Collard greens might seem tough to store, but there is a great way to condense the greens so that you can store them for longer while also saving space. Cooked collard greens can be frozen, right? Yes, collard greens can be frozen for up to 6–8 months, and with good care, they can even be maintained for up to a year. Cook the veggies in hot water for a few minutes, then drain them and package them in freezer-safe containers after allowing the cooked collard greens to cool. Learn how to correctly prepare and cook collard greens, as well as other helpful tips and tricks, by reading the information below!
How To Blanch Collard Greens
Collard greens are a cool-season crop that can be found all year. Many people believe that because the crop can tolerate external frost during the cooler months, it will also freeze well in the kitchen — but this is mainly false! Even while collard greens can withstand frost and grow in cooler temperatures, there are limits to how much the plant can withstand in terms of freezing temperatures and time.
Furthermore, most plants will require preliminary processing before being frozen. Dry leaves cannot be stored and expected to freeze nicely! The texture and flavor of the leaves will be lost if they are frozen directly. As they thaw, they will crumble and become unfit for cooking. This is why we must first boil, or rather blanch, the greens!
To blanch collard greens, follow these steps:
Clean the collard greens thoroughly to remove any debris or dirt. For a better cooking experience, we recommend rinsing them at least twice.
Once washed, place them on a dry cloth to dry. Do not use a paper towel to press down on them. You are not required to dry them!
Bring a big pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season the pot with nothing, including oil or flavorings.
When the water is boiling, add the leaves in stages. Alternatively, you can add a handful at a time. Cook each batch of collard greens for about 2-3 minutes, then remove them and drain the excess moisture on a dry paper towel.
Repeat for the remaining collard greens until all of the leaves have been fully blanched!
How To Freeze Blanched Collard Greens
You can use one of two typical techniques to store the blanched collard greens in the freezer:
Containers using Airtight Ziploc Bags
The collard greens can stay fresh at 0°F for up to three months under ideal circumstances. The collard greens will keep for the same amount of time using either approach!
1. Ziploc Bag Method
People with little storage space will benefit from the Ziploc approach. The advantage of this method is that the leaves may be neatly stacked and even softly compressed to fit more packs over each other! The problem here is that excessively compressing the greens may alter their texture once they defrost. We recommend freezing the greens in 2-3 heaps for the greatest results — this way, the bottom bag won’t take on as much strain.
Here are some comprehensive instructions for storing washed collard greens in a Ziploc bag: Transfer the greens to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Fill the sack with as much as you can comfortably fit inside. Please do not overfill the bag!
Seal the bag, but leave a little portion of the opening exposed to allow extra air to escape.
Gently nudge the bag from the top corners so that the leaves can fill any gaps.
Once the leaves have accumulated at the bottom, place the bag on a level surface and push up on the empty area slightly above the leaves. This procedure will get rid of any excess air in the bag.
Seal the bag completely, and then repeat with other bags until all of the blanched greens have been stored.
Label the bags with the date of storage and place them in 2-3 layers (or as required).
Store the bags towards the back of the freezer to protect the collard greens from temperature fluctuations.
2. Airtight Container Method
Although they may take up more room, airtight containers will prevent freezer pressure from being too great on the collard greens. The following describes how to separate and store collard greens in airtight containers: Transfer the cooked greens to suitable airtight containers of the desired size. Verify the safety of the containers in the freezer.
To fit all the greens, tightly pack the containers. You’ll employ the same method as before! To guarantee that there is no trapped air inside the pieces, pack the leaves tightly. Once full, tighten the top and write the current date on the containers. For the remaining greens, repeat the previous step. After putting all of the collard greens in containers, put them in the freezer’s back.
Tips And Tricks For Freezing Collard Greens
When freezing collard greens, it is helpful to plan the portions ahead of time. You won’t have to deal with waste this way, and you’ll know precisely how much you’ll get after blanching them. While properly stored collard greens seldom go bad, you should nevertheless check the quality and freshness of the frozen leaves to verify that they haven’t rotted.
When collard greens are stored incorrectly, they can develop a mushy texture and a stale flavor. This usually means that there is an issue with your freezer. It can also occur if the leaves are not preserved in an airtight container.
Collard greens are susceptible to freezer damage! There is no way to save the veggie when this happens. To avoid freezer burn, always eliminate extra moisture and air before storing the leafy green. For an even better experience, we recommend utilizing a no-frost freezer.
To minimize space, chop the collard greens with a knife or scissors. You can do this before blanching the vegetables or after cooking them.
How To Thaw Collard Greens
The thawing process for cooked and frozen collard greens usually takes 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the method you choose.
Here are the ideal methods for defrosting collard greens:
Pan Method for Defrosting a Refrigerator
1. Microwave Method
The microwave method is the simplest and works best if the collard greens are frozen in an airtight container. Please double-check that the storage container is microwave-safe before proceeding. Simply remove the lid and place the microwave on the defrost setting to defrost. Simply remove the leaves from the Ziploc bag and place them on a microwave-safe plate to heat.
Check for doneness after defrosting the collard greens for about 2-3 minutes. Continue to add for 2 minutes, or until the leaves are thoroughly defrosted. Then just use them as needed!
2. Fridge Defrosting Method
This method is ideal for folks who aren’t in a hurry to cook — and it is arguably the finest method for retaining the flavor and texture of the leaves! Simply move the bag or container from the freezer and keep it in the fridge. The leaves will defrost naturally overnight and you should have perfectly fresh collard greens after 12–24 hours.
3. Pan Method
People who want to save time can use this method to simply cook the leaves. For this technique, preheat a pan, add some water, and wait until the water boils. Directly add the frozen leaves to the pan and cook for a few minutes. To encourage steam, you can also cover them with a lid. Use a spoon to occasionally stir the leaves; once they have defrosted, you can cook them as usual.
How Long Collard Greens Last In The Fridge
Cooked collard greens will keep for 3-4 days or up to a week if stored properly. Cooked leaves can be stored in Ziploc bags or other airtight containers. For the best flavor, cooked leaves should be consumed within 1-2 days. If you are storing collard green for more than 5 days, we strongly advise you to inspect the texture and look for signs of spoilage before eating them.
Fresh collard greens are much easier to store and don’t require much planning ahead of time. Simply transfer the leaves to a dry container or Ziploc bag and store them at 40°F in the back of the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Before storing the leaves in the fridge, do not rinse them!
Now that you know how to freeze blanched collard greens, here are some related questions!
Can you add salt to collard greens as they cook?
No, you should not season the collard greens as they blanch or when you store them — the salt will affect their texture and may also alter their flavor once they thaw.
Can you refreeze collard greens?
No, once the collard greens are defrosted, you should consume them right away. Avoid refreezing the leaves to prevent them from spoiling!