When you hit autumn, it’s lovely to enjoy all the sturdy greens that get sweeter as the weather cools into winter. Eventually, though, you do have to harvest the last of them because it’s going to snow. Really snow, like a foot. If there’s more than you’ll eat promptly, freezing is one of the best ways to preserve greens like collards, kale, and chard. Freezing is also relatively quick, maintains nutrient levels, and requires minimal equipment.

How to Freeze Greens

1. Trim roots off and wash greens well. Use salty water if you have buggy greens, or a teaspoon of bleach per gallon if there might be foodborne pathogens (e. coli, Salmonella, etc). I like to do three rinses, or four if they are particularly dirty. Cut greens into smaller pieces if desired. I like to use 2″ lengths when I chop them, or you can chiffonade them.

2. Bring a large pot (pasta pot, stock pot) of water (filled to about 2/3) to a roiling boil.

3. Prepare a large bowl of cold water. Add ice.

4. Drop about 1 lb of greens (1 lb = 1 bunch about 3″ in diameter on the stem end) in the water. Submerge, and clap the lid. Bring to a boil, about 1 minute, and remove the greens with a strainer. Immerse in the cold water, swish, and remove to a cooling rack or a dishtowel, pictured below.

Lacinato kale (black tuscan kale), 8 lbs, ready to pack into freezer bags

5. Allow greens to drain, and pack into freezer bags or into jars (loosely). Seal the bags, removing air, or the jars.

6. Place in freezer.

7. Defrost and eat!


– freeze in amounts you will use, i.e. pints or quarts
– have plenty of dry dishtowels available
– the greens should turn bright green in the pot but don’t let them turn olive green
– it’s okay if a stray catepillar makes it into the pot. just fish it out.
– drier greens are easier to work with when defrosted