Freezing Greens

Selecting High-Quality Greens:

Select young, tender green leaves. Leaves on greens like spinach should be at least 6 inches long to harvest; they can be as long as 10 inches on other greens (chard). Harvest early in the day before heat from the sun causes greens to become limp. The amount needed to fill 1-pint is approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. freezing guide

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Preparing for Freezing:

Wash thoroughly in an ice water bath to remove sand and insects. Rinse. Cut off woody stems and remove damaged leaves. Leaves can be left whole or chopped coarsely.

Blanching Time:

Water-blanch collard greens 3 minutes and all other greens 2 minutes. Cool promptly and drain.

Best Freezing Method(s):

  • Dry Pack: Transfer cooled, blanched greens into suitable containers. Seal, label and freeze. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.

  • Stir Fry: As an alternative to blanching, greens can be stir-fried until leaves are wilted (2 to 3 minutes) and packed into boilable bags. Seal bags, cool, pat dry and freeze.

Suitable Packaging:

Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing asparagus includes freezer-grade plastic bags, rigid plastic containers or glass containers and heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Maximum Storage Time:

10 to 12 months at 0ºF. For best flavor, consume within 6 months.

Thawing:

Add greens directly to dishes without thawing.

Tips & Shortcuts:

Carefully lift greens out of their water bath using a colander or strainer to leave any sand and grit behind.

Refrigerating Greens:

Wrap unwashed greens in paper towels and stored in a plastic bags. If greens are cut in the morning, they will last 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator this way. Cooked greens should be covered and stored up to 5 days.

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