How to Store Wild Greens (Weeds)
Some Quick Tips for Preserving and Storing Wild Greens
Wild Pesto: My favorite thing to do with an abundance of springtime wild greens is to make pesto. It’s easy to freeze and deliciously vibrant and fresh when you thaw it throughout the year. See my wild greens pesto recipe here.
Puree and Freeze: If you don't want the full pesto flavor but want to keep your wild greens as fresh as possible, puree your weeds in a food processor with good quality oil and freeze for later. You can fill ice cube trays with the paste and freeze them, then put the cubes in a zip lock bag. This way, you can thaw just as much as you need at the time. This works well for very tender, young, early spring weeds (such as young dandelion greens, wild violet leaves, lambs quarters, and nettles,) and is an excellent addition to sauces.
Blanch and Freeze: For young wild greens and those that are a little more mature, you can blanch them lightly and freeze. Bring a pot of water to a rapid bowl, submerge the greens briefly in the boiling water to just wilt them, then immediately transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Blanching like this will preserve the color and flavor when the greens go to the freezer. I like to drain them in a colander, then vacuum seal them in small packets so I can choose how many to thaw based on what I’ll be cooking. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer you can put them in small zip lock bags with as much air squeezed out as you can. This method is excellent for future soups, stews, casseroles, and pasta and rice dishes.
Dehydrate: Plenty of wild greens are nutritious and delicious when dried. If you don’t have a dehydrator, put the leaves on a backing rack in a single layer and put them in a really low oven with the door propped open (a wooden spoon handle works great.) You’ll need to keep checking them to make sure they don’t get overly dry or browned. In some environments you can use a drying rack or simply hang them in bunches, but you’ll need to make sure it’s not too humid to avoid growing mold. Once the weeds are completely dry you can chop or grind them, or keep them whole, and store in an airtight glass container in the pantry. When you dry wild greens they are best used like herbs - make tea or add to the ground leaves to soups and stews for boosted flavor and nutrition.
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