Freezing Turnip Greens

For me, the hardest thing about eating locally (or at least semi-locally) is setting aside some of the harvest for winter—but some vegetables are easier to sacrifice than others. Like, say, turnip greens. As you can see from this most recent shot of one of my garden plots, turnip greens grow back quickly. May-garden-1
The turnip greens are those big bushy things near the bottom. They were planted all at once, but the greens on the left were cut about a week and a half ago, the greens in the middle were cut earlier this week, and the greens on the right had not yet been cut at all. Today’s project was to cut the batch on the right down to about 3 inches to ensure at least a couple more harvests before they bolt, and freeze them for later. Many people prefer to do their food preservation in big batches, but when you have a small garden that may not be either practical or desirable. And it’s not as if freezing’s that difficult, as we’ll see. You could theoretically can greens, but since they’re a low-acid food you have to use a pressure cooker and process them for at least 70 minutes. To which I say: why bother?

How to Freeze Greens

1) Wash them thoroughly. This may take several changes of water. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil.

2) Cut off the stems of the big ones. big-vs-little-greens
What you classify as “big” is largely a matter of taste, but I would call the ones on the left “big” and the ones on the right “little.” So I hacked off the ends of the big ones and left the little ones whole.

3) Put the greens in the water and return them to a boil. Cook them for about 1 1/2 minutes. (To the newly initiated: this is called “blanching.”) Note that they won’t really be cooked through. That’s ok, because presumably you will cook them more when you thaw them out and use them.

4) Drain them and immeditely chill. I use an ice bath:

4) When they’re good and cold, put them in a plastic bag or glass jar or some other freezer container. Try to remove as much air as possible. Very important: don’t forget to label!

And voila! Now you can have greens whenever you’re craving them, whether the garden yields them up or not. C’mon. You know you want them.

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15 comments to Freezing Turnip Greens

  • […] freeze beet greens just like you freeze turnip greens (or pretty much any kind of green, for that matter). Just clean them, cut off the stems (or keep […]

  • Kim

    Just the info I was looking for! Thanks!

  • Elizabeth

    Perfect Response. I like the photos especially. I also prefer small batches because then you can process them when making dinner whereas when some family member comes in with a bushel of greens….and you had other plans for the evening….

  • Betty

    Thanks ever so much. I thought this might the the method and you confirmed.

  • Barbara

    Thanks for the info. My husband loves turnip and the greens, but we live in a remote area and could never find them. I did today at a local market so now he can have them often! 🙂

  • Keith

    Thanks Doris and Jill – worked just as you said. Nice instructions, easy to follow – pictures helpful. PS Turnip greens are rated one of the top nutritious vegetables. See this:

  • Marcus Riedner

    I’m experimenting with using the stems from beets to make chutney or relish. I think they can also be pickled. Side note: radish greens are edible too, if you’re blanching do so for about 1/2 the time.

  • Dorothy Lamar

    My cousin says you can freeze turnip greens like this. I tried it and it works. Wash the turnips until all dirt is gone. Then squeeze as much water as possible out of the greens before packing them in a freezer bag. Press as much air out of the bag as possible before labeling and freezing. This makes the greens have more flavor when you cook them. They keep well this way too. I tried it and the greens were absolutely delicious. Is there anything wrong with this freezing method? The greens are clean before we freeze them.

  • Danielle

    How long can u freeze them

  • Lynn Palmer

    How do you freeze the turnip only, we know how to do the greens. Thanks.

  • Annie

    I searched and searched for this info and finally found something HERE that made sense!! I really appreciate the pictures as well. IT HELPS to know what to and not to cut off when preparing a veg. for canning/freezing :)Keep ’em comin’ A

    Annie in Nashville

  • Lael

    I’m going to try it! Has anyone used frozen beet greens in smoothies before? I’m wondering if they have an overwhelming flavor, or if you notice them at all.

  • Aurora

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, we have lots of greens in the garden and for 2 people we can’t eat much now I know how can we preserve for future use. God bless you.

  • Judith Broadbent

    I really like the pictures. I have frozen these before but wanted to be sure I had to blanche them first. Thanks for the good instructions.

  • Length of time greens can remain frozen before cooking or useable?