Michigan Fresh: Using, Storing, and Preserving Greens (HNI118)
Greens can be preserved and served many ways. Greens are cool-season vegetables, quick to mature and easy to grow.
Using, Storing and Preserving Greens
Spinach, mustard, Swiss chard, collards
Storage and food safety
- Young, tender greens can be eaten raw or cooked. Store unwashed greens in moist paper towels and place in sealed plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. They will keep about three to four days. When ready to use, wash thoroughly. Greens tend to have dirt and grit on the leaves, so wash in several changes of cool water.
- To prevent cross-contamination, keep greens away from raw meat and meat juices.
- Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
- For best quality and nutritional value, do not preserve more than your family can consume in 12 months.
How to preserve
Vegetables must be canned in a pressure canner to guarantee their safety.
Recommended process time for greens in a dial-gauge pressure canner at different altitudes.
|Jar size||Process time||0-2,000 ft||2,001-4,000 ft||4,001-6,000 ft||6,001-8,000 ft|
|Pints||70 min||11 lb.||12 lb.||13 lb.||14 lb.|
|Quarts||90 min||11 lb.||12 lb.||13 lb.||14 lb.|
Recommended process time for greens in a weighted-gauge pressure canner at different altitudes.
|Jar size||Process time||0-1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Pints||70 min||10 lb.||15 lb.|
|Quarts||90 min||10 lb.||15 lb.|
- Water blanching – Use 1 gallon of water per pound of prepared greens. Put the greens in a blanching basket or metal strainer and lower into a large pot of rapidly boiling water. Cover. Wait for water to return to boiling. Start counting blanching time when water returns to a full boil. It should take only a minute to come back to a boil. If it takes longer, too many greens have been added to the boiling water.
- Cooling – As soon as the water blanching is complete, greens should be placed in ice-cold water. Change water often or use cold running water or ice water. Cooling greens should take the same amount of time as blanching. Drain greens very well and carefully pat dry, then pack into containers or freezer bags, removing as much air as possible, and allowing for 1/2 inch of headspace. Label and date containers, and freeze.
Wolford, R., and D. Banks. 2013. “Collards.” Watch Your Garden Grow. University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Available at urbanext.illinois.edu/veggies/collards.cfm.
Andress, Elizabeth and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989, 6th Edition. Cooperative Extension University of Georgia, 2014.
Prepared by: Joyce McGarry, Extension educator