It’s a Universal Truth: In life there is a right way to do most things, and a wrong way to do most things. This includes keeping kale. Yep, there is a right way to store kale and other hearty greens such as collards, mustard greens, turnip greens, and others. Why this is important: If you don’t store your kale correctly, it may lose all its nutrient content by the time you use it. That’s if it doesn’t turn into a slimy, smelly, spoiled mess before you’re ready to get cooking. Plus, wasting food is wasting money, right? In this economy, it just doesn’t make sense to pay good money for food that you don’t use.
Fortunately, storing kale and other hearty greens is easy. Here’s what you can do to maintain maximum nutrients while keeping your greens fresh and tasty:
1. Do not wash kale until immediately before using. Because wet greens are more susceptible to mold and sliminess, kale should be as dry as possible before its stashed in the refrigerator. To remove excess moisture, you can pat leaves dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel, spin the leaves in a large salad spinner, or even aim a hair dryer, set on cool, at the leaves.
2. Do not cut or tear kale leaves until you’re ready to eat them. When exposed to oxygen, the cut kale’s vitamins begin evaporating. Fruits and veggies that are cut and stored in the refrigerate lose from 10 to 25 percent of vitamin C and carotenoids within five days. Store leaves whole, removing leaves that discolored, almost-slimy, or are wilted. Everything else should remain intact until you’re ready to cook or shred or juice or do whatever it is you’re going to do with your kale.
3. Store leaves in your refrigerator’s veggie drawer. Dry kale should be placed in a plastic bag or veggie bag and stored in your fridge’s moisture-free veggie drawer. I like to go a step further and wrap my kale leaves, jelly roll style, in a clean kitchen towel before placing them in a veggie storage bag. To do: Lay a clean towel on the kitchen counter. Position kale leaves in a single layer on top of the towel. Choose a short end of the towel and begin rolling the towel and kale in the same way you would a jelly roll (or a Buche de Noel) cake. Place the rolled towel inside a veggie bag or plastic bag and tuck it into the veggie drawer of your fridge.
Bonus Tip: For best taste and texture, as well as the highest nutrient content, store your greens no longer than four or five days. Greens lose nutrients each day they sit around.
Voila! Three easy steps to increasing the nutrient content and freshness of your greens through proper storage. Easy-peasy!