Appalachia Gardening Preserving/Canning

How to Freeze Kale

How to freeze kale

My Sow True Seed Kale has done so well that I’ve had plenty to eat and plenty to put away. I figured the quickest and easiest route to preserve my excess kale would be to freeze it. I looked in my preserving books and all of them said to blanch the kale for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling water. I didn’t want to blanch my kale, I wanted an easier way out.

A few googles landed me on this blog 365 Days of Kale. Wow I thought this is just what I need with my abundance of kale.

I quickly found this page where the blog author gives the same directions for freezing kale as most of my books did. But…she says she has heard about a farm that doensn’t blanch their kale before freezing-they just wash and freeze. Several commenters chime in that they don’t blanch their kale either.  That’s all I needed to hear.

Easy way to freeze kale


I took my largest bowl out to the kale bed and just started cutting. I didn’t worry about keeping the varieties separate. Once I was done cutting I brought the kale in and looked it over good-got rid of the bugs and woody stems. Then I gave the kale a wash.

Freezing kale how to


I portioned the kale out into freezer bags and wrote kale and the date on it so I’d know what it was when I was looking in the freezer later this winter. Easy peasy!



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  • Reply
    ray j , winburn
    November 8, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    i relly like you music we play that stle. we go to mts, alot were do you all live would like to come by some times…Ray j winburn like in Lydia ,sc,,near Hartsvylle, sc.

  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    November 8, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    So interesting to see something that was once little more than Salad Bar garnish turn into such a power house choice of yummy greens to eat and drink.
    Another lady that I correspond with dehydrates it, crumbles it and uses it in much of her cooking, including muffins, stewed vegies and such. She even sprinkles over the dog’s food to give more nutrition to what it eats.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    and Pamela….thanks for reminding me about freezing corn on the cob…When I was a young housewife trying to get used to the new freezer and after following “the book” on blanching corn etc. I put up a few bags of corn on the cob. When we went to eat it, it tasted awful and I had to throw it all out…I reread “the book”, the only thing I think I could have done was blanch it too long by mistake, you know how it is when you get busy doing things without the help of an assembly line. ha…I told my elderly neighbor about the corn (she had given it to me) and asked how she froze hers…”You went to too much work, just shuck, silk, rinse and freeze…if you blanch it on the cob some varieties will leach bitterness from the cob when it gets hot into the corn and make it bitter after being frozen for a time!”….After that I never blanched corn on the cob when putting it up whole in the freezer. Of course we eat it pretty soon too, and that may make the difference. She is the same one that told me not to wash and cut up okra, just take it to the freezer straight out of the garden…If she froze green beans whole she did them the same way…Most of the time she canned her green beans. She made her own butter, buttermilk and raised earthworms too…That was the only part of her lifestyle I had a hard time swallowing…(ha) Her hands were constantly stained from working in and selling the worms when fishermen dropped by. Although she washed them religiously before patting down the butter in big round patties and wrapped for sale from her home….ewww…it still gives me the shivers, so I try not to think about it….Loved her fresh ham, milk, eggs, butter and buttermilk…she was the last one within our little neck of the woods that did it all….miss her and learned a lot from her as well.
    Thanks Tipper,
    Oh PS….I forgot she and her husband loved to catfish…and they had a place fixed where he could sell fresh catfish right from his home when they caught more than they used….delicious and not poisoned by the chemicals….

  • Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Julia-nope I just froze it wet. I figured if I had followed the canning book and blanched the kale first it would have been wet when I froze it so I didnt worry about drying it off after I washed it : )

  • Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    I dont know Ed, I hadnt thought about it that way but it seems like freezing the kale might have the same effect as freezing temps outside!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    November 7, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Couldn’t be any easier than that! I like easy! I do corn on the cob kind of like this. I remove the husks and silks rinse off dry and put them in ziplock bags. No blanching no nothing. Easy Peasy!

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 7, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Do you reckon the reason kale freezes well without blanching is the same reason it can survive freezing weather? The ultra fresh leaves still contain whatever it is that protects them from the freezing temperatures.
    Do you reckon freezing them like you are doing sweetens your kale without having a frost to do it?
    Just wondering?

