Freezing spring greens is one of the best ways to make use of a glut or to save any amount that would otherwise go to waste. Freezing spring greens in the way I describe below means they can take very little time to thaw and can be added straight to sauces, stews and other dishes frozen and will heat up in a matter of minutes.
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Preserving Spring Greens In Season
As the name suggests spring greens have a limited season so to capture that and preserve it stretches out the season for longer.
Spring greens are young and tender cabbage heads from the family Brassica oleracea which includes most of the types of cabbage, kale and broccoli you can buy at the store.
Spring greens have loose heads of leaves compared to other types of cabbages and don’t have a hard centre core. They are the first cabbage to come into season and have a softer and sweeter flavour than other cabbages.
The great thing about freezing spring greens rather than other methods of preserving is the flavour is completely natural. Once added to a meal there is no difference between fresh and frozen spring greens.
Blanching Spring Greens Before Freezing
By blanching the spring greens before freezing the leaves retain their texture and colour and doing that little bit of prep, to begin with, means they can be used straight from the freezer.
Blanching spring greens just takes 3 – 4 minutes until they are just tender, they can then be lifted out of the boiling water and refreshed in cold water so they retain their colour and nutrients.
Can I Freeze Spring Greens Without Cooking?
It is much better to blanch spring greens before freezing. Freezing raw green leafy vegetables changes their texture and they become rubbery, floppy and discoloured, just not very good.
I have seen suggestions online that say you can but if you freeze raw green, leafy vegetables then they lose colour, nutrients and the texture that are the whole thing we are trying to preserve in the first place.
Cutting Down The Bulk
Heads of spring greens are fairly large and the leaves can be quite big so I like to first cook them and then give them a blitz in the food processor.
You don’t have to do this but I find processing them in this way makes it really easy to portion out the spring green using a cake or muffin tin. The whole thing gets put into the freezer and once solid you can lift out the spring green portions and put them into a freezer bag.
Freezing Spring Greens
Here is how I freeze spring greens:
Trim the leaves from the base and trim any damaged leaves, give everything a quick rinse.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the spring greens. I also throw in a clove of garlic into the water which will be processed with the spring greens in the food processor. Blanche for 3 – 5 minutes until the leaves are just cooked.
Remove the spring greens from the boiling water and immerse into cold water to stop the cooking. This keeps the leaves really green and vibrant. Once cooled take out of the water and drain thoroughly. Pat dry with a kitchen towel to remove as much water as possible.
Throw the spring greens into a food processor with the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and add a good glug of olive oil which will coat the spring greens and prevent oxidation in the freezer.
Blitz and then portion into a muffin tin. Place into the freezer until everything is solid.
Once frozen remove the spring greens and place into an airtight bag or container. The spring greens can then be used as and when needed and take just a moment to warm in whatever you are adding them to.