How to Freeze Kale, Raw and Fresh!

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.

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! 


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.

More Helpful Tips for Kale

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 preferable because it brings out the important nutrients that you can’t get with fresh, raw kale. Then lay the leaves out to freeze.

MORE INFO:  How to Dehydrate Kale   |   How to Make Kale Powder & Use It

Mom with a PREP | 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!
Check out these other ways to preserve kale:
How to Make and Use Kale Powder by Mom with a Prep {blog} - this stuff is awesome to store to use for smoothies and put in sauces and sprinkle over foods the way you do parsley or to put into meatloaf or salads and more! #foodstorage #kale How to Dehydrate Kale for Making Kale Chips or Kale Powder - fabulous method to preserve kale well past the season!Mom with a PREP | Don't let that pile of greens in your crisper drawer going bad shame you. Show them what for by dehydrating them and making this powerhouse of a powder to add more nutrition to your family meals!

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  1. says

    Thank you for this! I purchase kale solely for my green smoothies (my little guy loves them in the morning) and occasionally I do end up throwing a bit of it away, but not anymore! Thanks for the tip!

    • says

      Wash it, cut out the big ribs, throw it on dehydrator trays at a low heat for about 6-12 hrs, depending on how many and how long it takes. You can do it in the oven with very low temps (and do something to prop the door open a tad) until they are crisp. It’s super easy.

  2. Woods says

    Hi! Does the dehydrated kale have a strong flavor? Would it change the flavor of a dish or drink it was added to?

    How long would the powder last?

    Also I don’t have a dehydrator. Can I stack more than one layer of the kale when making “chips” to blend into the powder to speed up the process?

    Thanks for the recipe and tips!!

    • says

      It really depends on how much you put in a dish – you’ll have to experiment for your own taste. I honestly don’t know how long it would really last because we go through it long before it would ever turn, but as with every dried green, just like your dried herbs, time and light and air exposure cut back on the time when they have great flavor. You can make chips in the oven, just don’t add any oils or seasonings to them, and you’ll have to watch them closely. I don’t recommend double stacking them as they won’t dry evenly.

      On Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 1:03 AM, Mom With a Prep Blog – Helping Prepare

    • says

      Honestly, I don’t know, because I don’t juice (we do smoothies, instead). I do know you can juice it ahead of time and then freeze the juice, thaw it out, and blend it back in to another juice blend!

  3. says

    Quick, easy, and wow! Thank you! I planted way too much kale this year (four varieties, woe is me) and I love this idea for how to preserve some for winter smoothies. Thanks so much!!

  4. Gina says

    Thanks for the idea of freezing my overabundance of kale. How do you make the kale walnut pesto? Would love the recipe!

  5. Terry says

    I dehydrate my extra kale and collard greens, then reduce to powder for storage and for use in smoothies. I find that four large leaves makes about 1 Tblsp of powder, so I put two Tblspns in my smoothies in the winter. It is great for travel, I take a nutribullet, just add fresh fruit and green powder, and viola, a green smoothie on the road. I liked your idea of juicing and freezing the juice as well!!

  6. says

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve just harvested my patch of kale and this looks a great way to freeze the motherlode haha. I love kale so much I named my cat Kale 😀

    • momwithaprep says

      No, Betty, it really wouldn’t work for that. That’s why it’s great for smoothies because it is going to be ground up in it.

  7. Shmooplove says

    If you make the powder out of it and place it in vacuumed sealed bags, include an oxygen absorber and place in a cool dark place, it should last for at least a year.

  8. Mailisha says

    I like kale cooked, but not in smoothies. However, I do like raw spinach in smoothies. Could I do the same thing with spinach leaves?

  9. Maureen says

    Okay…I’m doing this! I will gather my plentiful supply of kale leaves tonight and start freezing them. Thank you so much for the easy instructions!

  10. Janis Wrigtht Damask says

    We like kale with eggs in the morning. Will cook a lot of it and freeze it for this winter. Will also dehydrate some of it and make the powder to add to everything.

  11. Heather says

    I have tons of Kale that I want to freeze for smoothies. All my kale has the green worms on it as they have been eating it. Is it still ok to eat and can I remove them and still freeze?thanks

    • says

      Getting rid of the worms and washing the greens well should be fine. You can always tear away the bits they’ve eaten if it is a problem for you, depending on how damaging they’ve been.

  12. Stefenie says

    Thanks for the information. I have no taste buds that allow me to enjoy kale, raw or cooked. I have begun to dehydrate and use in by nutriblast drinks.After putting it in the food processor, I powder mine by using the mill blade that comes with the Nutribullet, it makes is like a powder. This I can tolerate.

  13. Vicki says

    I just cram as much kale as I can (ribless) into a ziplock bag. I can usually get as much or more than I use in a smoothie. I put it into the freezer when you want to use it you can just lightly start to crush the bag and it breaks downing to powder, so cool, then you pour it into your smoothie, soup, on your salad or what ever. These bags will fit anywhere in your freezer and I never loose kale or spring lettuce, anymore to the refrigerator.

  14. Kelley says

    I was told to just wash and dry before putting kale in freezer bags and freeze. I never had any issue and I just take out some and cook in a skillet (wilt) as I would with fresh. Is blanching a must for health reasons?

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