. Now, throwing away is definitely not an option.

So, can you freeze kale and reap all the health benefits even after freezing?

Yes, you can absolutely freeze blanched or unblanched kale. Freezing kale will give you four to six weeks as the enzymes in the leaves will start to produce a bitter flavour. Kale that has been blanched and frozen will last up to a year before going bad.

How can you freeze kale? 4 Simple Ways

One of the simplest vegetables to store in the freezer is kale. To preserve kale, we highly advise freezing it! In contrast to other greens like spinach, freezing kale preserves a significant amount of its texture while locking in the nutrients. You can implement the following ways to freeze kale-

The simplest step of washing and chopping

Leafy kale should be thoroughly rinsed before freezing since it tends to retain dirt like watermelon. You must separate the leaves and stems before freezing them as they cook at different rates. The leaves should be roughly chopped, the stems should be cut into 1-inch pieces, and both should be properly washed and dried before freezing.

And then followed by drying the leaves

Try to slightly dry the kale leaves after cleaning them before freezing. Any extra moisture on the leaves could lead to freezer burn, ruining the freezing process. Thus, pat them dry with a towel or, if you have a salad spinner, run them through it a few times.

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Bag it up

In this step, cram the kale leaves as tightly as you can into freezer bags if you don’t mind them freezing into one huge piece. Spread the leaves out on a baking sheet and pre-freeze them in the freezer for 60 minutes if you want them to be loose and simple to break apart. Next, put them in freezer bags. This step is not necessary for my opinion because it’s rather simple to break out a chunk of kale, even when it’s frozen in a block. You may experiment with a few bags using each of the two techniques before deciding which one to settle with.

Flash freeze

A chest freezer is an ideal place to keep frozen greens. You should get one if you’re serious about food preservation. Your kitchen fridge’s upright freezer undergoes regular defrost cycles, which is why your ice cream occasionally feels a little soft when you take it out for a late-night snack. Zero degrees Fahrenheit is the constant temperature inside a chest freezer. For quality frozen food that lasts for a long time, do this. If you freeze your kale, it can keep for up to a year—unless you eat it all before then!

And, it’s as simple as that! Just four steps and you’re done!

How can you defrost kale?

No matter which method you employ to freeze your kale, a moment will come when you need to defrost your leafy greens to use it. Depending on the size of the freezer container, letting the kale out for an hour or more on the counter or leaving it overnight in the refrigerator is the best way to thaw it.

Although most of the time it won’t be required to thaw kale as it can go into most prepared meals entirely cold, frozen vegetables do not have as crunchy a texture as their raw counterparts. If you’ve frozen kale, particularly, in a large bag or container, remove the frozen chunk and cut it into pieces to complement the meal you’re preparing.

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Frozen kale is the best option when other components cover the texture of the veggies in the dish or when the texture is unimportant. For this, the best dishes include stews, soups, and stir-fries which are excellent options to use for frozen vegetables during the chilly winter months. But, smoothies may be the ideal method to use frozen kale because you will obtain the greatest nutritional value without having to worry about the texture or flavour.

How can you use frozen kale?

Now that you’ve learned how to freeze kale, you must wonder how to use it. Worry not, we’ve some great ideas for you to employ. 

  • Blend some into smoothies for a pleasant flavor.
  • Add kale to the smoothie booster packets to save time in the morning.
  • Have it with your preferred pasta sauce.
  • Try using frozen kale as one of the vegetables in soups or stews.
  • Replace spinach in sweet potato breakfast bowls with some hot kale.
  • Breakfast hash is a fantastic dish that could always be elevated with some extra greens.
  • Cook kale with garlic in olive oil for a spicy dish. Don’t forget to top it with chili flakes.
  • Kale can also be a good replacement for spinach in chicken spinach alfredo pizza. For this, you’ll need to squeeze the water out of the greens and thaw them in the refrigerator.
  • Frozen kale can also be used in Turkey Florentine Meatballs

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1. Is it better to freeze kale raw or cooked?

Ans. Kale’s color is preserved, the leaves don’t become bitter, and the storage life is increased by blanching it first. Kale that has been blanched can be frozen for up to six months. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and fill a big basin with ice water to blanch the kale.

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Q2. Does freezing kale destroy nutrients?

Ans.Nope! Kale’s nutrients are preserved when frozen. It contains the same amount of vitamins and minerals as fresh food.

Q3. Is frozen kale bitter?

Ans. If kale is frozen without blanching it, it must be consumed within four to six weeks as the function of the enzymes in the leaves is slowed by blanching. It will thereafter begin to develop a bitter flavour.

Q4. Do you have to boil kale before freezing?

Ans. Without blanching, kale can be frozen, but it must be consumed within four weeks. Greens should be blanched before freezing to stop the ripening of enzymes. By doing this, you can be sure that the leaves will taste good and won’t get bitter.

Q5. How long does kale last in the fridge?

Ans. Raw kale can last up to a week in the refrigerator and in the freezer- around six months. In contrast, cooked kale only lasts three to five days in the refrigerator.

The Bottom Line

If you enjoy having a steady supply of greens in your kitchen, don’t forget to plant more kale this season. Then, during harvest season, when the plants are spewing out new leaves, pick bunches of kale and use this easy technique to freeze it!

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.