How To Store Lacinato Kale
Modified: November 18, 2023
Learn the best methods for storing lacinato kale to keep it fresh for longer. Read our informative articles on how to store and preserve this nutritious leafy green.
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When it comes to the world of leafy greens, Lacinato kale, also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale, is a popular choice among health-conscious individuals. This versatile and nutrient-rich vegetable is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that contribute to a healthy diet.
To make the most of your Lacinato kale and ensure its freshness and quality, proper storage techniques are essential. Whether you’ve grown your own kale or purchased it from a local market, knowing how to store Lacinato kale will help prolong its shelf life and preserve its flavor and nutritive value.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of storing Lacinato kale, from selecting the freshest leaves to various storage methods that will keep your kale fresh for an extended period.
So, let’s dive in and learn how to store Lacinato kale to ensure its longevity and maintain its vibrant green color and crisp texture.
- Properly storing Lacinato kale, whether in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry, can extend its shelf life and preserve its freshness, allowing you to enjoy this nutritious leafy green for an extended period.
- Preserved Lacinato kale can be used in a variety of dishes, including soups, smoothies, sautés, and pasta, providing a convenient and versatile way to incorporate this nutrient-rich green into your meals year-round.
Read more: How To Store Kale
Selecting Fresh Lacinato Kale
When choosing Lacinato kale for storage, it’s important to select the freshest and healthiest leaves available. Here are some tips to help you choose the best Lacinato kale:
- Look for fresh and vibrant dark green leaves. Avoid leaves that appear wilted, discolored, or have brown spots.
- Opt for smaller leaves, as they tend to be more tender and flavorful than larger ones.
- Check the stems to ensure they are firm and not slimy or mushy. Stems should have a crisp texture.
- Avoid Lacinato kale with yellow or flowering buds, as this indicates maturity and a potentially tougher texture.
When purchasing Lacinato kale, try to buy it in bunches rather than pre-cut or packaged. Whole bunches of kale tend to stay fresher for longer periods.
If you choose to harvest Lacinato kale from your garden, pick the leaves when they are young and tender. This will ensure the best flavor and texture.
By selecting the freshest Lacinato kale, you set the foundation for successful storage and long-lasting freshness for your leafy greens.
Washing and Drying Lacinato Kale
Before storing Lacinato kale, it’s important to properly wash and dry the leaves to remove any dirt, debris, or bacteria. Follow these steps to ensure your kale is clean and ready for storage:
- Fill a clean sink or large bowl with cool water.
- Gently separate the Lacinato kale leaves from the stems. Discard any tough or damaged leaves.
- Place the leaves in the water and swish them around to loosen any dirt or grit.
- Allow the leaves to soak in the water for a couple of minutes to further remove any impurities.
- Remove the leaves from the water and rinse them thoroughly under running water, ensuring all dirt is removed.
- Inspect the leaves one more time to make sure they are clean.
- Pat the leaves dry with a clean kitchen towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
It’s essential to make sure the leaves are completely dry before storing them, as any moisture can lead to spoilage or the growth of bacteria.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your Lacinato kale is clean, free from contaminants, and ready for storage.
Basic Storage Techniques for Lacinato Kale
Once you have selected and washed your Lacinato kale, it’s time to employ effective storage techniques to keep it fresh for as long as possible. Here are some basic storage methods for Lacinato kale:
The refrigerator is the most common and convenient storage option for Lacinato kale. Follow these steps to store your kale in the refrigerator:
- Wrap the Lacinato kale leaves loosely in a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
- Place the wrapped kale in a resealable plastic bag or airtight container.
- Make sure to leave some room in the bag or container for proper air circulation.
- Store the kale in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, which maintains a slightly higher humidity level.
Properly stored Lacinato kale can last in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days.
Read more: How To Store Kale In Fridge
Freezing Lacinato Kale
If you have a surplus of Lacinato kale that you won’t be able to consume within a week, freezing is an excellent option to prolong its shelf life. Here’s how to freeze Lacinato kale:
- Blanch the Lacinato kale leaves by submerging them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
- After blanching, transfer the kale leaves to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Once cooled, drain the kale leaves and pat them dry.
- Divide the leaves into freezer-safe bags or containers, removing as much air as possible.
- Label the bags with the date and store them in the freezer.
Frozen Lacinato kale can be stored for up to 8-10 months. While the texture may slightly change after freezing, it is still suitable for use in soups, stews, smoothies, and other cooked dishes.
Pantry or Root Cellar Storage
If you have access to a cool and dark pantry or root cellar, you can store Lacinato kale without refrigeration. Here’s how:
- Remove any damaged or discolored leaves from the Lacinato kale bunch.
- Gently wrap the kale in a damp paper towel to maintain humidity.
- Place the wrapped kale in a breathable bag, such as a produce bag or a perforated plastic bag.
- Store the bag of kale in a cool and dark area with good air circulation.
This method allows Lacinato kale to last for about 3-5 days.
By utilizing these storage techniques, you can extend the shelf life of your Lacinato kale and reduce waste.
Storing Lacinato Kale in the Refrigerator
The refrigerator is the most common and convenient method for storing Lacinato kale, as it helps maintain its freshness and prolong its shelf life. Here’s how you can store Lacinato kale in the refrigerator:
- Start by selecting fresh and vibrant Lacinato kale leaves. Discard any wilted or damaged leaves.
- Gently wash the kale leaves under cool running water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
- Wrap the washed and dried kale leaves loosely in a paper towel. The paper towel will help absorb any remaining moisture, preventing the leaves from becoming soggy.
- Place the wrapped kale leaves in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container. Make sure to leave some room in the bag or container for proper air circulation.
- Label the bag or container with the date to keep track of its freshness.
