Thursday, May 2, 2013

Canning Kale and Other Greens


We've had kale growing all winter in our garden. I've made kale chips, eaten steamed kale, fed kale to the chickens regularly... and it just keeps growing...

Now that spring has arrived, we needed to make room in our garden for our summer crops, so I chopped down all the kale and ended up with a wheelbarrow full and overflowing... so I decided to can some of it... whatever didn't get canned could go to the chickens... they love the stuff... it's like chicken candy to them!


The following method of canning works for kale and any other greens (spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collards, etc.)

I chopped the kale into  bite-sized pieces and removed all the tough stems and yellow pieces. Then I rinsed it several times to remove any dirt and sand and bugs... sand seems to cling to greens so it takes several rinses!


Then I filled my two biggest stockpots to the brim with kale and covered it with water to blanch... over medium heat I brought it to a boil until the greens were wilted down nicely... you don't want to raw pack greens, they cook down too much, you'd end up with  two bites of greens and a whole lot of water!


Meanwhile I boiled my pint jars and lids and kept them hot until I was ready for them.


Once the kale had wilted down, I began filling my jars with the greens using a slotted spoon.


I added liquid from the cooking pot whenever necessary to cover the greens, leaving a one inch headspace. I removed any air bubbles and adjusted the liquid as needed. I added a half teaspoon of canning salt to each pint (this is optional).


I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth and tightened on my hot lids and rings to fingertip tightness.

I processed my jars of kale in my pressure canner at 10-11 pounds pressure for 70 minutes (quarts would be 90 minutes). After processing, I turned off the heat and let the canner cool down naturally (don't rush it or you might get broken jars!) Once the pressure in the canner reached zero, I took off the lid and removed the jars using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar!


I ended up canning 16 pints of kale... still had quite a mountain of greens left in my wheelbarrow... the chickens enjoyed some as a treat... and the rest went into the compost bin... I still have one more row of kale to harvest... I think I'll dehydrate the rest... Love me some kale chips as a snack!

49 comments:

  1. Ship some to me! I love me some greens! And kale is just so yummy!

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    1. You should taste mine now for real

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  2. I am not a Kale and greens fan( and I am from the South LOL) but still enjoyed reading your post.

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  3. how long would i can via water bath method

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    1. Kale is a low acid food and really can't be canned in a water bath, it has to be pressure canned, unless you pickle it. ~~Granny

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    2. Which begs the next question -- how do you pickle kale? We just started growing kale this year, thanks to my uncle who casually gave me his leftover kale seeds. And now I'm addicted to kale.

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  4. Kale all winter? What zone are you in? Though, to be honest I don't know a lot about kale, except to eat it. :). I wonder if it would grow in my zone 7 during the winter. I've made that mistake canning greens raw. Lesson learned. Just found your blog. I love canning. I do more and more every year. I'm glad to have found you. :)

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    1. I'm in zone 7B (kinda between 7 and 8) and kale is one of the few veggies that actually likes cool-cold weather. It'll even withstand some pretty good frosts. ~~Granny

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  5. From a physics standpoint, it does not make sense that if you pack the greens raw, they will cook TOO much during pressure canning. After all, they cook while in the pressure canner, so isn't this like cooking them twice? Wouldn't you raw pack them if you don't want them to be overcooked?

    Victoria in CT.

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    1. It's not that they will cook too much. The idea of blanching the kale first is that the kale wilts, or shrinks during the blanching process. Then, when you fill the jars you are able to put more kale into them because it has already shrunk.

      If you do not blanch it first then you will end up putting less kale in (because it is raw and not shrunk) then when you can it you will end up with a small amount in the jar.

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  6. So glad I have found your wonderful blog:) now following~ Lynn @ Turnips 2 Tangerines

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  7. I have never canned greens but 90 min.
    seems like a long time.

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  8. I pressure-canned collard greens last summer. I was careful with the process, but they developed a thin white film on the leaves. I did (and still do) think it was calcium deposits on the leaves, but our university extension office didn't think so and advised me to throw it out, saying it was probably mold of some kind. I did throw out all I had canned, but I am wondering if you've ever noticed similar white film on any of your canned greens. It was similar to what sometimes forms in a pan after you've cooked greens for a while.

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    1. I think you're right. I've not had any deposits on my greens, but get a white hard water coating on my jars and lids if I don't add a little vinegar to my canning water. I'm betting if you add a splash of vinegar to your greens it'll help. It's not dangerous, I'm surprised the extension folks thought it was. ~~Granny

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  9. I've always been curious about canning greens. We grown a lot of collards in the fall. I usually freeze them. Once you can them, and open a jar to eat, how is the texture of them? It just seems to me they would be complete mush after blanching and then pressure canning for so long. Are they really soft, or do they have a slight "crunch" to them? They look delicious!

