Learn how to store kale for use in salads, smoothies and more.
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From avocados to cauliflower, it's important to properly store your fruits and vegetables. Doing so will help extend the shelf life while also retaining its color, texture, flavor and nutrients, so you enjoy the tastiest produce possible. Plus, proper food storage is an easy way to avoid food waste and save money (because we've all dealt with slimy leafy greens that have sat in the fridge for a little too long). Read on for tips about how to store kale.

Tips for Buying Kale

While you can buy kale any time of year, this hearty green is at its best in late fall through winter. Whether you're at the farmers' market or your local grocery store, keep a few things in mind when buying kale. First, choose kale with small or medium-size leaves as they are the most tender and have the best flavor. Also, look for dark green leaves that are relatively soft, with crisp edges. Avoid buying kale with leaves that are wilted, yellowing or slimy.

How to Store Kale in the Fridge

If you plan to use the kale within a few days of purchase, the fridge is the best option. Store kale in a plastic bag like these Hefty bags (buy it: Target, $4) in the coldest part of your refrigerator, often the back of the fridge or the crisper drawer. When stored this way, kale will last between three and five days.

Important tip: Before you store kale in the fridge, do not wash it (the rules are different for storing kale in the freezer; see below). If wet kale leaves go into the fridge, they will quickly turn mushy. Instead, wait to wash the kale until you're ready to use it. If you must, you can wash the kale beforehand, but make sure it is completely dry by patting it with a paper towel or giving it a whirl in a salad spinner to remove any excess water (check out the best salad spinners, according to our Test Kitchen).

How to Store Kale in the Freezer

You can also store kale in the freezer. Before storing, learn how to cut kale as it's important to separate the leaves and stems since they cook at different rates. In addition, you'll also want to wash the kale before you freeze it to remove any dirt or grime from the leaves. Learn how to freeze kale, and you can keep the leafy green in your freezer for months.

Once you're ready to enjoy the leafy green, the possibilities are endless (and delicious). From Chicken & Kale Soup to Bacon & Kale Sheet-Pan Eggs, kale is one healthy vegetable you'll always want to have on hand.

By Lisa Kingsley and Alex Loh