Collard greens are very nutritious, containing good amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, beta-carotene and folate. There are many dishes you can use them in. You can simply stir-fry or braise them or add them to a pasta dish, soup, or stew.
They go well in bean and lentil dishes and are nice if they are spiced up. However, what if you grow them and you have too much to use before they spoil? The answer is simple. You can freeze them, and in this article, we will tell you how to freeze collard greens and how to defrost them.
How To Freeze Collard Greens
1. Choose the collard greens for freezing.
You don’t want to freeze collard greens that have blemishes or damaged stems so pick carefully.
2. Wash the collard greens.
There is a chance that the collard greens will have dirt and even bugs on them, so wash them under cold running water.
3. Chop the collard greens.
4. Blanch the collard greens.
It is important to blanch the collard greens otherwise they will be mushy when they are defrosted. Put a pot of water on to boil. Make sure that there is enough water to cover the collard greens as you want them all to be blanched properly. You may have to do this in batches if you have a lot of collard greens. When the water has reached boiling point, put the collard greens in. You can do this using a metal colander. Allow the collard greens to boil for three minutes and then plunge them into a bowl of ice-cold water. Leave them in cold water for three minutes to stop the cooking process.
5. Drain and dry the collard greens.
You need to ensure that the collard greens are completely dry. If you put them in the freezer while they are still wet, the water will turn to ice and when you defrost the collard greens, they will absorb the moisture and become mushy.
6. Portion and bag up the collard greens.
It is a good idea to portion out the collard greens into meal-size portions so that you only defrost what you need and don’t end up throwing some away. Put them into freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn ruins the taste and texture of food and can even strip it of its nutrients. You can use a straw to suck out the air. To do this, close the bag as much as possible and then put a straw in the corner and suck. Once you have done this, close the bag quickly to prevent air from getting back in. Put labels on the freezer bags with the date so that you remember when you put the collard greens in the freezer. You don’t want to keep them for so long that they start to spoil.
7. Put the bags in the freezer.
Alternatively, you can put the collard greens in airtight containers.
Tips For Freezing Collard Greens
- Squeeze out all the air from the freezer bags to prevent freezer burn or use airtight containers. You don’t want the taste and texture of your collard greens to deteriorate.
- Squeeze out the excess moisture from the collard greens otherwise they will be mushy when you come to defrost them.
- Portion the collard greens into meal-size portions. In this way, you will only defrost as much as you need for one meal.
- To save space in your freezer, pack the collard greens in balls. The size of a tennis ball will work well.
- If you are going to be using other greens in the dish, such as kale or spinach, you can freeze them together.
For How Long Can You Freeze Collard Greens
As long as you blanch your collard greens, they will last in the freezer for around a year. That means you will be able to enjoy them even when they’re out of season. After a year, they may still be safe to eat but the taste and texture will start to deteriorate.
How Do You Defrost Collard Greens?
You can defrost your collard greens in the fridge. Transfer them to a bowl and allow them to defrost for a few hours. However, this does produce a lot of moisture so the collard greens could end up mushy. It is better to add them straight to your dish while they are still frozen.
Can You Refreeze Collard Greens?
No, it isn’t a good idea to refreeze collard greens. The texture changes a little the first time you freeze them so if you refreeze them the texture will change even more, and they will become soggy.
Is It A Good Idea To Freeze Collard Greens
Collard greens are a good item of food to freeze as they keep for a long time in the freezer. You are then able to enjoy them even when you can’t grow them. The texture does change a little with freezing which is why it’s not a good idea to refreeze them. As you will probably be using them in a dish, you won’t really notice any change in texture. However, despite a slight change in texture, collard greens retain all their nutrients as long as you blanch them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hopefully, you know now all there is to know about freezing collard greens but in case you still have questions, we have answered a few here.
Uncooked collard greens last for up to five days in the fridge. However, if you have cooked them, they will only last for about two days. If you want to keep collard greens for longer, you will have to freeze them.
Technically, you can freeze collard greens without blanching them. However, it’s not the best idea. Blanching helps the collard greens retain taste, texture, and nutrients that may be lost if you don’t blanch them. They also might turn out soggy.
It’s not a good idea to freeze cooked collard greens. They are quite delicate and if you have already cooked them before freezing, you risk overcooking them when you come to reheat them. The collard greens will then end up mushy. It is much better to just blanch them before freezing.
The chances are that you will buy collard greens in bags. It is not a good idea to just put these bags straight in the freezer. You need to blanch them first so take them out of the bags and follow the process we have detailed above.
There are plenty of herbs and spices that go well with collard greens including allspice, bay leaves, cardamon, chili pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dill, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, and turmeric.
The good news is that you can rescue them by drizzling one or two tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar over them.