Blanching Kale

Blanching Kale

Freezing leafy greens directly from the garden is not a good idea. After about a month, they will lose their flavor and color. The trick to preserving freshness with leafy greens such as kale is blanching. Blanching stops enzyme activity which, if left unchecked, will ruin the flavor.

Blanching requires boiling for a short period of time and then cooling rapidly. Why cool rapidly you ask? Because cooking continues after you turn the heat off or remove the pot from the stove. We want to stop the cooking process and save that for later when you use the vegetable for a recipe.

Start out with a single leaf, such as the Tuscan kale pictured above. Whenever I use kale, for soups or smoothies or blanching for the freezer, the first thing I do is remove the spine of the leaf. The spine is bitter and detracts from the flavor of kale.

Next section the leaf into small pieces to prepare for blanching.

For each pound of kale, plan on boiling a gallon of water. Drop a pound of kale into the boiling water and wait for the water to return to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Remove it and immerse the kale in cold water less than 60 degrees, preferably with ice in it. Let it cool for a few minutes and then lay it out on a cloth to dry off.

Next, after pat drying, the kale is ready for freezing. Need kale for a soup in January? It will be in your freezer, still green and tasting great!

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