L to R: Asst. chili peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini and Magda squash, onions, basil, tomatoes, slicing and pickling cucumbers, and kale.
The share has included some kale almost every week so far. If it’s starting to wear out its welcome in your kitchen, freeze it for the winter. It’s a great addition to winter vegetable and bean soups and stews. It couldn’t be much easier to do:
1. Tear the kale off the stems, and into large bite-size pieces.
2. Place the kale all at once into a large pot of boiling water, and bring back to boil. Stir to assure even cooking, and allow to cook (blanch) until the kale is bright green and has softened a bit, usually around 2 minutes.
3. Remove the kale from the boiling water with a slotted spoon or spider, and immediately place into large bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
4. Squeeze kale dry over bowl, then place on clean dish towel, roll up, and squeeze any remaining water out. Get the kale as dry as you can, to help prevent ice crystals from forming while freezing.
5. Pack in quart freezer bag, labeled with date, and type of vegetable. Remove as much air as possible from bag before sealing (a drinking straw is a useful tool to suck air out with), seal, and place in freezer.
When you are ready to use the kale, you don’t even have to thaw it. Just remove the frozen block from the bag, and toss into your waiting soup. Stir to break up as it thaws, warm through, and it will still have good texture and flavor.
You can use this technique to freeze almost any vegetable. I would not recommend freezing vegetables with lots of water in them, like the summer squashes, with this method. Their texture just breaks down too much for them to remain pleasantly edible. I have frozen summer and zucchini squashes, as well as eggplant, as purees. They are great in soups as well, and a welcome blast of summer flavor when winter’s doldrums are crushing everyone’s spirit.
Short and sweet this time, I think. I’ll be back soon with the results of the pickling, and a yummy vegetable soup. I’ll see you soon, on down the Road.