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    1. They're pretty soft, but not total mush. ~~Granny

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  10. I'm a beginner canner and have a question regarding canning kale. We've been cooking our kale on the stove, with garlic, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup vinegar, and I'm wondering if I'm able to can this kale if I make enough of the water and vinegar mixture, rather than canning just in water? Would this be processed in a water bath or in a pressure canner? Thanks!

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    1. Did you get an answer to adding vinegar and garlic to your process?

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  11. Or, does anyone have a recipe for pickled kale for canning? Thanks so much!

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  12. I was wondering if you have to use a pressure cooker?

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    1. To can kale, yes you need a pressure canner, they are a low acid food and must be pressure canned... unless they're pickled. ~~Granny

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  13. I had the greens in pints. Cooked 65 minutes before the water ran out. I took off heat and let pressure down to 0. Will they be ok?

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  14. I fully cooked a large pot of Kale yesterday. Can they still be pressure canned?

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  15. When you can kale, do you pack it real tight? I love your blog! :)

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    1. You pack pretty tight, but not so tight that you can't add enough water to cover. ~~Granny

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  16. My sister in law introduced me to water bath canning last year---and now I am addicted! Looking to purchase a pressure canner this year to expand my options to can --and have found your blog......you have become my inspiration (just fyi!)

    My question is this: every holiday my mother in law makes a MEAN collard dish - leaving LOTS of leftovers. Can these be canned if I ask her to reserve the water she cooks them in?

    Thanks again for all of your posts!! They are very very appreciated!!

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    1. Yes Janet, you certainly could can the leftover collards... using the same method as for kale and other greens. And thank you so much for reading! ~~Granny

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    2. Janet,Can you share the recipe? :-)

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  17. Is there any reason I couldn't add some bacon or other bit of smoked meat to the jars? If they are cooking 90 minutes anyway I don't think it would be a problem but thought I'd ask first since it wasn't mentioned.

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    1. Jennie did you ever end up adding bacon or something? I am wanting to add a strip of bacon per pint jar. Do you think that would be enough?

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  18. Hi Granny,
    I am the only one in the household that likes the greens, so I only can 1/2 pints. I followed the directions for the pints, but I was wondering if I should have reduced the time in the canner, or even used less pressure?

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  19. Hi granny
    I tried canning my kale, it was covered in water however when it came out of the pressure canner the water level went down by about 1/2, so a lot of the kale is no longer in water. Can I still use it? The lids were pretty secure not sure what happened

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  20. CAN YOU USE THE SAME METHOD FOR SWEET POTATO GREENS?

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  21. Granny, I really love the way you respond to others who ask for help. That means a lot. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
    One learning Granny to another.
    Hugs

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  22. Hi Granny! Can I cook my kale or collars as usual using peppered hog jowel for flavoring, then can them in jars after they are cooked? We will be on our sailboat for 5 months and I want to take my own canned goods. I will also put up some at home in my pantry. I would use the canning liquid from my cooked greens if that's OK. I loved the flavor. That way I can just heat them up rather than cooking them, especially on the boat. Thanks! Susan

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  23. Hi Granny, If I add a little bit of vinegar to the greens when I can them, would it help them to seal?

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    1. Won't help them seal, but will at another layer of flavor. ~~Granny

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  24. Granny, I tried mustard greens today. Most of the water boiled out of the jars and left the greens with just a little liquid. What do you think happened?

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    1. I think you might have let the temperature/pressure get to high. The greens should be OK to store though. Happens to me a lot.

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  26. I have had kale dehydrated and raw but I have never cooked Kale. How do you cook or prepare it to eat after canning it?

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  27. Hi granny can you please tell me how to pickle greens? Thanks

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  28. Hi,
    I do not have a pressure cooker, just a water bath canner. Can I do anything to the kale to be able to use the water canner? Thank you.

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    1. I know for a fact that foods that have no acid MUST be cooked in a pressure canner. Otherwise you will open yourself up to a possible and highly likely serious illness that may cause death.The only other option you have is to pickle the leafy greens as they have practically zero acid. Sorry. ~D~

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  29. I like a bit of salt pork/fat back and onion with my greens. If I were to pre-cook the fat back possibly even when wilting the greens, in your pinion, can this be done? I know most meat has to be pressure canned for at least 90 minutes and for me when going to eat greens a pint wouldn't be enough so I'd be doing quarts anyway. Thank you. ~D~

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