How Long Does Kale Last? Tips To Keep Them Fresh

Kale is one of those vegetables that are packed with vitamins and minerals. This makes them a great vegetable for people that are health concise and want a healthier lifestyle. Since kale is usually sold in a bunch, most people will buy a few of them to keep for later use. Like other leafy vegetables, kale doesn’t usually last very long once its stem has been cut.

So, how long does kale last? At room temperature, kale will last 1-3 hours. In the fridge, kale will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. In the freezer, prepping them first can keep them fresh for up to 8 months.

Above is just an estimated time of how long kale will last in different environments. Other factors such as the air temperature, where it was bought, and how it’s stored will determine their actual shelf life.

In this short guide, we’ll go through how long kale lasts, how to properly store them, how to tell when kale is bad, and how to keep them fresh for as long as possible. If this is the information you’re looking for, keep reading.

Kale Shelf Life

Room TemperatureRefrigeratorFreezer
Fresh Kale last3-4 Hours5-7 Days8 Months (blanched)
Bagged Kale last3-4 Hours7-10 Days8 Months (blanched)
Cooked Kale last1-2 Hours3-5 Days3 Months


fresh kale

How Long Does Kale Last?

Like most other leafy vegetables, kale doesn’t last that long. Once it’s harvested, it will slowly start to go bad. This is due to the high content of moisture that’s in the leaves of the kale plant.

How long kale lasts will depend on where you store them. Below are the different places where they are usually stored and their shelf life.

How Long Does Kale Last At Room Temperature?

For fresh kale, they will last about 3-4 hours at room temperature. However, if the temperature is hotter than normal, they will last shorter than 3 hours.

After that time, they will begin to get soggy and soft. You’ll still be able to use them for cooking, but not in a salad.

For bagged kale, whether they are opened or unopened, they too will last about 3-4 hours at room temperature. You will want to use them right away or store them in the fridge as soon as possible.

As for cooked kale, they will remain fresh for about 1-3 hours. Depending on what other ingredients you used such as pork or chicken, they may not last longer than an hour. If it’s just kale only, they should remain fresh for about 3 hours.

How Long Does Kale Last In The Fridge?

In the fridge, fresh kale will last for 5-7 days. Sometimes, it could last a couple of days longer, all depending on how fresh it is. Therefore, if you’ve bought fresh kale at the farmer’s market, it will most likely last up to a week. Kale sold at the farmer’s market is usually harvested a day before it’s being sold.

Cooked kale will last 3-5 days in the fridge. You’ll need to properly store it though. Just putting them on a plate and putting it in the fridge will not cut it. You’ll probably see it going bad within a day. Cooked kale should be stored in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag.

As for bagged kale, if it’s unopened, look at the date on the label. It will usually be about 7 to 10 days after you’ve purchased them.

If bagged kale has been opened, they will stay fresh for up to 5 days. Their shelf life shortens due to the degradation process being accelerated when the kale is exposed to air.

How Long Does Kale Last In The Freezer?

Kale that is not blanched first will usually last no longer than 2-3 months. However, kale will still be safe to eat, but it will lose its flavor and texture.

For the best result, kale should always be blanched first before it’s stored in the freezer. By blanching kale before freezing them, you can expect kale to remain fresh for up to 8 months.

As for cooked kale, they too can be stored in the freezer. Cooked kale will generally last 3 months in the freezer. They should be kept in an airtight container or a sealable freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.

kale salad

How To Store Kale

Most of the time, you’ll buy kale that is already bagged and prewashed. These kale are pretty much straightforward when it comes to storing them.

Once you get home, put the bag of kale in the fridge and keep them there until you need them.

If you need just some of it, simply remove the amount you need and place the rest back in the fridge. Just remember to keep them stored in the fridge at all times so they’ll remain fresh for a long time.

If you bought fresh kale, like those found at the farmer’s market, they should be stored in the fridge as well.

You have two options when it comes to storing fresh kale in the fridge. One of them is to store fresh kale in the crisper section of the fridge. After you get home, put them into the fridge right away.

Another option would be to put the fresh kale into a plastic bag. Make a couple of holes in the bag for the air to circulate in and out of the bag. This will allow the kale to breathe and prevent them from getting soggy.

Whether fresh kale is stored in the crisper section or on the fridge’s rack, it’s important that you do not wash the kale beforehand. Doing so could cause the kale to spoil quickly. Washing the leafy vegetables will not remove all the moisture from them. The moisture that’s left on the kale will cause the leaves to rotten away when it’s stored in the fridge.

When it comes to cooked kale, they too can be stored in the fridge.

When storing cooked kale in the fridge, it should be stored in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag.

Once they are placed in the container or bag, make sure to seal them as tightly as possible. If air gets into the bag, it will cause them to become soft and mushy.

Can Kale Go Bad?

Like any other fresh leafy vegetable, kale can go bad. Once the vegetable is harvested, they will start to lose their freshness slowly.

Temperature and storage is the biggest factor for kale going bad. As for temperature, the warmer it is, the faster the kale will go bad. The leaves of the kale plant contain a lot of moisture. When it’s hot, the leaves will start to lose moisture. This will cause the kale to become soggy and wilt.

Where it’s stored is another important factor. Kale needs to be kept in a cool place to retain moisture in its leaves. Therefore, the best place for storing kale would be in the fridge.

How To Tell When Kale Go Bad?

Kale like other leafy vegetables is easy to tell when they go bad. The usual appearance and smell are what to look for.

However, the good news is that before kale reached its prime and is no longer safe to eat, it will show signs of black specs. This is a sign that means the vegetable is coming to an end quickly. You can cut the leaves with black specs away and use the rest.

When kale starts to go bad, its leaves will start to lose color. The dark green color will become pale green. The pale green means the kale will only have a day or so left. You’ll either want to use them in a salad or cook them right away. If not, in a couple of days, the leaves will turn yellow and you’ll longer be able to use them.

Another sign is when the leaves become wilted and soggy. This is usually a sign that kale has reached its prime and should be discarded right away.

The last thing to look for is a bad smell. Kale that is bad will have a sulfur smell to it. It will smell bad enough that it will quickly make you throw it away.

whole kale

How To Keep Kale Fresh Longer

Selecting Kale

To keep kale fresh for as long as possible, it starts from when you purchase them. The best quality kale will last the longest.

Therefore, when shopping at the grocery store, look for kale that is the freshest. However, kale that is sold in grocery stores is hard to determine their actual freshness. You’ll need to take into account from when it was harvested at the farm to being placed on the shelves of the stores.

Related Questions

How Long Do Kale Chips Last?

Kale chips that are dried either in the oven or food dehydrator don’t actually spoil. Instead, they will usually go stale and become soggy. If kale chips are kept in an airtight container, they can last 3 to 4 months. The more time it’s opened and exposed to air, the shorter their life span will be.

However, the kale chips won’t go bad, you will not have a very enjoyable time eating them.

How Long Does Kale Juice Last?

If you’ve made kale juice at home, it will last for about 48 hours in the fridge. If you need to keep them for much longer, you can freeze kale juice and it will last for 4-8 weeks.

It’s not a good idea to store kale juice at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

For store-bought kale juice, check the date on the label. These types of kale juice tend to last longer than homemade ones since they are pasteurized.