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How to Store Fresh Greens and Enjoy Them All Year Long
HOW TO STORE FRESH GREENS AND ENJOY THEM ALL YEAR LONG.
The summer harvests provide us with a bounty of fresh vegetables that we can prepare, freeze or can to allow us to enjoy them all year long. We love all types of greens: collards, kale, mustard, swiss chard or turnips. They each are great individually prepared or in combinations. The southern style of cooking them takes hours and involves pork products for flavoring. There are ways to speed up the cooking time and if you use smoked turkey, liquid smoke, or intensive seasoning you can eat a healthier dish that’s lower in salt and cholesterol. Purchasing greens in the summer and fall when they are less expensive and freezing them allows you to eat them in the winter when they are less abundant more expensive.
Traditionally a week or two before Thanksgiving my girlfriends and I pool our funds together and purchase greens by the case to allow us to have them through our biggest holiday celebrations. Greens are a staple at most of our Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter family holiday feasts. Purchasing them by the case and cleaning them and putting them up prepared to be cooked saves alot of time and reduces our joint expenses. We buy at a local farm in Upstate NY. Hoeffners Farm is located at 405 Goodwill Road Montgomery, NY 12549. A case of greens is about $8-$9 dollars and the 6 cases we bought (2 collards, 2 mustard, 1 turnip and 1 kale) filled up two large black contractor bags.
We divided the cost between the three of us and we ended up with at least 6 two gallon bags a piece. We spent around 4-6 hours washing and prepping them to be bagged and frozen. We did not process the ones we would be using two weeks later for Thanksgiving. We had 4 extra unprocessed two gallon bags and those we later cooked for Christmas. They were fine just washed, cut and frozen. But if you want to keep your greens for a longer period of time then we recommend that you process them before freezing them.
Purchase 5 bundles of your favorite greens. We bought (2) collards, kale, mustard and turnips to make this recipe. Wash them in two cool water baths with 1 tablespoon of baking soda or salt in the first bath. Making sure to thoroughly rinse all of the leaves to insure there are no bugs or dirt. Rinse them a second time in clear water before removing about 75% of the thickest center stems.
If you have purchased turnip greens you need to cut the turnip tops off if they are attached. If they are waxed you can store them with your potatoes in a cool and dark place. If they aren’t waxed you need to store them in the refrigerator. Read my recipe on “How to prepare turnips southern style” a popular family recipe.
Fill a stock pot or dutch oven ¾ with water and bring to a rolling boil. Have gallon or two gallon plastic freezer bags ready to be filled with the vegetables after they have been processed. Use the size bags that will provide you with the amount you need to feed your family at one meal. If you have a large family then fill the bag with half of what you need to prepare a meal and use two bags.
Bunch the greens together and chop them into smaller pieces. Using a timer place the chopped greens in the pot for 5-10 minutes to “blanch” or parboil them. Remove the greens from the pot and place them on paper to drain or in a colander. Once they have cooled off place meal portion amounts in the plastic freezer bags you have labeled and dated with a permanent marker. Store the bags in the deep freezer. You can mix the greens together in a single bag or you can use two are three different bags when you cook them. They will keep until the next summer season.
You can also cook the greens completely and then freeze them for faster cooking. But greens need to be cooked less to retain some of their nutrients. When you have grown up eating greens that have been cooked for hours it can be difficult to adjust your palate to eating them steamed. They taste very different when they are cooked for a shorter period of time but they are more nutritious. Read my hub “How to Cook Collards and other Greens.” I have provided a standard southern recipe then I updated it. There is also a meatless recipe for vegetarians. You might also enjoy my 4th of July Vegan Stirfry or my How to prepare dry beans recipes.
Please read my hubs as I continue my journey to complete the 30 hubs in 30 days Challenge. I am working on improving the quality of my writing. I welcome your honest criticism and your support. Dee