8 Ways to Preserve and Store Kale

Kale is a great green to grow in any home garden. It is fast growing and very cold hardy. It self-seeds and is full of flavor and nutrients. Either fresh or preserved, kale is an equally nutritious alternative to spinach in many recipes. 

Because of its long and prolific growing season, you might find yourself with excess kale no matter how much you eat. If that’s the case, there are several ways to preserve it for later use.

Keep Kale Growing

Kale plant

There are several varieties of kale that you can grow and many are incredibly cold and frost tolerant.

Kale grows best in the cooler spring and fall temperatures. The summer heat will usually force it to bolt and go to seed. Typically, curly leaf kales are more cold hardy than flat-leaf kales. In zone 5 you can expect curly kales to stay leafy and green until at least Christmas.

You can extend this time by adding plastic over hoops to your kale patch or growing it in a cold frame or greenhouse year round.

Kale is a self-seeding plant, so last year’s seeds will start to germinate in the very early spring. Kale seeds can even be sown directly onto the last snows of the season. The easiest option for preserving kale might be to keep it growing all year round if you can.


  • Takes up no space in the home
  • Stays fresh


  • Won’t work in every climate
  • Excess harvest requires storage

Ferment Your Kale

If you’re a fan of fermented foods or their health benefits, you might consider fermenting your excess kale. Kale can be fermented in the same ways cabbage is turned into sauerkraut. This means you can store your kale in the pantry, but fermented foods and fermented kale are not everyone’s cup of tea.


  • Easy
  • Stores at room temperature
  • Requires no heat


  • Not to everyone’s taste

Can Your Kale

If fermented kale isn’t your thing, it’s just as efficient to pressure-can it. Pressure-canning is an efficient way to prepare kale for room temperature storage because you can expect 28 pounds of kale to can down to 7 quarts. It is best to follow the national center for home food preservation guidelines when canning any food including kale.


  • Room-temperature storage
  • Cost-effective


  • Requires a pressure canner

Blanch and Freeze Your Kale

Frozen kale remains green and delicious provided it has been blanched first. If you have the space available, frozen kale can be used as you cook with frozen spinach. 

You can process and store large amounts of kale fairly easily by removing the stems and cutting them up, blanching for two to three minutes, removing excess moisture, and then freezing in whatever portions are convenient for you. Once frozen, portions can be grouped into a single container or bag.


  • Requires no special equipment


  • Takes up freezer space

Freeze-Dry Your Kale

Freeze-dried kale is similar to dehydrated kale except that it keeps its vibrant green color and even more nutrients.

If you are set up to freeze-dry at home, it’s worth experimenting with a few batches of kale. Kale can be freeze-dried in any size, but leaves should have their woody stems removed first. Since the sugar content of kale is low, you won’t have to line the trays. 


  • Maintains nutrients and green color
  • Room-temperature storage
  • Arguably the most delicious way to store kale


  • High cost of machinery
  • Freeze dryers are large and noisy

Dehydrate Your Kale

Kale is a prime candidate for preservation by dehydration. When dehydrated, it is shelf stable for a very long time and retains its distinct flavor. Kale needs to be de-stemmed before dehydration and can be processed into different sizes depending on preference. 

Dehydrating kale uses a tremendous amount of plant material and condenses it to take up relatively little space. While it is technically possible to use an oven to dehydrate kale, if you’re going to process a lot, it would be best to invest in a dehydrator


  • Room-temperature storage
  • No special equipment required


  • Reduces nutritional content

Powder Your Kale

The most space-efficient way to preserve kale is to dry it and make it into a powder. You can use a food processor or blender to make it. Generally, a cup of greens will yield about a tablespoon of green powder. 

The resulting green powder can be stored on the pantry shelf and used in everything from baked goods to smoothies. A word of caution though. Kale powders can be easier to make than they are to use up. Only preserve as much kale powder as you are likely to actually use. 


  • Space efficient 
  • Room-temperature storage
  • Easy to sneak into other foods


  • Easier to make than to use up

Add Kale to Other Preserved Foods

Kale is an easy-to-grow superfood, but it isn’t everyone’s favorite taste, especially for children. It’s one of those foods that you either love or hate. If it isn’t a food you necessarily want to eat on its own, you can sneak it into other preserved foods for a nutritional boost. 

  • Veggie burger patties
  • Soups
  • Ground meats
  • Spaghetti sauces
  • Casseroles
  • Chocolate cakes, loaves, and brownies
  • Granola
  • Protein/energy bites
  • Veggie nuggets
  • Chilis

Why Kale?

Kale is an easy-to-grow superfood you can produce in your garden almost year-round, even in colder climates. It can take the place of lettuce in salads and burgers while providing more nutrients and vitamins than lettuce.

Kale is a great source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and iron plus it has a delicious fresh taste!

Kale will start producing early in the spring and grow late into the fall. It will even remain green and edible well into the winter in cold climates. Since it is fast growing you may be able to grow a crop of kale in your garden before or after your regular crop of vegetables in the same space, maybe even both!

The Many Uses for Kale

A versatile vegetable, kale isn’t just for salad. In fact, there’s no shortage of uses for kale. With the techniques we shared above, you can make kale into several other ready-to-consume products. Here are just a few:


Kale can be combined with other fruits and vegetables and made into frozen cubes ready for your morning smoothie by blending and freezing. Once frozen, the cubes can be bagged together for easy use. You can also use fresh, freeze-dried, or powdered kale in smoothies.


You can puree kale to use as an addition to dips, sauces, and condiments. You can make a pre-made pesto and freeze it in small batches to use it on pasta and meat dishes. 


Perhaps the tastiest way to preserve kale is to freeze-dry it or dehydrate it into delicious kale chips. You can season and spritz kale chips with your favorite oil or juice for a yummy snack. I would bet the most popular kale recipe on the internet is for some version of kale chips! 

As chips, in salad, or added to your favorite soup, you’ll have no trouble finding a use for your preserved kale—no matter how you decide to store it.

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