Freeze Your Extra Garden Kale To Enjoy Later

Preserve tenacious garden kale in the freezer for winter enjoyment using this easy technique. Just blanch and freeze for longterm storage!

by Stephanie Thurow
PHOTO: azurita/AdobeStock

Got kale? It’s one of the last remaining soldiers in my garden, along with Swiss chard, collard greens and leeks. Everything else died off from the hard frost we got a couple weeks ago here in Minnesota.  

Temporarily, kale can be kept fresh in a jar of water on the countertop, like a bouquet of flowers.  

It also does well clipped and refrigerated, which can keep kale fresh for weeks. To refrigerate, just wash the leaves, dry and store in a plastic bag, such as a gallon-sized freezer bag. Add a couple paper towels to the bag.

If you have a crisper drawer in your refrigerator, even better. Store the kale there. 

If I don’t use my kale freshly clipped, I freeze it. Frozen kale is convenient and has many uses. We like to add kale to our smoothies, pastas, quiche and soups.  

Read more: Try these kale varieties for something different in the garden.

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How to Freeze Kale 

Harvest and wash leaves, discarding any wilted or bug-eaten leaves. Spiders and other bugs can hide in the wavy pockets of the leaves, so be thorough.  

Kale is best blanched. Bring a pot of water large enough to fit the amount of kale you have to a boil. Remove the frilly kale leaves from the stems. Blanch leaves for 2 minutes in the boiling pot of water. After blanching, use a slotted spoon to transfer the kale to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

Allow to cool completely. Strain the leaves from the ice water and dry.  

Freeze kale in plastic freezer bags or other container suitable for freezing in, such as a glass canning jar. Freezer bags designed for freezing are ideal since the air can easily be pushed from the bags and they take up less space than bulkier containers. 

When using, just pull what you need from the freezer bag and add it directly to your soup, smoothie or frying pan—no need to thaw first. However, if you prefer to thaw it, you can place the freezer bag into a cold bowl of water or defrost slowly in the refrigerator.  


Measure out kale before freezing, and note and date on container for quick reference.   

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