4 Reasons Why Kale Smells Like Garbage

kale smells like garbage
kale smells like garbage

Kale or leaf cabbage are vegetables that are planted for their edible leaves.

These can be used for several reasons, but the main one includes using them in different dishes. There are tons of recipes that require Kale as a garnishing ingredient or use it as their base.

Besides this, vegetable is also quite healthy as it is rich in nutrients. The color of these leaves can range from shades of purple to green and usually depend on the variety you decide to plant.

There are several species that you can select from, which is why you must do it carefully.

With that being said, people should note that there are also some issues they can run into with these plants. Recently, users have been reporting that their Kale smells like garbage.

If you are getting the same problem, then going through this article should help you out. This is because we will be providing you with some common reasons for the issue along with ways that can be used to fix them.

Why does Kale start smelling bad?

Kale is a popular vegetable for its high nutritional content and health benefits. However, if it’s not stored properly, Kale can smell bad after some time. This is due to certain compounds in the vegetable that are sensitive to air and heat exposure.

The compounds will break down when exposed to these conditions and create an unpleasant odor. Over time bacteria can grow on Kale which can also cause it to develop an off-putting smell.

Another reason for the foul smell of Kale is the breakdown of its proteins.

As kale ages, it will start to oxidize, and this process causes the protein molecules to break down and form new compounds. These newly formed compounds can give off an unpleasant odor that some people may find distasteful.

The best way to avoid a stinky batch of Kale is to store it properly. Kale should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat.

Proper storage can also help keep bacteria growth at bay, further reducing off-putting odors.

Make sure to use the Kale within a reasonable time; the longer it sits around, the more likely it will start to smell bad.

urine does not have a pleasant odor to smell

Fortunately, plenty of delicious recipes can be made with Kale, so you won’t have to worry about any potential odors.

Let’s discuss these points in detail.

Kale Smells Like Garbage:

  1. Kale Getting Older

Many people already dislike the smell of Kale because of how intense it can be. Though, you should note that with time it starts to worsen.

Considering this, if you notice that your Kale smells like garbage, then there is a chance that it has started to get quite old.

With time the smell will continue to get even worse, which is why you should deal with it as soon as possible.

There is no possible way of reducing the smell of these vegetables, but there is one other option you can go with. When it comes to this, you must first find a recipe that uses many other ingredients.


These can be used to lessen the smell of Kale as it gets overpowered. Some people might be able to eat the vegetable as it is and get rid of it quickly.

If you find its smell too strong, use it in dishes that can hide the odor. Keep in mind that you can continue adding herbs and spices to help lessen your Kale’s bad smell.

  1. Bacteria Growth

Another reason your Kale might be smelling bad is a bacteria infestation. This usually happens when the vegetable has gone through some slight spoilage, as it can provide an ideal environment for bacteria growth.

Check your Kale for discoloration or slimy patches if it smells like garbage. If you find some, you should discard the vegetable as it is still not safe for consumption.

Though, if it does not show any signs of bacteria growth, you can take other preventive measures, such as washing and drying the Kale before consuming it.

This will help in reducing the bad smell as well as help in getting rid of any potential bacteria present in the vegetable.

  1. Storing Kale

Another reason your Kale smells like a garbage can be that you have it stored somewhere where the temperature is too high.

kale plants

This is an important thing that you must remember, especially when dealing with delicate vegetables. If you notice that the smell of your Kale has started to get even worse, you should get rid of it quickly.

The best way to prevent this issue is by understanding how to preserve the green leaves. People can do this by keeping the Kale stored inside a cold area.

You must leave it inside at the same temperature until you decide to use it. Additionally, keeping the vegetable away from moisture can also be important as these can get a little soggy.

This is quite uncommon, but there are still some reports about people running into the issue.

Talking about this, as long as the Kale is properly stored and maintained in your kitchen, it should last a long time without any issues. The vegetable can sometimes exceed its expiry date as these can persevere easily.

  1. Kale Has Gone Bad

Finally, if you notice that the smell of your Kale is so bad that you cannot even come near it, then the vegetable has already gone bad. The odor can be so bad that you might get sick just from smelling it.

This is why you should get rid of the vegetable and ensure no one consumes it.

Safely disposing of green leaves is important as your children or pets might also try eating them. They can easily get sick and catch diseases that can be quite dangerous.

rotted kale

Keeping this in mind, the problem can be easily avoided if you take the necessary steps.

When purchasing vegetables, people should always smell them beforehand. Moreover, checking their expiry dates can also help you get kale leaves that will last you a long time without any issues.

Is it safe to consume Kale that smells bad?

No, it is not safe to consume Kale that smells bad. Kale is a leafy green vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked and contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It has a sweet taste when fresh but can quickly spoil if not stored properly.

When Kale has gone bad, it usually has an off-putting smell and discoloration on the leaves.

Eating spoiled Kale can cause food poisoning and other serious health issues, so it is important to avoid consuming any kind of food that smells or looks strange.

If you are unsure about the freshness of your Kale, it is best to throw it away and purchase new, fresh Kale from the store.

When purchasing Kale, always check for any signs of spoilage, such as discoloration or unpleasant odors.

If there are any, don’t buy that particular batch of Kale and opt for a fresher one. It is also important to store your Kale properly in the refrigerator and use it within a few days of purchase to ensure that it remains safe to eat.


Bottom line, if your Kale smells bad or looks strange in any way, do not consume it as this could lead to food poisoning. It is always better to be safe than sorry regarding food safety.

Can spoil Kale damage other vegetables in the pantry?

Spoiled Kale can be a potential hazard to other vegetables in the pantry if not stored properly.

Like most other leafy greens, Kale is highly perishable and will quickly spoil when exposed to air or moisture. When it spoils, it produces bacteria that can spread and contaminate other foods in the pantry.

Spoiled Kale releases ethylene gas which can cause nearby fruits and vegetables to ripen prematurely or rot faster than normal. It’s important to store fresh Kale correctly to avoid exposing it – or your other food items – to these risks.

To do this, wash your Kale thoroughly before storing it in a sealed container at refrigerator temperatures (ideally below 40°F).

If left out on the countertop for more than two days, discard any remaining leaves immediately, as they may have gone bad already.

By paying attention and taking proper precautions with storing all produce items, including Kale, you’ll minimize any risk of contamination from spoiled veggies!

Concluding Thoughts:

In conclusion, it is important to be mindful of the freshness and quality of Kale when purchasing or storing it.

Kale that has gone bad will have an off-putting smell and discoloration on the leaves, which can cause food poisoning if consumed.

It’s also important to store your Kale properly in a sealed container at refrigerator temperatures to keep other foods safe from contamination due to spoiled produce.

These steps will ensure you get the most out of your Kale while avoiding any potential health risks associated with consuming expired vegetables.

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