Saturday, July 6, 2013

Common CSA Dilemma: Too Much Kale

This is what happens when you get one week behind eating all the kale in your CSA:

Over the last two years, I've learned to like Kale. However, this week I've got lots of other great stuff to eat in our CSA share, including three different type of fresh greens that I won't be able to preserve. So, this kale is destined for the freezer. It took me less than hour to convert this into meal-sized servings in our freezer. I know a lot of people that find themselves with too much kale at once, so I figured I'd provide a step by step guide to deal with it.

First, de-stem and wash all your kale. I filled up an entire sink with cold water and it was able to handle this bunch. You'll be left with some tough stems that you probably don't want to eat; bonus points if you cut them into little pieces for compost.

In manageable batches, chop the kale into small - medium pieces, just as you would if you were cooking it for dinner. I put all of my chopped kale into a large stainless steel bowl (it filled it).

Next, prep your cooktop. You'll need a large pot of boiling water, a basket for blanching (or a slotted spoon if you plan to fish all the bits of kale out individually), and a container to safely transport the steaming hot kale back to the sink. Here's my setup (from left to right: large bowl of fresh, chopped kale, wire basket, boiling water, empty bowl).

Place some of the fresh kale in the wire basket (be sure not to add more than your pot can handle). Place the basket in the boiling water, mixing the kale around to make sure it's all covered with water. Blanch for two minutes. (If you don't have a basket, you can put the kale directly in the water, but you'll need to fish it out with a slotted spoon). The kale should be bright green.

After two minutes, remove the kale and let the water drip for a couple seconds. Place the basket in the empty bowl for transport to a waiting, empty sink. Immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Get your hands in there and make sure you don't leave any warm spots.

Remove as much water from the kale as possible (I just used a spatula to press it against the basket). Measure the amount of kale you normally eat with a meal or in your favorite recipe, and place it in a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible (you can use a FoodSaver, but I just used a straw and some quick moves with my fingers). Place in the freezer, and use throughout the fall and winter as you normally would use cooked kale (it will likely need a few more minutes of cooking when you use it).

I ended up with 7 cups of kale. My favorite way to cook it is sautéed with olive oil, onions and garlic, then placed over a hearty grain or toasted bread and topped with a soft boiled egg. Yum.

How do you use up your extra kale?