One of my family’s favorite vegetables is kale. I got a 25 pound case of kale recently for 50 cents a pound. What will I do with all that kale? Fresh kale salad, dehydrated kale, kale pesto, kale gratin, and I will pressure can kale for even more uses. The great thing about canned kale, is it’s perfectly cooked for a quick dish – – silky soft and ready to eat.
The last thing I feel like doing a couple weeks before Christmas is spending an entire day canning kale, but it was such a great deal, and I’m all out of canned kale. While it’s easy to put this vegetable up, kale needs to be washed in a few changes of water, and de-ribbed. It’s not difficult, just time consuming. Once it’s all prepared, the canning is a snap.
Canned kale is a dinner staple and convenience food at my house. One of our favorite ways to eat canned kale is to cook 6 pieces of bacon, then remove from pan. Leaving 2 TBSP of bacon fat in the pan, I saute a garlic and onion. After the garlic and onion have softened, I add the kale with a dash of vinegar, a little salt, heat through, and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. My family loves this so much, we go through two quarts at dinner! We also love “green noodles,” which means pesto made from greens. Here is my recipe for collard green pesto — just replace collards with kale.
Wash kale, and take out center rib of leaves. Bring a pot of water to boil, and cook kale for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. You want it to wilt enough to fit in the jars, but not be totally cooked. The kale will cook in the jars while canning. Over boiling before jarring will result in mushy, not soft, kale. This is my kale after being par-cooked.
After the kale has been slightly wilted, fill clean quart jars, and fill with water and 1/4 tsp of salt, leaving 1 inch head space. Don’t push down and pack it hard, because you need enough room for water in the jars. My kale typically absorbs some water during canning. Here’s how I pack my jars.
Pressure can at 10 pounds for 90 minutes, following your canner’s instructions.
While a bit of work up front, having canned kale in your pantry provides quick super food, and adds variety to your dinner plate. Find some on sale to put up for a busy night!