How To Freeze Dry Kale

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Freeze Dried Vegetables

As adults, we love kale for a number of reasons. It’s packed with nutrients like protein, calcium, iron, fiber, and other vitamins. It’s great to add to your “keep me healthy” diet because it’s rich in antioxidants and has more vitamin C than any other green leafy veggie.

We love the bitter, peppery taste and the crunchy texture it has when it’s raw. But for our kids? They want nothing to do with it, and we can’t blame them. Their taste buds are too sensitive to appreciate the flavor. So what we do is we freeze-dry the vegetable and grind them to a fine powder to add to our soups and sauces.

When you’re freeze-drying kale, you can use any that you want. What we used here is store-bought Kale, but if you’re growing them in your garden that would be awesome. We forgot to measure, but if our guess is correct, this is roughly 2 lbs. of leaf. You’ll see that we got the curly leaf variety, which is the most common type of kale.

Just like with freeze-drying spinach, we didn’t use parchment paper on this. Kale doesn’t have much sugar so it’s not going to stick

Preparing For Freeze Drying

Wash the kale thoroughly to take out all the bits of soil and sand. Then take out the thick stems and cut the leaves, about 2-3 inches. Once you get the size you want, use the salads spinner to take out any excess water.

Do I Need To Pre-Freeze Kale Before Freeze Drying?

When we freeze-dried ours, we didn’t pre-freeze the leaves because we didn’t have enough time. Also, leaves don’t have that much water content, so it’s not necessary. Usually, we pre-freeze food that has a thick membrane and water content to shorten the process. But since kale has little protein and water content, you won’t affect the freeze drying time too much if you don’t pre-freeze.

How To Freeze Dry Kale

Here, we’re going to freeze dry kale in two batches. One is for sneaking the vegetable into our kid’s food, and the other is for us adults to snack on.

Kale Leaves (For The Kids)

  • Prepare your freeze dryer using the standard settings. This will cool your freeze dryer and get it ready for your vegetable.
  • Put the kale on the trays. They can overflow a bit because they won’t expand or stick together.
  • If you’re freeze-drying dinosaur kale and want big pieces of leaves, lay them on the tray in a single layer. This way, they process evenly.
  • Close the freeze dryer valve and put in the kale trays.
  • Close the chamber, press “continue”, and let the freeze dryer do its work.

loading kale inside freeze dryer

Kale Chips

  • Prepare your freeze-dryer as usual.
  • Pour the kale into a bowl and drizzle a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Add1 tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning a little bit at a time. Rub in the dressing and mix the leaves as you slowly add the lemon pepper seasoning.
  • Put the kale in the freeze-dryer tray.
  • Close the freeze dryer valve and put in the tray.
  • Close the chamber, and it’s all up to the freeze dryer from this point on.

How Do I Know That They’re Done?

The colors aren’t going to change much compared to dehydrated kale. You’ll notice that the leaves will give you that crispy, crunchy texture. They’ll give you this ASMR sound when you touch them, like walking on a pile of dry leaves.

Rarely does this happen, but if you touch the leaves and notice some cold, wet, and soft parts? Put them back in the freeze dryer and extend the drying time.

How Does It Taste Like

Freeze drying intensifies the earthy, peppery, bitter flavor. What your freeze-dried kale would taste like will depend on the variety of kale you use.

Amazingly enough, the flavors mellow into something sweeter when you cook it. Cooking takes out the “dirt” flavor that kids hate. The freeze-dried kale absorbs the flavor of the food you’re cooking it with, so it’s easy to sneak into food. Unless your kids have ultra hypersensitive taste buds, they won’t know the difference.

As for the kale chips, they got quite a kick to it. The lemon seasoning really brought out the flavor of the vegetable.

freeze dried kale

How Do I Use Freeze Dried Kale?

You can buzz the freeze-dried kale into your food processor and use it in different ways! For example, you can add it to your soups and sauces for that extra yet subtle mellow bite. Or you can add them to your smoothies for a power-up drink.

The leaves are also perfect for salads. At first they’re going to be crunchy like croutons for that appetizing layer of texture. Then they slowly rehydrate into something soft and chewy that has deliciously absorbed the flavors of your dressing.

How Do I Store Freeze-Dried Kale?

Storing is easy and can easily depend on how often you’re going to use your processed kale.

If you’re going to use it every now and then, you can store it in air-tight containers. Lock & Lock, Tupperware containers are okay, just watch for a bit of staining. Glass mason jars are much better because the won’t get that green tinge from the leaves. You also get to see if the vegetable’s good to use or not when you’ve been using it for a while. If you’re going to use Mason jars, it’s highly recommended that you vacuum seal them if you’re not going to use freeze-dried kale for weeks.

Now, if you want to store it for the long term, put the kale inside Mylar bags. They keep out air and moisture like a champ. Properly sealed, it can help keep your kale good to eat for 25+ years.

Whatever method you choose, you should always put in an oxygen absorber. This will help keep the kale from oxidizing and maintain its freshness. Also, store your vegetables in a cool, dry and dark place. The temperature should also be less than 72°F (22°C). Others say 70°F (21°C) is better to be on the safer side.

Have you ever tried freeze-drying kale? How was it, and what do you love using it for? Let us know in the comment section.

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