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Here’s how to freeze green leafy vegetables – use them later as a side dish or in a smoothie.
Greens – they are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden. Lettuce, mesclun greens of all kinds, chard, spinach, beet greens, arugula, bok choy, collard greens, turnip greens – the list of leafy greens goes on and on.
And they are great of course for salads and on sandwiches. But did you know that you can actually freeze many different types of greens? Yes. You. Can! Here’s how to freeze green leafy vegetables.
So plant more leafy greens than you can eat fresh – then blanch and freeze them to enjoy later in the season. Or in the dead of winter. Serve this as a side vegetable along with dinner.
Each year, we grow a lot of beets. Graham loves Pickled Beets and I also pressure can beets for winter eating.
We also grow lots of Spinach and Chard, along with plenty of Lettuce for salads.
You can also use this method to freeze greens for smoothies. If you love having a smoothie to start your day and get a kickstart of veggies, here’s how you can blanch and freeze greens.
Plus, you will save a lot of money not having to buy kale, chard or chinese greens in the winter time. This of course is when they are most expensive.
So grow your own, grow a lot of them, then use them all winter long!
How to Freeze Green Leafy Vegetables
Chard doesn’t mind the hot weather so it’s a great mid summer green to grow in full sun. Here’s one of our Swiss Chard harvests – huge leaves and nice thick ribs on the stems.
This Chard is called Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard, but you can also get a Swiss Chard variety with the different coloured stems – it’s quite beautiful.
After harvesting, I just give the Chard a good washing before blanching. I use a large stock pot for blanching greens.
This way I can fit a lot of greens in every load. Get a large pot of water boiling on the stove before adding the greens.
Blanching Leafy Greens for Freezing
After adding the greens, wait for the water to begin boiling again. Then, let it boil for 2 minutes.
Scoop the greens out with tongs, let the excess water run off into the pot and immediately plunge them into cold water. I just fill one of my sinks while the water is boiling.
Be sure to use very cold water – you want the greens to cool fast.
Swish the greens around in the cold water, adding more cold water if needed. Make sure the greens are cold – it’s OK if it takes a bit of time to get them cooled down.
Then spin the greens dry in a salad spinner. It’s important to make sure the greens are quite dry, without water still clinging to them.
You need to drain any water from them before you bag them. This will reduce any ice crystals from forming.
Pack them in single serving size Ziploc bags or other freezer bag and then squeeze the air from the bag. Seal them, label them as to the contents and put them in the freezer.
That’s it – that’s all there is to freezing leafy greens. Easy, right?
When you’re ready to use, just thaw and heat them up. I like to heat them on a stove, using a steamer.
And remember that they are partially cooked, so you won’t have to heat them for long.
Then serve them alongside your meat and potatoes as your dinner vegetable.
How to Freeze Green Leafy Vegetables for Smoothies
If you are going to freeze leafy greens for smoothies, then you may want to cut the greens into smaller pieces before adding them to the boiling water for blanching.
This will make it easier to use them in smoothies. I have a NutriBullet we use for smoothies and it is fantastic! You can use a blender as well.
The same method applies – blanch the leafy greens for 2 minutes then plunge them into cold water.
Give them a spin to dry them off really well, then bag them up. Put them in the freezer for later. Let the frozen greens thaw before using in your green smoothie.
Freezing Greens in Ice Cube Trays
If you would rather have much smaller amounts of frozen greens, consider freezing them in an ice cube tray. You can pull out as many cubes as you need at a time.
Add to your favorite soup recipe to enhance the flavor, taste and the amount of nutrients.
That is what we do with our Basil leaves and other small herbs too. Here’s how to freeze greens in ice cube trays.
Use this method to freeze leafy green vegetables such as spinach, beet greens and swiss chard.
More about Preserving Food
Did you know you can Blanch and Freeze Garden Peas like this? Perfect for eating fresh peas all year round.
If you have a Rhubarb plant or two, look at all the ways you can Use Rhubarb – Can it, Juice it and much more.
Here’s exactly how I Freeze Lemon Juice – if you live where citrus trees grow, you will want to read this.
Want to find out which are The 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow?
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originally published Jan 2020; updated July 2022