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Canning kale, bok choy and cabbage

 
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I've seen all the options for greens that involve the fridge, freezer or drying. I'm going to have a ton of greens in a couple months and I'd like some shelf stable options.
So far all I can find is just plain pressure canned greens. Just water and maybe a pinch of salt. But I don't want to make up a bunch of flavorless green mush that we'll never eat.
I've scoured the internet the last few days and come up mostly empty save a recipe for pickled kale stems. It's either ferment and use quickly or can with water.
Am I missing a shelf stable option here?
 
pollinator
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A ferment will keep 6-12 months at basement temps.
 
Amanda Heigel
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Unfortunately were in a manufactured home with no basement and very little living space. I wish we had a root cellar.
 
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Here's what may be a crazy suggestion, could you pressure can kale in full recipes? Think layering it with tomatoes, pasta, and cheese for premade lasagna; wrapping the cabbage around cooked meats/cheese/mushrooms and canning them in sauce for cabbage rolles, sorry I don't know any bok choy recipes. I think if you choose the canning instructions for the most perilous ingredient that would open up a whole host of options.
 
R Scott
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Amanda Heigel wrote:Unfortunately were in a manufactured home with no basement and very little living space. I wish we had a root cellar.



On land or a park? If on your own land, there are lots of options for a cool spot on the north side of a building, shaded trees, creek, our place to put a simple buried barrel root cellar.
 
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I was given 2 large garbage bags full of kale and i was so grateful to the man and his wife in Indiana. We drove for over 3 1/2 hours to his place. We pulled up in my old white pick up chev truck and feared he might be afraid of us. Im 74 and cant walk very good after hip replacement. While talking i found out many nice things about them. I guess he felt at ease with us cause he also gave us a lot of much appreciated freezer stuff too. Long story short when i got home we washed the kale and cleaned it. We cut off the stems and canned them separate for stew and soup. Pressure canning made them soft enough. The rest i put in pint jars. Some with onions and some with mushrooms and some with 1 teaspoon per jar of chicken or beef broth powder.  The powder made it very good and i used the juice in the jar for cooking rice or added to instant potatoes. The greens were not mushy. I didn't add salt because my diet restricts salt.  Use your imagination and can like you eat them. The ones with bell peppers were overpowering so i will not do those again. I also put dandelion greens in some. Lol my husband said he only likes collards but now he eats them all. I even have been known to put some with tomatoes in my lasagna. Lol good luck and good canning. I par boiled them also just to wilt them before putting them in jars.
 
pollinator
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Great info, Latisha!  Welcome to Permies.
 
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Bumping this post back up...
Cabbage moths have wreaked havoc on my kale, I didn't pull it out, as I'm hoping when it gets colder I'll get more growth without moths. In the meantime they look terrible, just bare stems left...

I have a pressure canner, am debating canning up a bunch of stems. Anyone ever done this? Good idea, bad? I have some veg broth powder that I make that I'd probably put in it for seasoning.

Haven't looked at a stem, if the moth caterpillars ate the leaves, are the stems still ok? (Guess I need to cut one and check)

:D
 
Pearl Sutton
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Update on my kale stems...
Currently in a water bath canner, is kale stems (cut to about an inch long,) beet stems (also about an inch) and daikon radish leaves and stems (cut to less than 1/4 inch) in a basic garlic dill pickle vinegar brine. Sounds to me like the radishes will add good heat to it all (I like red chile in my pickles, didn't add them to this.) In a couple of months I'll find out if it was a good idea or not.
And I'm pretty sure I got all the cabbage moth worms off it all! I checked it all several times.

:D
 
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I know this is an old post, but, I’d dehydrate the kale and store it in vacuumed jars. That’d be the most shelf stable. If you leave it in ‘leaf’ form then you can add as you like into soups/stews.  IF you want to boost your smoothies, you can powder it and add it as green power.

You can blanch and freeze it but I have always disliked the constancy of it when thawed. Someone had mentioned pressure canning in in a recipe and that’s all good but they mentioned putting in pasta (?) don’t ever pressure can pasta or rice. Put in all other ingredients that are safe for pressure canning and just add in the not safe items when you open the jar to eat it.

Take care

Amanda Heigel wrote:I've seen all the options for greens that involve the fridge, freezer or drying. I'm going to have a ton of greens in a couple months and I'd like some shelf stable options.
So far all I can find is just plain pressure canned greens. Just water and maybe a pinch of salt. But I don't want to make up a bunch of flavorless green mush that we'll never eat.
I've scoured the internet the last few days and come up mostly empty save a recipe for pickled kale stems. It's either ferment and use quickly or can with water.
Am I missing a shelf stable option here?

 
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One of my neighbors does waterbath canning on lactofermented cabbage, which turns it into a shelf-stable food,

 
Pearl Sutton
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:One of my neighbors does waterbath canning on lactofermented cabbage, which turns it into a shelf-stable food,


Does it? I was told I had to keep it in the fridge, I have one section of the fridge full of ferments. I'd LOVE to be able to get them on the shelf.
 
Rosa Mio Gardino
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:One of my neighbors does waterbath canning on lactofermented cabbage, which turns it into a shelf-stable food,


Does it? I was told I had to keep it in the fridge, I have one section of the fridge full of ferments. I'd LOVE to be able to get them on the shelf.



I have yet to have a lactoferment turn out well, and yes I have followed instructions to the letter. I’ll keep trying...like the crazy person that I am.

