Get Your Freeze On!
I just found myself with three huge shopping bags full of kale and chard, and even as a vegan who eats only plants, I found that I was unable to keep up. I haven’t even begun to eat the kale and chard from my community garden yet. Perhaps you are also finding yourself in this very situation.
I spent my Saturday night not out painting the town, but in my steamy kitchen, blanching up a storm. My mountains of kale and chard turned into compact bags ready for freezing, bringing sustenance and the sweet memories of this joyous summer as we all try to get through the gloom of winter. Less packaging, less food miles traveled, and more consideration for roommates (if you are a renter like me) who don’t always appreciate me stuffing three shopping bags of kale into every available space in the refrigerator sounds like a total win to me! How does one preserve their summer bounty you ask? I will use kale as an example to explain the wonders of the old blanch and freeze move.
Blanching and Freezing 101:
1) Wash your kale to free it from any dirt.
2) Destalk and chop the kale.
3) Add the kale in batches to a pot of boiling water.
4) Blanch for about two minutes. The kale will turn a bright green, which indicates it’s ready to be removed from the water.
5) Remove kale from the boiling water and add it to an ice bath or run cool water over it.
6) Add the kale to a salad spinner and try to remove as much moisture as possible.
7) Place the kale on a towel and then wring it out to dry it as best as you can.
8) Spread the kale out on a cookie sheet and place in freezer.
9) Transfer frozen kale to airtight container.
10) Break it out in the dead of winter and rejoice that you are still enjoying Missoula produce and the fruits of your labor.
Don’t let good veggies go bad! Preserve them now and you’ll be happy you did later.
For more information, see this thorough resource for preserving all kinds of fruits and vegetables.