Question: How do I freeze kale? Do I need to blanch it first? -Pamela T.
Answer: Freezing your kale allows you to store it for much longer than refrigerating. Blanched kale can be frozen for eight to 12 months. Without blanching, kale can be stored for just four to six weeks, and it may develop a bitter flavor because its enzymes are still active, whereas blanching stops the action of these enzymes.
Begin by washing your kale thoroughly to remove dirt, insects, and any other garden debris from its leaves. Some people like to soak their kale in water with one to three tablespoons of vinegar per gallon added before rinsing the kale. Then dry the leaves on dish towels or paper towels. Remove the stems from your kale leaves, and chop the remaining leaves. You can freeze the stems for use in soups or stir-fries if you would like, but they are too tough to work in the braises and sautes the leaves are normally used for.
To blanch your kale, bring a pot of water to a boil, and boil leaves for two and a half minutes with the lid on the pot. Stems should be blanched for three minutes before freezing. Remove the kale immediately to an ice water bath using a strainer, and let it sit in the water for as long as it cooked (two and a half minutes for leaves or three minutes for stems).
Use your hands to form kale into portion-sized clumps, and place the portions on a cookie sheet. Transfer the cookie sheet to the freezer, and allow the kale to freeze into these portions for at least an hour. Then it can be moved into a more long term storage container, such as a freezer safe plastic food storage bin or a freezer safe plastic zipper bag. Flash freezing the kale into portions first makes it easier to remove the amount you need later.