One of our main goals with our homestead is to grow most of our own food and reduce our reliance on the grocery store for our vegetables, fruits and eventually eggs (maybe even meat one day!). That being said, we also want to try to eat the food we grow year round (we currently do not have a greenhouse). That means we need ways to preserve our food so that they still taste delicious and maintain their nutritional profile. This is easier said than done with greens. Canning greens is not an option and I’ve found that blanching and freezing my greens just resulted in mush. This mush was decent enough in soups, but no one was fond of the texture in stir fries or other dishes.
Thankfully a few years ago I discovered a way to freeze greens so they don’t come out mushy and I’m going to share it with you. Now of course the consistency of your greens will not be like it is when it’s fresh, but with this method they are still delicious in soup, stir fry, noodle dishes. smoothies or sauteed.
A Note About Blanching
There are a lot of sites and people who will say that blanching your greens is a necessary step to the freezing process. Blanching is when you boil your vegetables for several minutes (2-5 depending on what you are preserving) and quickly plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking process. It was/is long believed that if you do no blanch your vegetables prior to freezing that the enzymes in the vegetables will cause them to degrade and break down. This will result in a loss of colour, taste and nutritional value.
Now I hate to go against the rules here, but I’ve been freezing my greens like this for a few years now and they have been turning out great! They taste fantastic, there appears to be no degrading, colour loss, freezer burn or break down of any kind. I even froze green beans from our garden without blanching last year (gasp) and we just enjoyed the last of them a month ago and they were quite tasty.
However if you don’t want to be a rebel like me I encourage you to look into blanching and boil to your hearts content!
If you like rebelling against the rules a bit… keep on reading!
What You’ll Need
- A good knife
- Freezer bags (good quality ones)
- I’ve used a pen in a pinch… just remove the ink part so you have a hollow tube
- If your greens require cleaning take a dry (or damp) paper towel and brush off the dirt.
- This first step might be controversial to some, but submerging your greens in water to wash them will result in mushy greens regardless of blanching or not. I must add that I would NOT do this with store bought greens or greens from a source that sprayed with chemicals. My greens are grown in good old organic soil and not sprayed with anything so I feel comfortable with simply dusting the dirt off.
- Chop the stems and leaves of your greens into bite sized portions. For kale don’t forget to remove the stalk/stem as this is tough and not tasty
- Measure out an appropriate amount for your family (I freeze my greens in 2 cup portions) and place them in your labeled ziploc bag
- Lay your bag flat and seal it almost all the way leaving just enough space to slip in your straw
- Using your straw suck out as much of the air in the bag as possible and quickly seal your bag
- If you have a vacuum sealer even better
- Place your bok choy in the freezer laying flat
- Once it’s frozen you can move it around or place it whatever configuration works best for your freezing needs
Thanks so much for reading! I’d love to hear how you preserve your harvests so please comment below or come visit me on Facebook.
Until next time,