The early greens of summer are coming in fast and furious, leaving me with more than Ken and I can eat in a week’s time. My first two Madison Area Growers CSA veg bags of the season have been brimming with lettuces, kale, radishes and green onions – perfect for crisp green salads. A healthy bunch of garlic scapes joined the mix this week. A fun veg, but not one we consume a lot of. Let me share with you how I manage my extra kale, green onions and garlic scapes to last all season and beyond.
Let’s be frank. Green is not Ken’s color, and for him, a little goes a very long way. He’ll go along with an infrequent side salad of lettuces, but raw kale is not his friend. I ocasionally manage to sneak some kale into quiches and soups by blanching and freezing my surplus kale bounty. A huge bunch of fresh kale shrinks into a small freezer bag to tuck away and have at the ready. Here’s my process.
- Wash and strip kale, tearing leaves in half
- Fill a large kettle with water, add a tablespoon of salt. Cover and bring to a boil.
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside
- Line a sheet pan with towel and set aside
- When kettle is boiling, remove lid and add kale. Boil for two minutes, using the strainer to make sure kale is submerged
- Using the strainer, remove kale from the kettle and transfer to a large bowl of ice & water
- When blanched kale is cool, remove with strainer and squeeze the water out. Separate kale and spread onto towel lined pan. Set aside to dry.
- When kale is dry, place pan in the freezer.
- When kale is frozen solid, remove from the pan and put into a labeled and dated zip freezer bag. Store in the freezer.
I love green onions – I just can’t eat them fast enough when I have a big fresh bunch every week! I like to use them – finely chopped or sliced and sautéed in a bit of oil or butter – when I make a quiche because they’re much milder than their larger cousins. I keep a variety of quiche slices in the freezer for a quick breakfast or brunch. Additionally, I keep a bag of loose sliced green onions in the freezer to have on hand. Here’s what I do & it couldn’t be simpler.
Sliced Green Onions for the Freezer
- Thinly slice green onions
- Spread on sheet pan lined with parchment or waxed paper
- Place pan in the freezer until onion slices are frozen solid
- Label & date a zip freezer bag and fill with frozen onions
- Store in the freezer and use small amounts as needed!
Garlic scapes are an uncommon treat that you probably won’t find at your grocery store. If you like the flavor of garlic and don’t subscribe to a CSA program, look for them at your farmers market. The scape is the curly green top & blossom of the growing garlic bulb that are removed in spring or early summer. They make a flavorful pesto, but I also like to take advantage of their flavor in garlic scape butter – a perfect topper for a juicy grilled steak! Here’s the simple recipe I use that freezes well.
Garlic Scape Butter
- 1 pound Salted butter, softened
- 1 cup Finely chopped garlic scapes
- 3 Tbs Olive oil
- Cut garlic scapes into short pieces, then finely chop in the bowl of a food processor
- Add butter and olive oil to food processor and blend
- Place 1/4 of prepared butter on a sheet of waxed paper or parchment and roll into a log
- Chill in refrigerator until firm
- Label and date a zip freezer bag, add butter logs and freeze
I’m lucky to have an upright freezer in the pantry and the freezer of a second frig in the garage. Without them I’d be hard pressed to make good use of my surplus veggies and be able to take advantage of special sales at the store. I do a lot of canning in the summer months, but “fresh from the freezer” is my favorite way to make the tastes of summer last all year.