If you want to make healthy smoothies, you can freeze kale for months and use it whenever you need it. Here are some tips for doing this. First, blanch the kale leaves before freezing. Next, use a salad spinner or reusable storage bag to separate the leaves. Then, place the kale in a freezer bag, which will keep in the freezer for eight to twelve months.
What is Kale?
You can add kale, a healthy dark leafy green, to salads, smoothies, Buddha bowls, and various other foods. A “SUPERFOOD” designation has also been given to it because of the number of vitamins and minerals it contains. A fantastic strategy to consume more greens and enjoy this unique vegetable is to include kale in your weekly meal preparation. Most grocery stores carry one of two widely used varieties of kale.
Dinosaur kale, which has flat leaves and a darker green color, is excellent in salads and buddha bowls like this one with sweet potatoes.
The type of kale you are most commonly familiar with has highly curly leaves and is paler in color than dinosaur kale. I adore incorporating it into salads like this simple kale salad.
Both varieties of kale are incredibly wholesome and straightforward to prepare and store.
Can You Use Frozen Kale in Smoothies?
You can also use frozen kale to simplify your life. Before freezing the kale leaves, I advise cutting off the stems because they have a harsh flavor and will change how your smoothie tastes. (Instead, I reserve the leftover kale stems for juicing.) The whole leaves can be frozen for up to three months and used as needed. Just make sure the container is airtight.
How to Freeze Kale for Smoothies?
Clean up and cut
Leafy kale should be thoroughly rinsed before freezing since it tends to retain dirt. Before freezing them, you must separate the leaves and stems since they cook at different rates. The leaves should be roughly chopped, the stems should be cut into 1-inch pieces, and both should be adequately washed and dried before freezing.
Kale’s color is preserved, the leaves don’t become bitter, and the storage life is increased by blanching it first. Kale that has been blanched can be frozen for up to six months. Bring a big pot of water to a boil and fill a big basin with ice water to blanch the kale. The kale leaves should be cooked for around two minutes in boiling water to bring out their color before being dropped into a bowl of ice water to halt the cooking and maintain the color. The leaves should be drained and well dried. Apply the same technique to the kale stems, but cook them for 3 minutes or until they are barely soft.
Kale Freeze Techniques
When freezing kale, place the entire bunch in an airtight freezer bag, and aim to remove as much air as you can before sealing and freezing. When you need a large quantity of kale for a side dish like sautéed kale or when you want to use it in soups and stews, freezing a larger batch of kale is a simple and convenient option. The stems would also be an excellent addition to soups and stews if placed in an airtight freezer bag.
Kale leaves can be scrunched into 1-serving bundles, put on a baking sheet, and frozen for approximately 2 hours, or until solid if you don’t need a lot of it all at once. The frozen kale bundles should be transferred to an airtight freezer bag, as much air should be squeezed out before the bag is sealed, labeled, and frozen. If you need small kale for a single serving of kale pasta or a green smoothie, this method may be more practical while taking a little more time and work.
Whatever method you choose, the most important thing is always to attempt to press the leaves as flat as possible so the bag may be frozen quickly. To ensure that all of that kale—and the effort you put into freezing it—doesn’t go to waste, label the bag with the date and what’s inside.
How to Thaw Frozen Kale?
If you only need a few handfuls of kale, it defrosts relatively fast, but if you need to thaw a greater quantity, you can speed up the process by putting the bag in a basin of cool water.
In contrast to cooked foods and smoothies, raw salads, kale chips, and other recipes that rely on the texture of fresh leaves are less suitable for previously frozen kale.
What are the Health Benefits of Kale?
Because of its high nutritional content and low-calorie count, kale is sometimes referred to as a “superfood.” For the following reasons, I aim to consume more of it:
- Antioxidants found in kale include quercetin and kaempferol. By preventing oxidative damage brought on by free radicals in the body, antioxidants may assist in reducing inflammation and protect against cancer and heart disease.
- One cup of raw kale contains more vitamin C than an entire orange, making it a fantastic source of vitamins.
- Kale might assist in lowering cholesterol. In one study, participants who drank kale juice daily for 12 weeks had an increase in “good” cholesterol of 27% and a decrease in “bad” cholesterol of 10%.
- It also contains magnesium and potassium, which have been connected to a lower risk of heart disease, and vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting.
- Due to its high fiber content, some people find chewing kale in a salad unpleasant. It has a highly fibrous appearance! This smoothie is a fantastic choice because of this. The “chewing” is done for you by the mixer!
Can I Add Raw Kale to a Smoothie?
In the same family as broccoli and cauliflower, kale is a cruciferous vegetable that includes glucosinolates. These also include thiocyanates, a substance that has raised some concern about consuming raw kale because it may impair thyroid function.
