How to Freeze Leafy Greens with Tips on How to Store Long-term

Freezing greens from the garden is an excellent method for preserving the harvest. How to freeze leafy greens such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and collards takes only minutes, consisting of 2 quick and easy steps.

learn how to freeze leafy green like this basket full of kale

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Growing up in a Thai household meant consuming a leafy green vegetable of some sort or another daily. Sometimes multiples times a day.  And in truth, as a child that was okay. My sisters and I enjoyed vegetables of all sorts regardless if they were fresh or cooked.

However, it wasn’t until I started homesteading and gardening that I fell in love with consuming greens such as kale, collards, and swiss chard. I regretted the end of the growing season simply because I knew the greens would be the first to bolt or to die back in the winter months because of their tender leaves.

The game changer for me occured the moment I discovered freezing kale was an option. And so was freezing swiss chard. And freezing collard. Not to mention freezing spinach…

Complete game changer.

Freezing Greens vs Pressure Canning Greens

Aside from freezing spinach and other greens they can be preserved using a pressure canner. However, pressure canning leafy greens means you have to grow a ridiculous amount of them to invest the time, jar, and shelf space.

Let me give you an example, roughly 28 pounds of leafy greens such as kale, collard, swiss chard is needed to fill 7 quart size jars. In addition to the amount of greens needed, the pressure canning time is quite long. 70 minutes for quart size mason jars.

Now, let’s talk about how to freeze leafy greens.

Regardless of the amount harvested leafy greens can be preserved immediately. Not needing to wait until there is enough to be pressure canned. Make sure to select the freshest, youngest stems. This ensures a good tasting product is being preserved.

Freezing kale and other leafy greens is similar to freezing farm fresh eggs, both items are frozen in silicone molds and stored in a vacuum sealed bag for long-term storage. The molds make it easier to remove the frozen items, especially molds for freezing kale and other greens.

The length of time it takes to prepare leafy greens for freezing is only minutes, whereas pressure canning greens will take over 1 hour. Of course, if you grow an obscene amount of greens, pressure canning is a great choice for storing green long-term.

Freezing Leek Leaves

Unlike the leafy greens mentioned above the green leaves from leeks do not need to be blanched prior to freezing. The leaves are stored frozen in the same manner one would freeze green onions.

Meaning, much like green onions the leek greens can be chopped into smaller pieces or bunched and then frozen. Ideally, one would want to pre-freeze the cut pieces prior to packaging them long-term.

Blanching Times

Blanching items prior to storing them in the freezer serves many purposes. This step should not be skipped as you are preparing to store foods long-term which are to be frozen:

  1. blanching keeps the flavor and color within the vegetables and fruits
  2. the process stops the enzymes from continually ripening the vegetables and fruits
  3. blanching also preserves the nutrients within the vegetables and fruit
  4. any bacteria on fruits and vegetables is destroyed through the act of blanching
freezing kale is made easy with the use of a blanching colander

Now, how long to blanch leafy greens will depend on the greens. Each type of green has various levels how dense and fibrous the leaves are. For example:

  • collard greens will need to be blanched for three minutes.
  • kale, swiss chard, beet greens, kohlrabi, or brassica greens will need to be blanched for two minutes.
  • tender greens such as spinach leaves will need to be blanched for 90 seconds.

Freezing spinach and other greens requires the items to be blanched, you’ll not want to skip this step.

How to Store Frozen Greens

I am going to say this as gently as possible, stop using Ziplock bags to freeze foods. Just stop. Yes, that includes the baggies which are designed for the freezer.

These items do not protect foods from freezer burn, especially items which are being stored long-term. Take the time to vacuum leafy greens and other fruits and vegetables.

To prevent ice crystals from forming on vegetables and fruit there must be no oxygen within the bag. Ice crystals will cause foods to dry-out, making them quite unappealing to the palate.

Freezing swiss chard and other greens requires proper storage. Investing in a good vacuum sealer will protect your greens until they are ready to be consumed.

when freezing greens they must first be blanched for the appropriate time.

