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Frozen Kale Cubes for Smoothies

May 14, 2012

 

Hey, That’s a Great Idea

One afternoon last summer I dropped in on my brother and found a load of kale piled on his kitchen counter. I had mentioned blanching as a way to preserve the harvest. I think he took that to mean that it went for kale as well, because blanch that kale he did.

“Blanching kale?” I snickered. I had only eaten kale fresh and sauteed. But you know what? He was on to something—what a great idea. Even our nutritionist thought so. Kale—in the form of frozen cubes—at the ready for smoothie making? Brilliant.

Happily, I am now never without kale for my smoothies. Morning smoothie making is quick and easy. Into the blender go two to four kale cubes, one lemon juice cube (I use these all the time), berries, milk, chia seed, a little stevia—delish. Here is the recipe. Sometimes I throw some parsley into the mix for even more green goodness—double brilliant.

From what I have read, the loss in nutrients when steaming kale is negligible. Furthermore, steaming is said to make vegetables easier to digest and so I have to wonder if the body is actually able to absorb more of the nutrients in kale when it’s made more digestible. Anyone want to pipe in here? 

A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Kale is a food superstar. Kale has THE most nutrition per calorie of any plant. This member of the cabbage family contains powerful phytochemicals known to fight cancer. It is loaded with calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and bone-building vitamin K. Two cups of kale contain about 4g of protein and 3g of fiber.

An Easy-to-Grow Crop

And for you gardeners, you know that kale is quite easy to grow. Here are a few tips on growing kale. It is a cooler weather crop with a growing season that varies by climate. I like the recommendation of planting 4-5 plants per household member (maybe more). My personal favorite—green curly kale.

A pot of curly kale and parsley ready to be steamed

Frozen Kale and Parsley Cubes

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw | Low (er) Oxalate | Paleo

Ingredients:

Two bunches KALE
One bunch PARSLEY (optional)
WATER to blend

Directions:

  1. Wash and de-rib kale and remove stems from parsley.
  2. Steam kale and parsley 3-5 minutes until limp but still bright green.
  3. Plunge steamed greens into cold water.
  4. Transfer to a high-powered blender and add enough water (I use about 1/2 cup) to blend to a smooth and pourable consistency.
  5. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
  6. Once frozen, transfer to airtight container and keep frozen.
  7. Use within 2 months.

Sources:

1 Wikipedia: Kale

28 comments

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28 comments

Christine R. May 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm

When I quit eating Kale, Chard, other cruciforms raw, my Hypothyroidism reversed. I stick to blanched, wilted at minimum. I've never been a big smoothie person. As a licensed acupuncturist and chiropractor with a background in traditional food therapy, eating lots of cold, raw anything, especially in colder weather is very hard on digestion. Now that it's turning to Summer, I will be eating more cold foods so preserving them via blanching and freezing is a a great way to maintain their color flavor and nutrition.

I was reading up on recipes for Carrot Greens last night. I ddn't know it could be made into pesto, soups, salads or now blanched and frozen to boost the Potassium and Vit K levels of broth/soup base. I knew bout eating Beet, Turnip and even Sweet Potato Greens but not about Carrot or Radish Greens. Until recently, I had never thought to sauteé Cucumbers either!

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Jeanette May 15, 2012 at 2:38 am

What a fantastic idea Lexie – will have to remember this when there is an abundance of kale this summer. I've been voting for you – good luck!

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Emily May 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm

I was wondering if the same process could be applied to spinach and other greens? I think its a brilliant idea and would really speed up my smoothie making!

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Lexie May 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Jeannette. HUG!! xoLexie

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Lexie May 15, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Emily, YES, for sure. Spinach requires maybe only one minute of steaming. It goes super limp real fast. xoLexie

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Laura @ Gluten Free Pantry May 16, 2012 at 3:17 am

Brilliant idea Lexi! I am going to make sure my freezer has some of these kale cubes in it at all times 🙂

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Emily May 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Lexie I took your advice and made these today w/ spinach and they turned out wonderful! And, one minute was plenty on the steaming. I can't wait to add them to my smoothies!

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Lexie May 17, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Emily … ENJOY! And thank you for reporting back. xoLexie

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Trish W July 14, 2012 at 9:04 pm

This is an awesome idea! I now know what to do with all of my extra kale since it's growing faster than we can use it. 🙂 I was wondering, did you ever post the recipe for the morning smoothie that you mentioned?