- Store the Lacinato kale in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. The crisper drawer maintains a slightly higher humidity level, which is ideal for leafy greens.
Properly stored Lacinato kale can last in the refrigerator for about 5-7 days. However, it’s always a good idea to check the leaves for freshness before using them in recipes.
Remember to keep the kale away from strong-smelling foods in the refrigerator, as it can absorb odors. It’s also essential to store it away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables, such as apples and tomatoes, as they can accelerate the kale’s deterioration.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your Lacinato kale stays fresh, crisp, and ready to use whenever you need it.
Freezing Lacinato Kale
If you have an abundance of Lacinato kale and want to preserve it for future use, freezing is an excellent option. Freezing Lacinato kale allows you to extend its shelf life and have it readily available for soups, stews, smoothies, and other cooked dishes. Here’s how you can freeze Lacinato kale:
- Start by washing the Lacinato kale leaves thoroughly under cool running water to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess moisture.
- Prepare a large pot of boiling water and a bowl of ice water.
- Gently separate the kale leaves from the stems, discarding any tough or damaged leaves.
- Blanch the Lacinato kale leaves by submerging them in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes. Blanching helps preserve the color, texture, and flavor of the kale.
- After blanching, immediately transfer the kale leaves to the ice water bath to cool them down quickly and halt the cooking process.
- Once the kale leaves have cooled, drain them and pat them dry to remove any excess moisture.
- Divide the blanched and dried kale leaves into portion-sized amounts. You can choose to either leave them whole or chop them into smaller pieces.
- Place the kale portions into freezer-safe bags or airtight containers. Remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn.
- Label the bags or containers with the date and store them in the freezer.
Frozen Lacinato kale can be stored for up to 8-10 months. While the texture may slightly change after freezing, the kale remains nutritious and versatile for cooking.
When you’re ready to use the frozen kale, simply remove the desired amount from the freezer and add it directly to your recipe. There’s no need to thaw the kale beforehand since it will quickly cook in soups, stews, or sautés.
By freezing Lacinato kale, you can ensure that you always have this nutritious leafy green on hand, even when it’s out of season.
Read more: How To Store Kale In Water
Storing Lacinato Kale in the Pantry or Root Cellar
If you have access to a cool and dark pantry or root cellar, storing Lacinato kale without refrigeration is an option to consider. Here’s how you can store Lacinato kale in the pantry or root cellar:
- Start by inspecting the Lacinato kale bunch for any damaged or discolored leaves. Remove any leaves that are not in good condition.
- Lightly moisten a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to maintain humidity for the kale.
- Gently wrap the Lacinato kale leaves in the moistened towel. This will help prevent the kale from drying out.
- Once the leaves are wrapped, place the bundle in a breathable bag, such as a produce bag or a perforated plastic bag. This allows for airflow while protecting the kale from potential pests.
- Find a cool and dark area in your pantry or root cellar to store the wrapped kale bundle. The temperature should ideally be around 40-50°F (4-10°C).
When stored properly, Lacinato kale can last in the pantry or root cellar for about 3-5 days. However, it’s crucial to check the leaves regularly for any signs of deterioration or spoilage.
Make sure to keep the Lacinato kale away from ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables, as they can accelerate the deterioration process. Apples, bananas, and tomatoes are common examples of such produce.
Remember that storing Lacinato kale in a pantry or root cellar is only suitable for short-term storage. If you want to store your kale for a more extended period, consider using other methods like refrigeration or freezing.
By utilizing the pantry or root cellar storage method, you can enjoy the freshness of Lacinato kale without the need for refrigeration.
Using Preserved Lacinato Kale
Preserving Lacinato kale through refrigeration or freezing allows you to have this nutritious leafy green readily available for various recipes. Here are some creative ways to use preserved Lacinato kale:
In Soups and Stews
Preserved Lacinato kale is a fantastic addition to soups and stews, adding a nutritious boost of flavor and texture. Whether you’re making a hearty vegetable soup or a comforting minestrone, simply thaw the frozen kale or add the refrigerated kale directly to your simmering pot. The kale will quickly cook and become tender, blending seamlessly with the other ingredients.
In Smoothies and Juices
Lacinato kale is a popular choice for green smoothies and juices due to its mild taste and abundance of nutrients. Add a handful of frozen Lacinato kale leaves to your favorite smoothie recipe or juice blend for an extra dose of vitamins and minerals. The frozen kale will also help to chill your drink and provide a refreshing boost.
Read more: How To Store Washed Kale
In Sautéed or Stir-Fried Dishes
If you prefer a cooked preparation, preserved Lacinato kale works well in sautés and stir-fried dishes. Thaw the frozen kale or use refrigerated kale, then heat a little oil or butter in a pan and add the kale along with your desired seasonings and other vegetables or proteins. Cook until the kale is tender and serve as a side dish or incorporate it into a main course.
In Pasta and Grain Bowls
Lacinato kale can be a delightful addition to pasta dishes and grain bowls. Sauté the kale with garlic and olive oil, then toss it with cooked pasta, grains, or roasted vegetables for a nutritious and flavorful meal. The preserved kale can add color, texture, and a hint of natural sweetness to your dish.
In Pesto or Green Sauces
Get creative with preserved Lacinato kale by transforming it into a vibrant pesto or green sauce. Blend thawed frozen kale or refrigerated kale with ingredients like garlic, nuts, cheese, lemon juice, and olive oil to create a versatile sauce that can be used as a spread, dip, or pasta sauce. The kale will provide a lovely earthy note to your homemade creations.
By utilizing preserved Lacinato kale, you can enjoy this nutritious leafy green in various dishes throughout the year, even when it’s out of season. Get inspired and experiment with different recipes to make the most of your preserved kale!
Frequently Asked Questions about How To Store Lacinato Kale
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