Storing kale the right way will extend its shelf life. It will keep its crispiness and make for a delicious addition to your broths and salads for months.
Unfortunately, you can’t just chuck it into the fridge or leave it on the counter or your north-facing balcony and hope for the best!
There are steps to doing this the right way so that you don’t end up with soggy kale only a few days after you have harvested or purchased it.
Here’s how to store kale like a pro!
Choosing The Best Kale
If you’ve grown this veg before, then you know how understanding the kale growing stages can help you harvest the most delicious heads.
This can also help you choose the best one in the grocery store or supermarket.
First, go with your favorite flavor. Curly, dinosaur, and ornamental kale are the most common ones, but they all taste different. They range from mellow to pungent, so choose wisely.
Then, look for the signs of freshness and crispiness:
• Deep hues with firm, fresh, and tender leaves with vividly colored stems are the best ones.
• Avoid heads with wilting and yellowing foliage.
• Smaller leaves are more delicate, sweeter, and milder in flavor than large (old) ones.
Storing It In The Fridge
Once you harvest or buy your kale and eat all you can, it is time to store the leftovers. Storing your vegetables properly will keep them crisp and fresh for longer. The good news is that you can store kale in the fridge for a decent amount of time.
Before putting this veg in the fridge, don’t wash it. Instead, wash it before using it since that will extend its life span.
Here’s how to store kale without washing it first:
Step 1. Pat the foliage dry with a clean paper or kitchen towel. Excess moisture will speed up rotting.
Step 2. Wrap the kale in a new, dry paper towel and move it to a zip-lock bag.
Step 3. Put the bag into a crisper drawer, where the right humidity levels will keep it fresh for longer.
If you prefer washing kale before storing it, here’s how to make it last:
Step 1. Fill a bowl or a pot halfway with cold water.
Step 2. Put the kale into the bowl or pot and swish it around with clean hands. This will remove any dirt or debris from the foliage. Scrape off any remaining dirt if necessary.
Step 3. Rinse the leaves under a stream of clean water.
Step 4. Move it to a salad spinner to remove excess moisture, or use clean paper towels.
Step 5. Place some new paper towels into a zip-lock bag and then add your kale leaves. You can use them whole or chop them for easier use.
Step 5. Seal the bag and move it to a crisper drawer.
Freezing The Kale
Freezing is a great way to keep your kale for months on end. The best part about this technique is that you won’t even have to thaw it before using it in your recipes.
This method is the best choice if you want to use kale for smoothies, stews, broths, casseroles, etc. If you want to make kale chips and salads, stick to refrigerating.
You can freeze kale fresh or blanched.
Here’s how to store fresh kale leaves in a freezer:
Step 1. Remove the stems and cut the kale foliage into bite-size pieces.
Step 2. Fill a bowl or a pot halfway with cold water. Add your kale to it and move it around until you clean all the debris. Rinse the kale afterwards and use paper towels or a salad spinner to remove remaining water.
Step 3. Arrange the kale pieces on a freezer-safe sheet so that they’re not touching.
Step 4. Transfer the sheet to a freezer for about 2 hours or until the leaves freeze. Then, move the kale pieces to a zip-lock bag. Label and seal the bags before returning them to the freezer.
If you want to blanch your kale prior to freezing it, here’s how to do it:
Step 1. Boil some water in a large pot after completing steps 1 and 2 from above. There’s no need for you to dry the kale.
Step 2. Cook your kale leaves in boiling water for a few minutes or until the leaves turn light green.
Step 3. As the leaves cook, fill a large pot with water and ice. Remove the kale from the boiling water and put it into the cold one.
Step 4. Once you can touch the kale with your hands, move it to a salad spinner for drying, or use paper towels. Then, complete steps 3 and 4 from above.
How Long Can Kale Last?
If you follow these steps, you can expect a prolonged life span for your kale. It will be able to last:
• 1 week in the refrigerator
• 6 months in the freezer
Only use fresh kale for storage. If it’s wilting, discolored, drooping, mushy, or smells bad, get rid of it.