Can I freeze kale?

MelissaHess(5)August 12, 2011

I grew kale this year...have never eaten it in my life haha! Not sure how to cook it, how to harvest it and where to put it! I was going to freeze it? Also, does kale bolt like lettuce? My lettuce bolted so quick I didn't get any this was no good. Will the kale be the same? Thanks for any advice!

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Sure! I tried curly Kale this year, eating it fresh was O.K. but cooking had a bitter taste to me. I'm going to try Dino Kale next.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:44AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

kale will bolt - but you can use the flower head like rapini......but they are milder with broccoli before the little flower open...

and continue harvesting leaves too.

Freezing - I would assume, but I haven't tried.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Yes, you can freeze it. But it also will hold in the garden in milder regions, say 6b and South.

Kale will always taste a lot better after several good, hard freezes, so I'd say wait until autumn to harvest and process in quantity.

Kale won't bolt in the first season except due to extraordinary stress (heat, drought?). It overwinters and then goes to seed the next year.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 12:16PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Melissa, kale and lettuce are both cool weather crops. People in the northern climes can and do grow it all summer, but we southerners only grow it in fall, winter, and early spring. Heat will make it bolt (flower, make seed, then die) and will turn the flavor bitter. Judging by the weather channel, an awful lot of northern climes have had southern summers this year and so, some of your typical summer crops have not done well. This could well be your problem.

My favorite way to cook kale is to saute a good bit of onion and celery, and maybe a bit of garlic, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of sugar in oil until soft. Then add that, oil and all, to a pan or pot of kale along with a can or two of chicken broth. Stir it together and cook until the leaves are tender, typically thirty minutes or less. Some people like to add pork meat too, but I like it just as well without, and it's healthier. When I fix it, I tend to make a BIG pot at once, and then I dole the leftovers out into smaller containers and freeze them. It's wonderful to just thaw and heat without any further work throughout the summer.

If you haven't tried it Red Russian Kale is an extremely delicious crop, and is pretty enough to plant in flower beds too.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 2:02PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

My kale is doing wonderful! It has been exposed to high temps, 99 for several days and a very long drought. We have kept it watered, but it has gotten missed a few times with the watering because I thought hubby watered it and then he thought I watered it. I have tasted it winter, spring and fall and it tastes the same. Great! It hasn't bolted. I don't like it cooked, it makes it bitter. You could probably freeze it, if you blanched it first, but you may not like the flavor.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 5:14PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

you raw kale lovers - any recipes to share?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 5:19PM
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Kale has less tannin when harvested in early winter. It also attracts fewer insects if planted in the early fall. If you do not eat it within a few days of harvest you can freeze or dry it. Either way, you must parboil it or the enzymes will make it tough and stringy if stored more than a week or two. If cooked with small particles of meat, the meat protein will temporarily bind with the tannin and conceal any bitter flavors. I eat it with soups, chili, casseroles, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kale and other greens

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 8:31PM
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susan2010(6 Massachusetts)

Has anyone tried to make kale chips? They sound intriguing. The reviews are pretty enthusiastic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kale Chips

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 10:25PM
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Yes, I made kale chips. I saw Giada make them on her cooking show. They were easy and very tasty - just toss in olive oil and spread out on a cookie sheet. They cook fast, so keep an eye on them.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2011 at 11:18PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I grow Winterbor Kale--the hardiest of the kales. The plants become huge before winter, close to 3 ft tall. I sow in mid July and harvest after frost. Winterbor overwinters and the spring flush of sweet new growth starts as early as mid February and continues until I decide to pull the plants, usually in early April. My favorite way to eat kale is to saute it lightly in plenty of olive oil with garlic and a little crushed red pepper and serve over a small amount of pasta with plenty of good freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago. Bitter? Never.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 6:48AM
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I made kale chips, too. At first they seemed great, but they never got eaten. We do eat every last bag of blanched and frozen kale, and I often combine kale with other freezer veggies, especially summer squash, for color and table-friendliness.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 8:30AM
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I think this website has a good explanation for freezing kale, which I hope to do this fall. In the meantime, I liked the taste of the leaves tossed into a batch of minestroni soup(sp?).

Here is a link that might be useful: freezing kale

    Bookmark   August 13, 2011 at 9:31AM
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