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Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Kale (HNI120)


August 9, 2023 - Joyce McGarry and <>


Kale belongs to the Brassica family, which also includes cabbage, collards, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

It is also known as borecole.

Food Safety and Storage

  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Leaves vary from dark green to purple to deep Look for firm, deeply colored leaves with healthy stems. Small leaves will be more tender and have a milder flavor than large leaves.
  • Store unwashed kale in an airtight plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, where it will keep up to five days.
  • Wash leaves under cool running water before using.
  • Kale tends to have dirt and grit on the leaves, so wash thoroughly in several changes of cool water.
  • To prevent cross-contamination, keep kale away from raw meat and meat juices.

Michigan State University Extension does not recommend canning, freezing or drying kale because of its high water content, which produces a low-quality product.

Ways to Prepare KaleKale_in_plate.jpg

Add to salads with red pepper, onion and raisins.

Toss chopped kale with cooked whole-grain pasta, pine nuts, feta cheese and olive oil.

Cook chopped kale with garlic and olive oil for 5 minutes; season with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar.

Make kale chips by slicing kale into bite-sized pieces, tossing with olive oil and salt, and baking for 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.


  • Andress, E., & Harrison, J. A. (2014). So easy to preserve (Bulletin 989). (6th ed.). University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

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