When it comes to bitter greens, kale just can’t be beat. Not only does this nutrient-dense veggie make a mean salad, it can also pass itself off as a potato chip, play nicely with fruit in a smoothie, and add a certain je ne sais quoi to stews, pastas and soups. Indeed, there is no shortage of ways to use kale—provided it doesn’t go limp on you first, that is. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to prevent this prized green from turning into a wilted disappointment. Here’s everything you need to know about how to store kale so it stays crisp, according to the agriculture experts at Soil Born Farms.
How to Store Kale So It Stays Nice and Fresh
What Is Kale?
You probably know a thing or two about kale already, considering that the popularity of this leafy green hasn’t waned since the 90s (and it has been around since Roman times). That said, you might be surprised to learn that kale is actually a cruciferous vegetable belonging to the cabbage family. There are multiple varieties of kale—with leaves ranging from deep green to purple, flat to curly—and all of them are very good for you. In fact, just one serving of this superfood contains a huge amount of vitamins A, K and C (206 percent, 684 percent and 134 percent, respectively) and a boatload of other nutrients, like potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium, too. In other words, if kale is not already a part of your diet, it probably should be.
How to Store Kale
So you’re ready to scoop up as much kale as you can get your hands on, but you best read up on how to store the stuff properly first—you know, so it doesn’t meet a sad fate in your fridge. Indeed, this leafy green needs a little extra attention or it’s liable to wilt and spoil before you have a chance to use it. When it comes to storing kale, the most important thing is to protect it from excess moisture. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best methods for keeping kale fresh.
1. Store whole bunches of kale in the fridge
This low-maintenance storage method is so easy—namely because all you have to do is wrap the greens in a couple layers of paper towel before you put them away. Once bundled in paper towels, seal the whole bunch of kale up in a plastic storage bag or large, airtight container and you’ll be able to enjoy fresh, leafy goodness for a full week at least.
2. Store washed and prepped kale in the fridge
In general, it’s wise not to wash and chop greens until you’re ready to use them; hearty kale, however, is an exception to the rule, which is good news for anyone who wants to get a head start on tomorrow’s salad. For this method, the leaves of the kale should be torn or cut from the stem, rinsed in cold water, and dried thoroughly with either paper towel or a salad spinner. Once washed and dried, wrap the leaves in paper towels before storing them in an airtight container or plastic bag and sending them to the fridge. Just keep in mind that kale stored in this way is unlikely to stay fresh for a full week, so only use this method if you plan on eating your greens within three days.
3. Store kale in the freezer
If you’ve got more kale than you can consume in a week, the freezer is your friend. Before you put your kale in the freezer, though, you must first blanch it. To do this, tear the leaves from the stems, dunk them in a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes and immediately transfer them to an ice bath. While the leaves are chilling in the ice bath, line a baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towel. Spread the kale out on said baking sheet and, using another layer of paper towel on top, thoroughly pat it dry before packing it into plastic bags and stashing it in the freezer for up to eight months. (Psst: This method is great for smoothies and dishes that call for cooked kale, but don’t expect your thawed greens to be salad-worthy.)