How to freeze kale for easy and convenient leafy greens all year long. Keep bags of fresh, blanched, puréed or smoothie bags filled with frozen kale on hand to add greens and nutrition to soups, sauces and so much more.
How to Freeze Kale 4 Ways
For the easy step-by-step instructions, pop down to the end of this post.
1. Freeze Raw Kale
You can simply wash, chop, dry, and store fresh kale in the freezer. Be sure to remove as much excess water as you can before freezing. Water can form ice crystals on the greens while they freeze.
One easy way to remove excess water is by squeezing the washed leaves dry with a clean dishtowel or paper towel. Kale is pretty hardy, so don’t worry about damaging the leaves. As long as you avoid twisting or ringing the cloth, your kale should dry easily and stay fresh.
To keep the fresh kale from clumping up into frozen chunks, lay the greens out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze this for about an hour, until the leaves are pretty solidly frozen. Then stash everything in a zip-top bag for long-term storage.
Store fresh kale in freezer-safe sealed bags for easy access. Add the leaves to smoothies, soups, and other dishes, no need to defrost. These frozen leaves can do directly from the freezer into your dish as it cooks.
2. Freeze Blanched Kale
Another great way to freeze kale is by quickly blanching it first. Blanching is a fancy word for cooking food quickly in boiling, salted water. To blanch kale, start by cutting it your desired size.
Remove the woody stems, then roughly chop the kale int o bite-sizez pieces that are easy to eat. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few tablespoons of salt to the water (it should taste like seawater).
When the pot comes to a rapid, ongoing boil, submerge your kale all at once in the water. The leaves will soften up and turn bright green in 1 to 2 minutes. As soon as this happens, immediately remove the greens all at once and transfer them to an ice bath. Let the kale cool for another 2 minutes in the ice water before draining, drying, and packing into freezer bags.
You can use frozen blancked kale just like you’d use frozen raw kale. Blancing makes the leaves a little eaiser to digest. Plus, they’re smaller and softer so you can pack more veggies into limited freezer space.
3. Freeze Puréed Kale
Speaking of freezer space, the way to make the most of your freezer is to purée the kale after you blanch it. Simply follow the blanching instructions above and place the cooled, drained kale into a blender.
Purée the greens until they’re mostly smooth. You can then divide the green purée between ice cube trays or popsicle molds to keep single-serving kale “pops” on hand to add color and nutrition to your meals.
There’s no need to defrost the puréed kale before cooking. Add a cube to a simmering pot of soup or a sauce and the purée will dissolve quickly.
4. Make Kale Smoothie Bags
If you’re a regular smoothie drinker who also has busy mornings, this hack is for you. Pack your own kale smoothie bags and keep them in the freezer for easy access to healthy, refreshing breakfasts to take on the go.
Select any of your favorite fruits, vegetables or smoothie add-ins and pack them into individual zip-top bags. Then all you have to do is dump your freezer smoothie pack into a blender, add your liquid of choice and blend away.
Kale is a neutral-tasking, but nutrition-packed smoothie ingredient, so it’s easy to pair with other fresh fruits and veggies. If you don’t usually add greens to your smoothies, don’t worry about your breakfast tasting like raw kale. It tends to fade into the background behind bolder flavors like banana, berries, apples, and other fresh fruits.
Freezing Kale FAQ’s
What is the best kind of kale to freeze?
You can freeze any variety of kale. The instructions are the same, from dino to red to curly kale.
How Long Can I Store the Kale?
- Raw kale will last for 2 months.
- Blanched kale is good for up to 6 months in the freezer
- Puréed kale should be eaten within 2 months.
- Enjoy kale smoothie bags within 3 months.
How to Use
With a freezer full of raw, blanched or puréed kale on hand, the culinary possibilities are pretty endless. For most dishes, there’s no need to defrost the kale.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use the frozen vegetable:
- Stir raw kale into chili, tomato sauce, or minestrone soup.
- Add puréed kale into vegetable soups, baby food, or oats
- Blanched kale adds color, nutrition, and flavor to curries, stir-fries, and eggs
Do I Have to Chop the Leaves First?
I prefer to destem and roughly chop the leaves before freezing, but it’s not 100% necessary. Kale tends to be easier to eat in bite-sized pieces and the stem is tough and woody.
That being said, you can simply freeze whole leaves if you like. Still be sure to wash and dry the veggie well before storing.
Freezing Raw, Blanched and Puréed Kale
- - Fresh kale
- Cutting board
- Freezer bag
How to Freeze Raw Kale
- Wash the kale leaves thoroughly.
- Remove the stem with a knife or by sliding your thumb and forefinger up the stem to detach the leaves.
- Chop the leaves into small pieces.
- Place the greens in a colander to drain off any excess water. If necessary, pat dry with paper towels or a dishtowel.
- Transfer the kale to a freezer bag, label and date it.
- Place in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How to Freeze Blanched Kale
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water.
- De-stem and chop the kale into bite-sized pieces.
- Rinse the greens well under running water.
- Add the kale to the boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the kale to the ice bath.
- Once the kale is cool, drain the kale and squeeze the greens dry with a towel.
- Spread the kale into a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours.
- Transfer to airtight freezer bags, label, and date.
- Use the frozen kale within 6 months.
How to Freeze Puréed Kale
- Rinse the kale leaves, de-stem, and roughly chop.
- Place in a food processor with one cup of water. Pulse until smooth.
- Transfer the purée into ice cream molds or ice cubes.
- Freeze and use within 2 months.
How to Freeze Kale Smoothie Bags
- Rinse the kale, de-stem, and chop into bite-size pieces.
- Rinse and chop any other fruits or veggies you like for smoothies, such as banana, apples, raspberries, mango, cucumber, avocado, and celery.
- Add the fruits, veggies, and kale to freezer bags. Label and date.
- Use within 3 months.
It's important to remove as much water as possible before freezing raw or cooked the kale. Drain it well in a colander or strainer. Any remaining moisture can form ice crystals.
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