Time was running out for a bag of pre-washed pre-chopped kale that I bought and we were getting ready to leave for a short trip. I didn’t have time to cook it, so I did what I do with most goods that I want to save but can’t use right away: threw it in the freezer.
Think about it, since kale is often cooked (soups, sautees, stews) because it’s more nutritious that way, any loss of cell structure from ice crystals breaking cells wouldn’t matter. I just made sure it was completely dried to avoid as much mushiness as possible. Guess what?
Complete success. Kale is such a hearty green that it was almost completely unaffected by freezing. Obviously you don’t want to leave it in a freezer for too long but this could easily buy you a few more days or a week or two before this goes into Your New Favorite Kale Soup or some other delicious creation.
Other things I love to freeze as broken into category of why I love freezing them:
Food that takes a long time to cook
Cooked pasta (this one is best to let thaw in the refrigerator instead of defrosting in the microwave)
Beans (instead of using canned beans you can make your own fat free, low-sodium beans)
Leftovers that would otherwise go to waste
Parmesan cheese rinds (for minestrone, etc.)
The end pieces of bread (for bread crumbs)
Tomato paste (when a recipe only calls for a little, freeze the rest)
Ginger (if you aren’t freezing your ginger root and grating from frozen you are probably wasting a lot of ginger)
Foods that could spoil
Wheat flour (yup, that’s right, it could go bad if you don’t use it fast enough)
Nuts (same as above, these can go rancid)
Any others that I’m missing? Did you know a freezer (and refrigerator) is more efficient when it’s fully stocked because it leaves less room for warm air? That means you should stock up on ice cream to fill up your freezer. Right!?