Preserving Kale

Last winter when the bitter cold weather hit and we had no snow cover, the kale became burned by the cold and inedible. One small plant overwintered under the hoop frame to provide us with kale again in the spring, but the larger plants died. Once the kale was gone we missed having it to add to soups, quiches, and spanikopita pie. Here’s how they looked in January.

So this year I was determined to freeze kale for our winter use. The days have been getting shorter and colder and I was running out of time. Finally today I went out at dusk and harvested all the large leaves of kale, leaving just a bit at the top of each plant.

I also cut off a lot of the cutting celery. This I cleaned, and packed into freezer bags, like this method for herbs. When I need a bit of celery in something, I’ll cut some off the log.

The kale ended up being over 3 pounds. I blanched it, cooled it, and rough chopped it. Half of it I mounded on a baking sheet to freeze and then will pack in freezer bags. After taking the picture, I divided these piles in half since these would be a lot to put in any one dish at a time.

However, I didn’t like the idea of using so many bags. So I am also trying packing it in canning jars. We’ll see how the two methods compare.

Now we have kale in the freezer for winter. Kale has been a good crop for us this year, with over 13 lbs harvested.

The last task of garden food preservation left is to dig the leeks before the ground freezes. I plan to do this the week after Thanksgiving. Hopefully that’s not too late.

This entry was posted in Eating the Harvest, greens, harvest, kale. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Preserving Kale

  1. Daphne says:

    Last year was so warm all our kale lived over the winter. So in the spring it really took off. It was wonderful having so much kale. I ought to have some for the winter just in case I can’t pick fresh. I’m sure some will die this year if our winters ever get cold again.

  2. Marcia says:

    I wish your daddy would eat it. Maybe I’ll have to sneak it into quiche sometime.

  3. Amanda says:

    Have you tried growing Cavolo Nero kale? I’ve found it lasts really well into the winter and it tastes much less bitter than regular kale. This year I’ve got several plants in the hoop house for the first time and it will be interesting to see how long they last with a bit of cover over them.

    • Emily says:

      Amanda,
      I grow Laciniato or Dinosaur Kale, which I think is Cavolo Nero by another name. While we enjoy it’s flavor, I’ve found it less hardy than Red Russian, Winterbor, or the Rainbow Laciniato that we’ve grown. This year we’re also trying Beedy’s Camden Kale from Dave at Our Happy Acres. I planted that later and it’s under hoop frames and in the cold frame, mostly hoping to have it overwinter for spring harvests. I find the that plants of kale that give us great harvests all summer long are too big to overwinter (they don’t get protected by the snow). But I can’t seem to get plants started in mid-summer to grow big enough to harvest from in winter. So I aim for small plants to overwinter for spring.

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