How to Freeze Greens Like Turnips, Mustard, Collards and Swiss Chard

rinsing greens in a colander

After being blanched and shocked in ice water, these turnip greens and chopped turnips are ready to be packed up for freezing.

Turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens and Swiss chard are some of my favorite vegetables to grow. They’re so easy, the edible leaves are cut-and-come-again (meaning the more you harvest, the more the plant produces), and they’re very nutritious and tasty. Personally, I like most greens just sauteed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, but for those who prefer a richer taste, pretty much all greens can benefit from a little cheesiness. Example: I’m planning on making Alton Brown’s Mustard Green Gratin for Thanksgiving using some of the abundance currently growing in my garden. But if you have a lot of greens and no crowd to eat them, preserving them is easy, too.

Earlier this year, I told you how I preserved mustard greens by pickling them. Those were tasty, but honestly, I have yet to use them all and should probably toss the leftovers. My dirty little vegetable gardener’s secret? I don’t really like pickled things. It’s true. I prefer that fresh-out-of-the-garden taste. And when it comes to preserving both the vegetable and its fresh flavor, the best technique is usually freezing. You can freeze all kinds of garden greens using a simple blanching and shocking process. Here’s how.


Step 1

 Open GalleryRinse greens and tear or chop into smaller pieces. If you have attached roots, as I did with these turnip greens, you can chop those up too. Boil a pot of water, then dunk the greens in the water for about 2 minutes. I used a wire colander to dunk mine, but you could also just place them in the pot and uses a slotted spoon to remove them.

Step 2

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Remove the wilted green from the boiling water and immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking process you started in the pot.

Step 3

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Once your greens are cool, squeeze the water out of the greens or use a salad spinner (like I did here) to remove the excess water.

Step 4

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Pack the greens into freezer bags, then place bags in the freezer. I like to pack mine into several smaller bags that can be thawed for individual meals. Frozen greens will stay good for several months to a year.

Step 5

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What about that vitamin-rich water left in the pot on your stove? Don’t pour it down the sink! Use it for a soup base, or let it cool and then water your garden with it — free fertilizer!


  • Greens
  • Stock pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Bowl of ice water
  • Salad spinner (optional)
  • Colander (optional)
  • Freezer bags



About Kelly Smith Trimble 


I grow vegetables wherever I can find enough sunlight and forage roadsides and hiking trails for plants that can be used to make natural dyes. You can find both vintage ...

More About Kelly Smith Trimble

4 Responses

  1. joan says:

    Can you freeze the turnip , or just the leaves?

  2. Brenda Vandiver says:

    Thanks, that's great info.

  3. Dan says:

    While the freezing may take a bit away from the texture of the greens, the flavor remains fully intact. Combining with soup (especially lentil and sausage) is a great way to enjoy this treat!

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