My Book

For additional tip, trick, and recipes on how to preserve foods grab a copy of my book, The Farm Girl's Guide to Preserving the Harvest. Whether you are a novice or seasoned home food preserver my book has something for everyone. Learn how to can, ferment, dry, cure, freeze, and store raw the harvest as a sustainable homesteader would.

Copies of The Farm Girl's Guide to Preserving the Harvest can be purchased online at the following sites, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, Walmart, Books a Million, and on my website

freezing swiss chard

How to Freeze Leafy Greens

Before beginning it is important to wash your items well. This is especially important for those who reside on the coastal side of the Pacific Northwest.

Slugs of all sizes can be found on the leaves, make sure to inspect your harvest well prior to freezing it. Freezing swiss chard and other leafy green with a side of protein is not appealing to many.

Ingredients

  • freshly harvested leafy greens, kale, swiss chard, collards, brassica greens, leek, beets, or kohlrabi leaves

Equipment

freezing swiss chard is made easy utilizing a silicone muffin tray

Instructions

  1. Bring a stock pot filled with water to a raging boil.
  2. As the water reaches a boil wash leafy greens extremely well. Next, strip the leaves from the stem.
  3. Cut the greens into bite size pieces or into pieces in which you will likely prepare them. Place the cut pieces into the blanching basket.
  4. Place the blanching basket filled with the cut leaves into the stockpot, using a wooden spoon make sure the greens are fully submerged under the water. Blanch the green according to the appropriate time indicated above.
  5. Remove the blanching basket from the stockpot and immediately empty the green into a mixing bowl of ice cold water. This stops the cooking process.
  6. Squeeze excess water from the leafy greens and add to the silicone muffin mold, making sure to pack the green into the molds as tightly as possible.
  7. Place the silicon mold into the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.
  8. The last step is to remove the frozen greens from the mold and store in a vacuum sealed bag. When stored properly leafy greens will keep for 6 month to 1 year.
freezing swiss chard is quite easy, however, storing it long-term is just as simple

Printable Recipe Card

The steps for freezing kale and other greens is extremely easy, and much more practical than pressure canning them.

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How to Freeze Leafy Greens

Freezing greens from the garden is an excellent method for preserving the harvest. How to freeze leafy greens such as kale, spinach, swiss chard, and collards takes only minutes, consisting of 2 quick and easy steps.
Prep Time15 mins
Freezing Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Preserving
Cuisine: American
Keyword: freezing greens, freezing kale, freezing spinach, freezing swiss chard, how to freeze leafy greens
Servings: 1 serving
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • large stock pot
  • Blanching Basket
  • large mixing bowl
  • Wooden Spoon
  • silicone muffin mold

Ingredients

  • freshly harvested leafy greens kale, swiss chard, collards, brassica greens, leek, beets, or kohlrabi leaves

Instructions

  • Bring a stock pot filled with water to a raging boil.
  • As the water reaches a boil wash leafy greens extremely well. Next, strip the leaves from the stem.
  • Cut the greens into bite size pieces or into pieces in which you will likely prepare them. Place the cut pieces into the blanching basket.
  • Place the blanching basket filled with the cut leaves into the stockpot, using a wooden spoon make sure the greens are fully submerged under the water. Blanch the green according to the appropriate time indicated above.
  • Remove the blanching basket from the stockpot and immediately empty the green into a mixing bowl of ice cold water. This stops the cooking process.
  • Squeeze excess water from the leafy greens and add to the silicone muffin mold, making sure to pack the green into the molds as tightly as possible.
  • Place the silicon mold into the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours.
  • The last step is to remove the frozen greens from the mold and store in a vacuum sealed bag. When stored properly leafy greens will keep for 6 month to 1 year.

Notes

  • collard greens will need to be blanched for three minutes.
  • kale, swiss chard, beet greens, kohlrabi, or brassica greens will need to be blanched for two minutes.
  • tender greens such as spinach leaves will need to be blanched for 90 seconds.

Enjoy garden greens throughout the year with these easy steps on how to freeze leafy greens. The process of freezing greens allows you to enjoy them as an ingredient in many dishes. Freezing spinach and other greens allows you to enjoy the harvest in soups, stews, and many egg dishes.

steps for freezing swiss chard and other greens
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