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How to Blanch Greens Today for Good Meals All Year

Right about now, you may be less than thrilled by the bounty of cooking greens available. Like spinach, chard, kale, beet greens, collard greens, amaranth, arugula and mustards, including mizuna and tatsoi.

And so, maybe the greens in your CSA box get neglected in the vegetable drawer.

Or, you walk right past the green bouquets at the farmers’ market on the lookout for summer squash, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant and corn.

But back up a minute and consider this: every batch of greens you blanch and then freeze today, becomes a head start on a meal based on homegrown greens in late fall and winter.

How to blanch greens and recipes at lynnecurry.com.

So, here’s a quick how to that’s simple enough to fit into a summer day. And I’m sharing 5 of my favorite ideas for using blanched greens with recipes you can make all year round.

How to Blanch Greens

Every year, I make a point of blanching and freezing big batches of greens {that includes the tops off of radishes, beets and turnips when fresh}. And if I notice any bunches of greens about to wilt in my fridge, I quickly blanch and freeze them for later.

Here’s how.

During a non-meal time, I set up my kitchen counter assembly-style with a cutting board and put on a big pot of water to boil. And I make sure I have a supply of gallon-sized freezer bags on hand.

Follow the recipe if you haven’t blanched vegetables before. For equipment, you only need a large pot, 2 big bowls, a strainer and this hand-held strainer called a spider.

How to blanch greens and recipes at lynnecurry.com.
This hand-held strainer called a spider is a very useful tool for blanching.

Of, if you’re an experienced blancher, skip on to these 5 recipes for ideas on how to put this technique to work for you today. You can store blanched greens in the refrigerator for three days or portion them in freezer bags.

You’ll be especially grateful come fall, and even more so in February, when you have a stash of good greens ready to go in your freezer to use within six months, ideally.

Blanched greens yields:

Here’s a good guide for fresh-to-blanched greens quantities I clipped from Martha Stewart. You’ll get 2 cups blanched cooked greens from these types of greens:

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach
  • 1 pound kale
  • 1 pound Swiss chard
  • 1 pound collard greens

These photos are of a baby spinach and kale mix, but remember that you can blanch any type of green at all to use in the recipes below.

And it’s pretty much the same technique for other vegetables, including green beans and asparagus. You just adjust increase the blanching time by a minute or so.

How to blanch greens and recipes at lynnecurry.com.
Four cups of lightly packed fresh baby spinach and kale before blanching.
How to blanch greens and recipes at lynnecurry.com.
After blanching and squeezing dry the baby spinach and kale yields about 1 cup.

5 Ways to Use Blanched Greens

Blanch your greens and you’re a giant step ahead making meals like these Forage favorites.

1. Green Butter

Rounds of nettle butter for accompanying wild grilled salmon--recipe at lynnecurry.com.
Blanch wild greens, like nettles, or other herbs to make a flavorful butter for grilled meats and fish.

2. Stovetop Frittata

mushroom frittata with microgreens overhead
Add blanched greens into any frittata or scramble for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

3. Mushroom Barley Ragout

A recipe for mushroom-barley ragout with or without wild mushrooms at lynnecurry.com.
Stir blanched greens into cooked grains, like rice or quinoa, for an easy vegetarian main dish.

4. Deep-dish Savory Pie

A savory pie with greens and feta at lynnecurry.com.
Use a pile of blanched greens to make this filo pie with feta to feed a crowd.

5. Sausage Gravy

overhead of a plate of spinach sausage gravy and cup of coffee at lynnecurry.com.
Lighten up classics like this sausage gravy with a dose of blanched greens.

If you’re anything like me, you cannot get enough greens. And with this strategy, you’ll be fully stocked with the best blanched greens for months to come.

How will you put to use your batch of blanched greens? Let me know what you’re making in the comments below or tag a photo #lynnesforage on Instagram or Facebook.

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Blanched Greens for Now & Later

This method is for blanching cooking greens, such as spinach, chard, kale, beet greens, collard greens, amaranth, arugula and mustards, including mizuna and tatsoi or wild greens, such as dandelion and nettles and leafy herbs, such as parsley and basil. Use them in egg dishes, grain dishes and bowls, stuffings, sauces, soups and butters. You can use them within three days or store in freezer bags in the refrigerator for six months.

Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword blanched greens
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 7 minutes
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (about 2 bunches) greens, washed and roughly chopped
  • fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Bring a large, salted pot of water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water; put a strainer into another large bowl and have a spider or other hand-held kitchen strainer on hand.

  2. When the water boils, plunge about half of the greens into the water and cook until they wilt and turn bright green, about 1 minutes. Use the spider to lift the greens from the water and transfer them into the ice water to stop the cooking.

  3. When the water returns to a boil, add the remaining greens and cook until wilted. Transfer them into the ice water bath to cool briefly.

  4. Transfer the greens from the ice water into the strainer and drain well, using the the spider to press out as much water as you can. Cool to room temperature.

  5. The greens are ready to use, or for longer storage, portion them into quart-sized freezer bags with a date and a label. Press the bags flat for best storage and stack in the freezer.

Recipe Notes

The quantity of greens listed here is for reference only. The cooked yield will vary somewhat based on the type of greens..

You can blanch any quantity of greens in batches and use them and store them in any quantity depending on your preferred use.

 

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