I used a refrigerator pickle method on korabi and it worked beautifully so I wonder if it’d work on cabbage too 🤔
 
Pearl Sutton
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My ferments turn out well, (I don't follow instructions! I'm like that :D) I'd love to seal them safely, if it can be done.  I have a pressure canner, and a lid for it to use it as a water bath canner.
 
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Water bath canning of fermented foods does work if the acid and salt levels are within the safe range, which they should be. I add a little extra rice vinegar just in case the fermentation hasn't produced enough acid.

The main downside to heating up your fermented foods is that you will kill all the probiotic bacteria that would have gone into your gut to live a happy life. And the texture of the vegetables is changed due to heating. If that's what you need to do for space saving, it's still good food.
 
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You can dry kale, it’s good for soups and sauces but it’s not attractive. There are Kales that are very hardy. We grow it year round though the aphids win the battle some winter.

You can also dry these treats: I “let it dry completely after It’s washed and then smear the leaves with an oily nut butter. Currently that sesame butter and sprinkle with (lots of) salt and seasonings- Kevin likes hippy dust and smoked paprika. I roll it, smash it and sometimes cut it into palm size chunks, then flatten it out so it fits into the food drier. It’s dohe when it’s dry over done if it turns to dust when you touch it. It keeps, but we early it faster than I can make it.
image.jpg
kale treats
kale treats
Staff note :

Hippy dust is nutritional yeast

 
gardener
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Pearl Sutton wrote:My ferments turn out well, (I don't follow instructions! I'm like that :D) I'd love to seal them safely, if it can be done.  I have a pressure canner, and a lid for it to use it as a water bath canner.



If you're fermenting for gut health, canning will kill off the beneficial bacteria. Uncanned, but kept in the fridge or another cool, dark spot, fermented foods usually keep longer, anyway...
 
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Rosa Mio Gardino wrote:
I have yet to have a lactoferment turn out well, and yes I have followed instructions to the letter. I’ll keep trying...🤔


Do keep trying, Rosa, I was that person for quite a while, every lactoferment turned to stinky ick (don't get me started on the 20+ times I tried making vegelac..... and failed!), now I am the proud parent to many, many ferments of all kinds and the one everyone calls when they have having problems with the pickles, kombucha, kimchi, etc. It'll work out before you know it!
 
Carla Burke
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Rosa Mio Gardino wrote:
I have yet to have a lactoferment turn out well, and yes I have followed instructions to the letter. I’ll keep trying...🤔


Do keep trying, Rosa, I was that person for quite a while, every lactoferment turned to stinky ick (don't get me started on the 20+ times I tried making vegelac..... and failed!), now I am the proud parent to many, many ferments of all kinds and the one everyone calls when they have having problems with the pickles, kombucha, kimchi, etc. It'll work out before you know it!



I've heard that sometimes, especially in a newer, more airtight home that is very well maintained and very clean, there can actually be such a low level of bacteria in the air as to make fermentation extremely difficult even for sourdough, which is probably the easiest fermentation I've ever done, besides milk kefir.
 
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Devil's advocate here, for pressure canning fresh kale and collards. Last night I opened 3 jars: Canned kale, Canned potatoes, and Canned beans (Flageolets, from Rancho Gordo).  Everything went in the pot, including the juices. Since this devil loves dairy, I added a quarter cup of whole milk and a bit of grated cheddar cheese.  10 minutes on the stove top and I had a creamy, rich and deeply flavorful soup.  It was WORK to can those greens when they were hours old in April.  Greens are labor intensive, and require a surprisingly long time under pressure.  Don't let that deter you. Canned greens are a worthwhile product to have on your shelves - and on your table.  
 
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I've been freezing my kale in portion sized plastic take-away-food containers.

The steps I follow are: pick kale, wash to remove bugs, blanch in saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute, let cool slightly before squeezing out excess water with my hands, chop roughly with large sharp knife, pack firmly into containers and freeze.

I've found that freezing smaller portions works better for us, e.g. one container is enough for one family meal of pasta as opposed to opening a big bag of frozen kale and having to chip off a portion for the meal or defrosting the whole bag and feeling like I need to use up the whole lot that week.

In related terms, I have been pondering what greens-based meals I could cook and freeze to use up gluts of kale and silverbeet. I'm sure there are some delicious European peasant dishes out in the internet that make use of the excess. Curious to know if others have any freezable greens recipes they've tried?
 
Pearl Sutton
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C Muzz:
Welcome to permies! An excellent first post!

We make what we call Pucks out of greens, pureeing them or chopping finely, and freezing them in muffin tins of asst sizes. When frozen, the pucks are taken out of the tins and stacked neatly in labeled ziplock bags and put back in the freezer. When we make the smoothie/shake things that we do, we just grab a frozen puck of greens and toss it in the blender with the other ingredients. If it's something we want lightly cooked toss a puck into a pan with a bit of water and a lid, then pour it into the blender when it is just starting to boil.

I'm thinking of what I make with a lot of greens that freezes well, zucchini lasagna stuff comes to mind... use zucchini instead of noodles, add a lot of greens, cheese, tomato sauce, excess garlic, meat if you want, freeze it. I have a pan that matches some of my plastic freezer containers, I freeze in the pan, turn it out into the container, put it in the freezer for storage. When I want it, turn it out of the freezer thing into the pan again and bake it.

Pesto type stuff freezes well too.

:D
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