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Preserving: Kale, Silverbeet & Chard

April 28, 2013

This is one way to preserve the leafy greens in your garden. In the photos I have used mostly Kale, which will soon go to seed in the garden. I have left a few of the plants, but the rest need to be removed to make way for the Spring/Summer crops so I needed a way to preserve them – I chose to freeze them and after some research, this is the method that I decided on.

You will need a large pot of boiling water (with a pasta strainer if you have one – makes removing the leaves easier), a large bowl of iced water. Tea towels and zip-lock freezer bags. Depending on how much you harvest, the following may need to be repeated.

1. Harvest your leafy greens and rinse
2. Remove the thicker stems from the larger leaves. You can keep stems for leaves such as silverbeet, but they will need to be blanched for longer (and extra 2 minutes). Kale stems are quite fibrous, so I sent mine to the compost.
3. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the leaves and simmer for 2 and a half minutes. This is called blanching and it helps by killing any nasties like bacteria on the leaves so they store longer, and the leaves retain their colour better.
4. Remove from boiling water and plunge leaves into an icebath to stop the cooking process.
5. Remove from icebath, squeezing excess water and pat dry on a tea towel.
6. Pack into zip-lock bags (the ones for freezers help prevent freezer burn) and remove as much excess air as possible. If you are lucky enough to have a vacuum sealer, here’s the time to use it.
7. Label and pack in the freezer.

Feel free to comment if you think this process could be improved – or if you have other ideas!

Natasha Kuperman – Founder, My Home Harvest