When you have an overabundance of kale from a bumper garden crop or a CSA basket or a great sale at the grocers, what do you do with all that extra kale if you aren’t dehydrating it? You can freeze it raw, especially if you’re using it for smoothies!
Kale is a super-food with tons of nutrients and iron available in it, but not everyone loves leafy dark vegetables..especially once they’ve been cooked and are just that slimy green stuff that looks like cooked spinach (blech!). Instead, I use kale fresh in smoothies or dehydrated into chips or made into a kale powder (after dehydrating) that we sprinkle into our foods, or making a ‘pesto’ substitute with this Kale Walnut Pesto. I also freeze it! Yep – you got that right. I freeze kale.
How to Freeze Kale (for use in smoothies)
1. Separate Kale leaves fully – you don’t want clumps of kale as that is where dirt will collect. I tend to cut out the thick ribs at this point. 2. Soak kale in water to remove any sand or dirt particles (I use about a cup of vinegar to sink full of water if I have a lot of kale to do – a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar is good for any application). 3. Pull out kale and allow to dry on a towel and remove ribs if you prefer to at this point. 4. Flash Freeze kale by laying it out on a cookie sheet or dehydrator tray and placing it in freezer to freeze. You double stack it. 5. Once frozen, begin to quickly gather kale up and place in zip top bags. Quickly because it will begin to thaw fast, so you don’t want to bring all of your trays in at once. You can use a spatula or icing spreader to get it off the tray and break into your zip top bags. 6. Remove air from bags as much as possible, label and freeze. 7. When using in smoothies, just pull out a bag, pull out as much kale as you would normally use, and place the bag back into the freezer.Tip #1 – If you want to store enough kale for one smoothie in a snack or sandwich sized bag to make morning smoothie making easier, you can then store those smaller bags into one larger zip top to help preserve them in the freezer, then just pull out a baggie to load into your blender.
Tip #2 – if you want longer storage of kale, try blanching first before storing (or cook fully and store), or create a kale powder by dehydrating kale leaves, and then whirring in your blender to form a powder. This can be added to foods as an added supplement (we add to anything that I’m cooking that is hardy or into scrambled eggs/fritattas or sprinkled onto salads).
Tip #3 – for some people, blanching kale ahead of time is preferrable because it brings out the important nutrients that you can’t get with fresh, raw kale. Then lay the leaves out to freeze.