  • Reply
    Edwin Ammons
    November 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Today’s topic has forced me into switching to serious mode. When I read about boiling jelly and pickles in a hot water bath, I immediately thought of a phrase that we hear frequently in the media, “an overabundance of caution.” It brought back memories of sausage canned in its own grease and buttermilk made with cultures that reside in the environment in which we live our daily lives. I thought of raw milk, raw cream and sour cream butter and how much better they tasted in my younger days. I thought about yesterday’s topic “Water” and how I used to lay down on my belly and drink straight from the stream. It was with caution that we did those things but not with an overabundance of caution.
    Today most people live on over-processed food. Food that was originally probably pretty good and good for you, now has literally had the life cooked out of it. Ultrapasteurization of dairy products has forced us to eat food which once contained healthy enzymes and microbial cultures but is now essentially dead. The life of our food has been replaced with shelf life. All at behest of our state and national governments.
    Sure, people can get sick and even die from tainted food. In olden times many people suffered from foodborne illnesses. Especially in crowded dank and dirty cities. Hot, steamy, sweaty, putrid cities. Cities that were a place to escape from for the wealthy. It was healthier for them out in the country and especially up in the mountains. How did they know? The people who lived there were healthy. Wonder why? They were living with nature instead of fighting it. Plain and Simple!
    Meanwhile back in the cities people are dying in their filth. Governments realize it is their food and water that is causing such carnage. So, instead of forcing the people to live more sanitary lifestyles, they set about to make their deadly swill safe to consume. Science had found that by placing chemicals in water and food many of the disease causing demons therein could be neutralized. By boiling before canning most of these tiny grim reapers were themselves the harvest. However, there was a remnant population of these minute menaces. So now we need to introduce pressure so that the water bath has to reach a higher temperature before it boils. And just in case we missed one let’s add nitrates, nitrites and salt, salt and more salt. Now our food is safe to eat! The question now, is it still food?
    Meanwhile back in the mountains government scouts begin scoping out the ways of our ancestors. “This is wrong! These people are killing themselves! Do they not know about germs? They can’t be drinking directly from a running stream! Horrors upon horrors! We must legislate to protect them. We must teach them the modern ways.“ Thus began the downfall of our Appalachian culinary culture.
    Sure some of our mountain ancestors got sick and even died from food they had eaten but most thrived on it. With the advent of the modern food industry and the modern preservation methods that supports it most of them gave up and gave in to pressures to use government regulated ways and government approved foods. Food preservation product suppliers had to change to adhere to government rules. Ball’s Blue Book, the Bible of Food Preservation, had to be amended again and again. That which served well for many years was outdated. If it’s working, fix it anyway, just in case!
    So now most of us are eating food that in “an overabundance of caution” has been stripped of its life giving properties. It’s dead but is supposed to give us life?
    I was trying to remember all the fat kids I grew up with and went to school with. I can’t remember any! But that is for another day.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 7, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I hope you all had a good time at Hiwassee Dam Opera yesterday evening. I don’t even know where that is, but I’m looking forward to the Blind Pig Gang and the Pressley Girls when you get to appear at the Keith House at JCCFS. I’ve been to a few other places to see you all, but the Folk School seems more like home.
    Day before yesterday I clean out my refrigerator Freezer, throwing away about 35 packs of stuffed yellow squash. That’s when I found all them packs of Ben Davis apples and I was craving an old timey Apple Pie.
    Ain’t never planted any Kale, so although I love most greens, don’t know nothing about them…Ken

  • Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Thank you for posting this recipe —you sure can’t go wrong with fresh or frozen greens . I love your ideal and I am garden girl and all these tips are just wonderful. Now I will set up a special follow to have later to go back and refresh my mind.
    Thank, Tipper.
    Also do you like Greasy Greens –all I can say about the type of green it is one of my flavorist. Any ideals of the special greens that I love I would love to get your a opinion. My mother would pick and freeze these.
    I will say they do have a special taste of their own. I love just them !!!
    Take care and look forward to more of your post on healthy garden items.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I have frozen peppers, but greens never. Thanks for the information as I plan to share with my garden friends. Next year I want to try growing kale.

  • Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 8:03 am

    So, did you allow the kale to completely dry before freezing?

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 7, 2015 at 6:49 am

    I always blanch my greens for the amount of time indicated, ( I have steamed them as well) then I have a big bowl of ice and water to dip in for the same amount of time for chill down, let drain and then pack. For me, it is easier to wilt the greens so I know exactly how much I have in the pack. For instance, a big bag of greens packed with out wilting would take more room in the freezer and for us I would need several bags for a good mess of greens. By blanching it is also supposed to stop the enzymes that would make the greens tough or mushy if storing for several months. The only veggies that I don’t blanch are peppers and okra…Okra is not a good long storage vegetable anyway. In fact I don’t even wash okra. I try to make sure it is picked clean without obvious dirt or a bug on it which rarely is on okra. I do not cut off ends, pack it whole, mark the pack “unwashed okra”, the date and freeze. When I use, I wash off the frozen okra, cut, roll in meal, season and fry. If using in soup or tomatoes, wash, cut and drop in the soup or tomatoes.
    I don’t wash blueberries either before freezing. I lay flat on a biscuit pan, freeze, then pack in plastic bags, mark “unwashed blueberries” and freeze. When I pour out the amount I need for a cobbler later I then wash them….It makes it easier to store in containers and they don’t stick together.
    Times are a’changin’ and I understand that research has also changed the way home food preservers do things…I never thought that one would ever need to put pickles with all that salt, vinegar and sugar in a boiling water bath…like some recommend and or jelly either! ha I would love to have a nickel for every jar of jelly, jam or preserves that I have put up hot and then sealed with hot melted paraffin…I don’t recall ever losing one jar…ha

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