Most experts, including the Mayo Clinic, agree that for this to be a problem, you would need to consume a VERY LARGE AMOUNT of raw kale- much more than you would put into a regular smoothie or kale salad. The Food & Nutrition Director for Cooking Light asserts that “the advantages of eating these vegetables typically outweigh any potential disadvantages.”
How to Make the Best Kale Smoothie?
For an outstanding sweet and tangy balance of flavors, this smoothie’s secret ingredient is a tropical blend of fruits, including mango, banana, and orange juice. Kale won’t blend well with foods that are too mild in flavor, so I avoid doing that. (For instance, I would never add greens to my Chocolate Avocado Smoothie.)
In my smoothies, I use unpasteurized cold-pressed orange juice that I purchase from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. (I prefer drinking cold-pressed juice because pasteurization’s heat can degrade some minerals, such as vitamins A and C.) If you have the time, you can squeeze your orange juice. If you’d rather avoid the juice entirely, you can also use half of a sizeable peeled orange in its place.
Avocado gives this smoothie creaminess and satiating lipids that make you feel full, but if you don’t like avocados, you can substitute any other ingredient you choose. A tablespoon of ground flax seeds or almond butter would also work.
Is Frozen Kale Safe to Eat?
Yes! If vegetables are gathered and served at the pinnacle of freshness when their vitamins are at their highest, frozen vegetables can be healthier than fresh vegetables.
Due to an enzyme called trypsin and chymotrypsin created, fruits and vegetables transported by truck or resting on grocery store shelves can start to lose some of their nutrients.
While most of the nutrients are retained after blanching, some vitamin C and B vitamins may be lost.
Which One is Healthier: Spinach or Kale?
Kale and spinach’s nutritional value and health advantages differ in minor ways.
Despite this, both are nutrient-dense and can be included in a balanced diet.
In your weekly meals, try to include a few servings of each, along with a variety of other leafy greens, including romaine, Swiss chard, collard greens, and cabbage.
Each of these components not only offers a unique combination of nutrients, but they can also provide your diet with some diversity and fresh flavors.
Here are a few easy suggestions to incorporate these delicious vegetables into your daily routine:
Include kale or spinach in a salad with other vegetables and a lean protein.
Top your favorite recipes with kale or spinach, such as sandwiches, tacos, pasta, and casseroles.
For a nutritious side dish to go with your main meals, try sautéing and seasoning spinach or kale.
To make a filling breakfast scramble, combine your choice of greens with other vegetables and eggs.
Make a green smoothie with some of your favorite fruits, vegetables, kale, and spinach.
How Much is Kale Safe to Eat in a Week?
In actuality, consuming anything in high quantities—from coconut oil to avocados—is terrible for your health. Kale is great, but change up your greens, advises Manganiello. Going overboard may not cause heavy metal toxicity, but it can still have some unfavorable consequences. Since kale contains a lot of fiber, it can quickly fill you up and exclude other healthy, nutrient-dense foods from your diet, according to Manganiello. Additionally, consuming too much fiber, like that found in kale, can cause havoc on your digestive system and result in bloating, diarrhea, gas, constipation, and even poor nutritional absorption. Naturally, you’d have to consume a lot of kale to experience these effects, but it’s still important to be aware.
Manganiello advises consumers to consume moderate amounts of kale daily, and she recommends consuming no more than one to two servings of kale daily, leaving room for other nutritious foods. If you eat this leafy green, Manganiello advises pairing it with foods high in fatty acids like oil or nuts to increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. According to her, combining kale with foods high in vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, or lemon juice, can aid in iron absorption.
What are the Storage Methods for Kale?
Kale can be preserved in two methods that keep it tasty and fresh. The kale will survive up to a week if you use the refrigerator method, and you can have it ready for kale chips, salads, sandwiches, and other dishes.
Kale can be kept fresh for up to six months using the freezer method. It is simple to incorporate into smoothies, stir-fries, and nutritious side dishes by sautéing it in garlic and olive oil. Additionally, it functions in any recipe that calls for frozen spinach, such as these Skinny Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups.
What are Other Recipes in Which Kale can be Used?
So many different sorts of recipes may readily incorporate kale. Here are a few of my favorite kale recipes.
Make use of it by mixing it into a substantial salad, such as this Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad, this Crispy Chickpea Kale Caesar Salad, or this Simple Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad.
Add it to your preferred soup, such as this Easy Kale and Sausage Soup.
When making these Mediterranean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, combine them with other vegetables.
Use it as a green in recipes like this 5 Minute Creamy Green Goddess Dressing or this Simple Lemon Basil Pesto to create healthy green sauces.
Kale can be stored for up to six months in the freezer, and it can also be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. For maximum benefit, store kale in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. To make smoothies easier, you can place kale in a ziplock bag, and the stems can also be added to soups or stews. Before freezing kale, please remove it from its packaging and place it in a freezer-safe bag.