Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Preserving Kale, Chard, and Spinach

You followed the advice in my previous posts and grew some kale: 
You tried all of the recipes, but you still have more kale than you know what to do with.  My first suggestion would be to trade - I give a friend a bag of produce each week of the season in exchange for hair cuts.  Another idea is just to give it away.  People are always thrilled to receive free, fresh, local, organic vegetables.  However, if you still have chard, kale and/or spinach coming out of your ears, I suggest putting it away.  Here's how:
First rinse it well.  I like to fill up my sink with water and let the dirt, etc, sift to the bottom of the basin.  I find that it helps to aid this process by churning it a bit with my hands.
Next, take the leaves out of the water and let them drip a bit.
With kale in particular, I suggest removing the stem through the middle.
Next, I fill a pot of water about 2/3 full and bring it to a full boil.  I put the leaves in the water and push them down a bit.  They are "blanched": boiled in water for 3 minutes.
While the leaves are blanching I prepare my sink: on one side I have a colander to drain them immediately.  I fill the other side with ice water.
I drain the leaves.
And immediately dump them into the ice water.
I find it helpful to churn them around here too, but beware: the leaves can be really hot.
Once they seem to be cooled, I take them out of the water and drain as much as possible.
I find it helpful to use a tea towel - I'm sure cheesecloth would work as well.  I place it over my now empty strainer and dump all of my cooled greens inside.
Next, I gather up the edges and squeeze out a bit more water.
Finally, I always make certain to label the freezer bags and remove as much air as possible before placing them in the deep freezer.
General note: sometimes I will mix all three together and sometimes I separate them out.

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