Stale Kale! Noooooooo!
Above is an example of what kale can look like when you don’t take measures to keep it fresh. Very sad.
A reader recently asked me how to keep kale fresh. Here is my time-tested advice.
Bonus tip: this works with other produce as well, like lettuce, celery, carrots, beets, and even items with really short freshness lives like parsley, cilantro and basil.
Your solution is basically just damp paper towels. Instead of putting your produce straight into your refrigerator’s crisper and leaving it, try first wrapping it in a few connected paper towels, and flicking a little bit of water on the bundle to moisten it. Your produce will stay crisper and fresher, longer.
Another aspect to consider – and this is more of a time-saver than a freshness-insurer – is that you can wash all your produce at once and THEN store it, rather than storing it first, and then washing each piece as needed. This will also reduce bruising from the overall time your produce spends getting handled back and forth, as well as reducing wilting, from its abrupt shifts in temperature and humidity environments.
Here is my process:
1. As with any produce, first wash it off in the sink. Make sure you get all the dirt, rocks, caterpillars etc off of it.
2. Once it’s clean but still wet, put it in your empty dish rack, to drip dry a litte.
3. Unspool about 3 paper towels without tearing at the perforations, and wrap your bundle of washed produce leaves or stalks.
4. Put the bundle in your refrigerator’s crisper.
Your produce will last at least twice as long as if you either A. didn’t cover it or, B. didn’t wash it all at once, and you will be much happier in general!
Pro tip for the environmentally-concerned: This works just as well with a dishrag of any sort, instead of wasting paper towels. But if you’re in a hurry and don’t have a lot of clean dishrags on hand, paper towels are definitely the way to go.
If you have any related suggestions, please pass them on! I love to hear useful tips from like-minded people.