How to Store Kale

Kale is one of those vegetables that we all know is good for us, but many struggle to eat. If you buy kale, you may find it hangs around in the fridge for a while until you feel like tackling it, and if so, you need to know how to maximize the storage so the food doesn’t get wasted.

According to BBCGoodFood, kale is an important source of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and calcium. It’s an important food to include in our diets, and proper storage is key to preserving as many of those nutrients as you can.

How To Store Kale

How To Store Kale Properly

Kale needs to be stored in the fridge as quickly as possible. You probably already know it’s a fridge vegetable, but you might not know why. The reason is that kale gets bitter fast when kept at room temperature, so if you leave your kale on the counter, it makes a much less enjoyable leafy green later.

You should put it in the very coldest part of your fridge, but avoid letting it get iced up if your fridge suffers from ice at the back. Ideally, kale should be wrapped in a paper towel to prevent its leaves from getting moist, and then put into a Ziploc bag. These Ziploc Gallon Bags are a good size for larger vegetables.

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Provided it is cold enough, keeping your kale in the crisper drawer is a good idea, as this should minimize the moisture that gets to the leaves, and prevents the kale from going bad too fast. Kale often has very crinkly leaves that trap moisture, so you don’t want it to get wet or it will rot.

If you’re someone who really likes to prep vegetables in advance, some people say that you can do so with kale. It is okay to wash, dry, and cut up the leaves and then transfer them to a container or bag, but you must make sure that the kale is dry before you store it. If you don’t, you’ll find mush when you come to make dinner.

Some people prefer their kale to go into the fridge untouched, and on the whole, the vegetable will keep better and retain more of its nutrients this way.

How To Store Kale

How Long Can Kale Be Stored For?

Kale that is kept dry and cold will usually last over a week. It depends a little on the freshness of the vegetable when you bought it and what else is stored near to it, but kale is hardy and shouldn’t go bad too fast.

If you notice any yellowing in the leaves, you can just remove them before cooking. They aren’t worth eating, but they won’t harm you.

If you need to store kale for longer, you may be best blanching and freezing it. To blanch kale, remove the leaves from the stems and drop them into boiling water for just a couple of minutes.

Remove them and plunge them into iced water immediately to halt the cooking process, and then pat them dry with a dish towel or kitchen towel. They can then be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for around eight months, and will be perfect for adding to smoothies, soups, stews, etc.

How To Tell If Kale Has Gone Bad

Kale that has gone bad will usually let you know by emitting a powerful odor. We all know that members of the brassica family tend to make unpleasant smells at times, and kale is no exception. When it’s going off, it will smell pungent and unpleasant, and you may notice your whole fridge stinks.

Wilting or shriveled leaves are another good sign that the kale is past its best. While it is okay to remove a little bit of yellow from a leaf and still cook the rest, yellowing leaves are a sure sign that the kale is reaching the end of its useful life.

You can also look out for mold spots, which are more likely to appear if the kale has got wet. These may be pale blue or white, and will usually be quite small unless the kale is very far gone. If in doubt about kale, inspect it closely for signs of mold.

If you have cooked kale in the fridge, you’ll know when it’s off very quickly by the smell, but if that doesn’t help you, the texture should give you a clue. If it has turned slimy, it is no longer good to eat and should be discarded.

Avoid These Kale Storage Mistakes

  • Don’t eat the yellow leaves: although usually safe to eat, these tend to be bitter and unpleasant, and may not contain much of the goodness that was originally in them. They aren’t worth cooking and eating, but can be composted instead.
  • Don’t store your kale near fruits: kale is very sensitive to ethylene gas, so if you put it near apples or bananas, you’ll notice it turns bad much more quickly. Wrapping it helps to reduce the exposure to ethylene gas, but you should still store fruits elsewhere.
  • Don’t wash it before storing it. This will result in moisture on the leaves and while you can dry them, there’s no need to wash it in advance. It is better to just store the kale as you purchase (or harvest) it, and then wash it when you’re ready to use it.

Ready For Fresh & Crisp Kale?

Storing kale well maximizes the chance of you using it when it still has most of those valuable nutrients in it. If you store your kale poorly, it is likely to go off or at least degrade in terms of taste and value before you get around to using it!