February 5, 2020

When it comes to healthy smoothies, I love playing with different ingredients to keep things interesting so that I don’t grow tired of them. 

But even when I’m feeling extra adventurous, I can’t resist adding a handful of kale leaves to the mix. Why? Because green smoothies just aren’t the same without them! 

When you’re always on the move and leading a busy life, then all you need to do is throw your favorite ingredients in the blender, pour the smoothie in your travel mug and head out the door. 

And if you’re a health nut and love restoring your energy after a heavy workout by downing a healthy blend of fruits and vegetables, then you need to have fresh kale leaves in your kitchen. The only issue with kale is that if you are like me, you may not be able to consume it all quickly enough. Let’s be honest, the days go by fast! Instead of watching it go bad in your kitchen or running to the grocery store every day to stock up, you can freeze it and use it for a lot longer. Freezing fresh kale will allow it to retain its flavor and also preserve all the nutrients. And, when you freeze it yourself instead of buying it frozen, you save some money and you get the peace of mind that you know how it was processed.

Read on to find a detailed guide on how you can freeze kale at home in a few simple steps.

How to Freeze Pureéd Kale

Before you can think about freezing kale leaves, you need to wash them properly and pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel. The curly leaves can hide dirt, so you need to be especially thorough when you’re rinsing them.

I like to remove the stems before freezing the leaves because the stems are tough and somewhat bitter but you can leave them there if you’re planning to pureé them or use them in soups. This is completely up to personal preference.

Here are three simple methods you can use to freeze kale:

1. Store Pureed Kale in Ice Cube Trays

If you wish to use kale in sauces or soups, then you should consider pureéing it before freezing. It’s a lot easier to add cubes of pureed kale to recipes instead of pureeing it from scratch every time.

Materials

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3-4 cups of kale
  • Ice cube trays
  • Blender

Instructions

  1. Add 3 to 4 cups of kale into a blender and pour in 1 cup of water to it. 
  2. Run the blender until it’s completely pureéd and there are no bits left.
  3. Pour the liquid into ice cube trays and store them in the freezer.
  4. When you are ready to make a smoothie, toss one or two frozen cubes into your blender with the other ingredients.

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2. Store Chopped Kale in Plastic Bags

If drinking kale smoothies has become your newest obsession, then this is the perfect method for you. You don’t even have to wait for the frozen kale to thaw before throwing it into the blender.

Materials

  • Freezer-safe plastic bags
  • Fresh kale, cleaned and patted dry

Instructions

  1. Use a sharp knife to finely chop the kale. (I suggest using ½ or 1 cup of kale)
  2. Add the chopped kale to plastic bags or zip-top storage bags.
  3. I like to lay mine flat so the kale freezes faster and more evenly. They also stack well in my big freezer once they are frozen.

3. Make Freezer Smoothie Packs

A freezer smoothie pack is basically a bag full of all the ingredients you like to use in your favorite smoothie. On days when you’re pressed for time, all you need to do is grab a freezer smoothie pack, dump the contents in your blender, pour your choice of milk, juice, or water, and blend.

Materials

Instructions

  1. Chop up kale and your favorite fruits or vegetables.
  2. Stuff them in a freezer bag, label the bag, and add the “best before” date on it as well to make sure you’ll use the ingredients before they go bad.
  3. Store the smoothie pack in the freezer.

Watch this video to learn some health benefits about kale leaves and find a detailed guide on how to freeze them.

Why You Should Blanch Kale

If you freeze fresh kale, it can become bitter over time. That’s why you need to give it a taste before adding it to your favorite recipe or you’ll end up ruining the flavor. 

Blanching kale is a lot better than freezing it right away as you’ll be able to preserve it for a long time. All you really need is a pot full of boiling water, ice water, and some time on your hands to store kale in your freezer for up to a year. 

If you plan to use frozen kale within four to six weeks, then you don’t need to go to the trouble of blanching it. But if you’ve gotten a LOT of kale from your garden and need to process it right away, this is the way to go.

How to Blanch Kale

A freezer smoothie pack is basically a bag full of all the ingredients you like to use in your favorite smoothie. On days when you’re pressed for time, all you need to do is grab a freezer smoothie pack, dump the contents in your blender, pour your choice of milk, juice, or water, and blend. 

Materials

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 lb of kale leaves
  • Slotted spoon
  • A bowl of ice water
  • 1 large saucepan
  • A strainer or colander

Instructions

  1. Wash the kale leaves with cool water to get rid of any dirt.
  2. Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to cut off the stems. (We love our Wusthof shears. They have stayed sharp and are easy to clean because they come apart like magic.)
  3. Add about a gallon of water to a saucepan and place it over medium-high heat.
  4. Fill a bowl with ice water and place it next to the stove.
  5. When the water comes to a boil, add your 1 lb of cleaned kale leaves to it.
  6. Let them sit inside for up to three minutes or till they start wilting and turning bright green. 
  7. Use a slotted spoon to take the kale leaves out of the water and add them to the bowl of ice water.
  8. Let them cool down for three minutes.
  9. Drain them using a strainer or a colander, then pat them dry with paper towels.
  10. Stuff them inside air-tight freezer bags, push out any air inside the bags, and then seal them.
  11. Store them in the freezer and use within 8 to 12 months.

Using Frozen Blanched Kale

When you plan to use frozen blanched kale in a recipe, take the bags out of the freezer and let them defrost for about an hour before opening them. After they’re done thawing, they’ll only take about a minute or two to cook. 

Take a look at this video tutorial to learn how to blanch kale in a few easy steps.

Kale is killin’ it!

It’s important to know how to store food items properly in the freezer to maximize their shelf-life. Kale is one of the most common ingredients used in healthy smoothie recipes or salads. You can also use kale leaves in soups, stews, sandwiches, pasta, pizzas, and any other recipe that could do with some greens.

Freeze them using any of the three methods mentioned in this blog. There’s no need to blanch them if you plan to use them within three to four weeks. 

How to freeze kale

How to freeze kale

This is how to freeze chopped kale inside a plastic bag so you can use them in soups anytime. Follow these directions to master freezing them at home.

Ingredients

  • Freezer-safe plastic bags
  • Fresh kale
  • Freezer

Instructions

  1. Use a sharp knife to finely chop the kale. (I suggest using ½ or 1 cup of kale)
  2. Add the chopped kale to plastic bags or zip-top storage bags.
  3. Put them inside the freezer.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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About the author

Meet Go-Go-Gadget Renee'. Her passion for #kitchen gadgets is matched only by her love for tech. A real #foodie, she's all heart for red wine and delicious meals. #CookingChewTribe

Renee' Groskreutz

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