How Long Does Kale Last?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 14th, 2023

The quest for health often leads us to leafy greens, and kale tops the list with its nutrient-packed profile. But you might find yourself wondering, how long can kale actually stick around before going bad? This isn’t just a trivial question; it’s a matter of health, budgeting, and sustainable living. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the variables that determine kale’s shelf life, the types of kale available in the market, and expert-approved methods for long-term storage. By the end, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to make your kale—and its benefits—last as long as possible.

What Exactly is Kale?

Kale is a dark green vegetable that hails from the Brassica family, sharing its genus with other vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. Known for its high nutritional value, kale offers a robust profile of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its earthy flavor is as versatile as its uses; you can toss it into salads, sauté it with garlic, or even blend it into smoothies.


There are multiple variants of kale, each with its own unique characteristics and shelf life. Fresh kale is generally good for about a week if stored correctly in the fridge. Cooked kale, on the other hand, is best consumed within three to five days. Bagged and pre-washed kale usually stays fresh for about five days post-opening. If you’re looking for longevity, frozen kale reigns supreme—it can last up to six months in your freezer. Remember, proper storage is your best ally in prolonging kale’s life.

Factors That Play a Role in Kale’s Shelf Life

When it comes to extending the life of your kale, multiple factors come into play. Temperature and humidity are paramount. Cooler storage temperatures below 40°F are generally better for longevity, whereas a more humid environment can extend the leafy green’s freshness.

The type also matters. Pre-washed, bagged kale has been processed to last longer, sometimes up to two weeks. Preparation is another important factor; raw kale has a longer fridge life compared to its cooked counterpart.

How to Store Kale for Extended Freshness

If you’re looking to maximize kale’s shelf life, storing it correctly is crucial. Fresh kale should be placed in a loosely closed plastic bag and stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge. For longer storage needs, freezing is your go-to option, but make sure you store it in airtight containers or freezer bags to lock in freshness.

Preparing Kale: A Step-by-Step Guide for Cooking and Storage

Before cooking or storing, cleaning kale is a must. Swirling the leaves in a bowl of cool water can remove hidden grit. Post-washing, dry the leaves with a clean towel to eliminate excess moisture. Afterward, chop the leaves and either cook them or store them properly to enjoy at a later date. Remember, a tightly wrapped damp paper towel can help maintain moisture, extending the vegetable’s life.

Preserving Kale for Long-Lasting Goodness

Kale’s shelf life can be further extended through preservation techniques like freezing, canning, and drying. Freezing involves blanching the kale leaves to preserve texture and color, whereas canning requires either raw or cooked kale to be sealed in sterilized jars. Drying is another viable method, with dehydrated kale useful in a variety of recipes throughout the year.

Freezing Kale: A Long-term Storage Solution

Freezing stands out as an excellent option for both fresh and cooked kale. For fresh kale, ensure it’s washed and chopped before transferring it to an airtight container. Cooked kale can also be frozen, but it’s best to first blanch it quickly in boiling water. This step helps maintain its nutritional profile and texture. Once prepared, store in an airtight container for up to six months for optimum quality.

Canning and Drying Kale: Alternative Preservation Techniques

Canning offers another method for long-term storage. The jars should be properly sterilized and the kale blanched before sealing. Drying kale is another handy method. The leaves should be placed in a single layer in a dehydrator or oven and then dried until crisp. Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year.

How to Buy Fresh and Quality Kale

Buying quality kale is the first step in prolonging its shelf life. Look for vibrant, dark green leaves that are firm to the touch. Wilted or yellowing leaves are a sign the kale is past its prime. Local farmers’ markets often offer the freshest options, helping you enjoy kale at its best for longer.


Kale is a nutrient-rich powerhouse with diverse culinary applications. Knowing its shelf life and how to extend it can make a significant difference in your health journey. By making informed choices about types, storage, and preservation, you can enjoy this leafy green to its fullest extent, both in flavor and nutritional value.


Editorial Staff

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