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Wondering how to tell if kale is bad? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!

Kale has become a trendy food item over the years. People love its health benefits and its vibrant green color. However, like all food items, kale does expire. It may be able to survive many days in the fridge, but it isn’t always easy to tell if kale has gone bad. 

Fresh and frozen kale will all have different shelf lives, which further makes it difficult to tell if it’s safe to eat or not. 

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You’ll learn how to tell if kale has gone bad by reading this article. We’ll cover how long kale can last, whether it’s fresh or frozen. You’ll also find out the best way to store kale so it lasts longer.

Can Kale Expire?

Yes, kale can expire. Some people believe that as kale is a hearty, crispy vegetable, it will have a longer shelf life. This is false. Kale is a cruciferous vegetable. Like other vegetables in the family, like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower, it will go bad if it isn’t eaten soon. 

Kale’s lifespan can be extended by keeping it in optimum conditions or freezing it, but even these guidelines aren’t enough to keep kale indefinitely. 

Kale’s Lifespan

Kale has a different lifespan depending on whether it’s fresh and kept in the fridge, or frozen and stored in the refrigerator.

If fresh kale is stored correctly, it can last up to a week in the refrigerator. It’s best to place fresh kale in the fridge soon after you’ve bought it. Don’t wash it before putting it in the fridge, as the humidity can make the kale go bad quicker. 

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Kale inside a bag can last longer, up to two weeks inside the fridge. However, this depends on when it was packaged. Look on the bag for its expiration date.

If this isn’t available, kale will normally last up to 10 days in the fridge as long as the bag hasn’t been opened. 

If it has been opened, it’s best to eat it within 7 days, but do check regularly to see if the kale has gone bad. 

Frozen kale can last much longer, up to half a year when kept in the freezer. If the kale is blanched, it can last a further two months. Blanching stops the leaves from turning bitter and helps to maintain their bold green hue. 

To blanch kale, you need to add kale to a pan of boiling water. Leave it for three minutes, then move the kale to a bowl of cold water. This will stop the kale from cooking.

Drain the water, then take handfuls of the kale and squeeze out any excess liquid. Chop into fine pieces, then store in the freezer for later. 

Conversely, fresh kale left out on the counter will only last around 3 hours. Never leave kale out at room temperature unless you plan on using it soon. 

 How To Tell If Kale Is Bad?

You can identify when kale has gone bad in a few different ways.

Begin by smelling the kale to see if it smells fresh. If it smells bad, like sour eggs, this indicates that it’s gone bad.

If you’re still unsure, examine the kale closely. Look at its color, Fresh kale should be a bold, deep green shade. Look out for any yellow or brown patches. This clearly shows that the kale has gone bad. 

Similarly, any brown or black flecks or spots show that the kale has expired. It may look or feel slimy when touched. 

Edible kale will always smell fresh and be a bold green shade. If it doesn’t smell right, looks slimy, or has a color any other shade than green, toss it out. 

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How To Choose Suitable Kale?

If you’re struggling to pick out suitable kale at the grocery store or a market, the advice below should help. 

The easiest way to select edible kale is to examine the vegetable carefully. The leaves should be green and crispy. Make sure that there aren’t any spots on the leaves.

Feel the kale’s texture with your hands. The leaves should be firm, not moist or slippery. Look out for signs of withering. Good kale is dense, but it shouldn’t be rigid or crunchy either. 

 As stated above, good kale shouldn’t smell off-putting. Bad kale may smell like sour eggs, even when it might look fresh. This is why smell is always the best step to figure out if kale has gone off, not just through a visual inspection.

Is Yellow Kale Safe To Eat?

People debate on whether yellow kale is safe to eat or not. This depends on the kale’s texture and if the rest of the leaves are green, yellow, or brown. 

If the kale is mainly green but has pieces of yellow around it, it may be edible. Just be sure that it isn’t slimy and doesn’t have any darker spots on the leaves. 

Yellowing kale may be safe to eat, but it can taste bitter, so it isn’t pleasant to eat. If the kale is green but has yellowing tips, it’s best to cut off the yellow edges and only eat the green parts. Again, make sure that the kale isn’t slimy and doesn’t smell bad first. 

Kale may be fine to eat if it has yellow areas, but the color change should be taken as a sign that it should be eaten quickly. It’s likely to go bad soon afterward. 

How To Store Kale Properly?

The best way to store kale is by adding a little water to some paper towels. Wrap the kale leaves in the damp tissues, then place them inside an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag. Put this bag inside the crisper drawer within the fridge.

The damp paper towels will keep the kale moist, but the plastic bag will stop the leaves from wilting and becoming slimy. Just make sure that the tissues aren’t too wet, they should be slightly damp. Too much water will only shorten the kale’s lifespan. 

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Like all perishable foods, kale will go bad. Fresh kale only lasts around a week in the fridge, while frozen kale can last for 6 months in the freezer. There are a few ways to tell if your kale isn’t safe to eat. If the leaves smell funny, look slimy, or have yellow, brown, or black spots, toss the kale out.

You can prolong your kale’s lifespan by storing it correctly. Keep the leaves inside a bag with damp paper towels, then put the bag in your refrigerator.

Frozen kale can last an extra two months if it has been blanched, so this could be something to try if you plan on storing kale away for a while.

Can You Still Eat It?

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