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Lexie July 15, 2012 at 1:49 am

Trish … so envious that you have an abundance of kale! Okay, I just linked up the Cheery Cherry Detox smoothie. Thanks for pointing that out. xoLexie

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Gail July 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Thanks for posting this. I just bought a ton of kale. Nice to know it can be frozen for later use.

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Christy August 18, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I know this sounds dumb, but I've never done ANYTHING with kale before. What does "de-rab Kale" mean?!?

___________________

Christy, typo 🙂 Thanks for being my eagle eyes. So de-rib (not de-rev) means to take the rib out — the fibrous branchy stick part … to early, at a loss for words. Some people leave it in. Either way. xoLexie

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Christine January 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Typing this as I drink a blended kale and strawberry smoothie 🙂 . I don't mind the little pieces of kale, but the idea of frozen kale cubes is something I am definitely going to try! I'm wondering though…does freezing the kale deplete it of its nutritional value or is it just the same as if I were to add in fresh kale to my smoothies? Thanks!

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Amy February 7, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Does this method help soften the kale? I don't have a Vitamix and my blender doesn't get the greens fine enough for our smoothies. Also, does it intensify the flavor?

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Lexie February 8, 2013 at 2:10 am

Amy, it does break down the fibers a bit which may help an average blender produce a smooth blend. I think it tames the flavor actually 🙂 If your blender can do ice, it should be able to do these cubes. Hope that helps. xoLexie

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Hilda February 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Hi Lexie, found you through Pinterest! For the lemon cubes, do you juice the lemons, peel and all? Thanks for this brilliant idea!

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Lexie February 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Hi Hilda … I bet you certainly could juice the whole fruit with a juicer. Probably would give the juice extra zing. My juicer is a cheap version and juicing 5 lbs might wear the poor thing out. So I roll, slice and juice using a citrus juicer I picked up at Goodwill (almost new for $6!) 🙂 I am a sucker for a bargain. Hope that helps. I will buy a couple of bags of organic lemons and juice them all. That makes about 2 cups of juice and fills 2-3 ice cube trays. xoLexie

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Sophie February 12, 2013 at 3:39 am

I tried making these kale cubes, my son eats kale but we never seem to eat it all before it goes bad so this is a great idea. He has a rare liver disease (PSC) and we think the kale and other veg are good for him.

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Grace February 23, 2013 at 3:44 am

I just found this from Pinterest….this is great!! I wanted to grow tons of kale, but knew we wouldn't be able to eat it all. Now we can!! Thanks SO much for sharing. Kale is great in smoothies and my kids don't even know I put all that green stuff in their. :0)

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Ann March 14, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for the directions for freezing Kale, I added some spinach leaves as well and a little parsley…I also squeeze fresh lemons and freeze the juice for later use…

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Patty April 2, 2013 at 5:15 am

I'm curious……Could a person blend the Kale and freeze without steaming?

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Sasha May 2, 2013 at 3:43 am

So glad I stumbled upon this post. Such a great idea! I recently made spinach/kale cubes for my smoothies and I'm loving them. I didn't steam mine beforehand, because I always put spinach and kale into my smoothies raw. I've posted about my Frozen Greens Cubes here: http://onesmallvegan.com/2013/05/01/frozen-greens-cubes/

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kristen May 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Great post! In the past, I was diagnosed with hypothyroid, lost weight and got my levels in the normal ranage (and am now off the meds) I've been eating tons of raw kale daily since february after purchasing my vitamix. I'm starting to feel sluggish/depressed for no reason/low thyroid again and just discovered it is prob the kale! So sad! Anyways, i'lll definitely be steaming and using your ice cube method from now on.

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Cheryl June 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I started doing this a few months ago with Kale and Spinach. I use raw greens (although I may try steaming next time after reading this, it honestly did not occur to me!) but instead of water I used almond milk to get a little extra protien into my smoothies. Just another option!

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Lexie June 27, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Cheryl … the cubes are so handy aren't they! I've noticed that blanching helps break down some of the fibers and makes the kale more digestible for my little boy and that it removes some of the strong "kale-y" flavor for a milder green smoothie. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
xoLexie

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Emilie April 7, 2014 at 4:05 am

What if you don't steam it first?

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Camylle Elkins October 13, 2015 at 3:57 pm

Would this work with Spinach? Like could I do Kale and Spinach as opposed to parsley?

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Lexie October 13, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Yes, it certainly does 🙂 xoLexie

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