Sometimes, when you are at the farmer’s market, you can’t just resist buying fresh and attractive seasonal greens like spinach. If you do end up with too much of spinach, and if you hate wasting food, we describe how to freeze fresh spinach to use it in recipes later.
Did You Know?
‘Birdseye’ was the first company to sell frozen spinach. The advertisement had appeared in the ‘Life’ magazine in 1949.
As Popeye eats spinach, children can be easily convinced that spinach is the superfood that can make them as strong and powerful as Popeye. Most children enjoy spinach dip that comes with an eye-catching bright-green color. Spinach, the versatile vegetable, can be added to casseroles, rice, soups, stuffing, salads, smoothies, dips, meatballs, burger patties, egg rolls, stir fries, and various other satiating foods.
It is easy to grow spinach. If you are fond of growing vegetables around your house for household use, you may often have excess spinach. In that case, you can freeze spinach for juicing. You can make smoothies and soups using frozen spinach.
5 Easy Ways to Freeze Spinach Leaves
It is advisable to blanch spinach before freezing, as it helps stop the enzymatic process that leads to decaying of the leaves even in the freezer.
➺ Take a large pot, pour some water, and bring it to a boil.
➺ Before the water boils, rinse the spinach leaves to remove traces of dirt. Also remove tough leaf midribs and stems. You may tear larger leaves into small pieces.
➺ Add those cleaned leaves to the boiling water and stir well for two minutes.
➺ You may steam blanch the leaves. Put the leaves in a steamer basket and place it above the boiling water. Steam for one-two minutes.
➺ Drain the blanched leaves in a colander. Do not throw away the water in which you boiled the leaves. It turns green as some nutrients from spinach leaves get dissolved in it. You can freeze it for stock or may use it for cooking grains.
➺ Immediately, hold the colander in the sink and let cold water run over the leaves. This would stop the cooking process. If you want, you may soak the blanched spinach leaves in ice water for one minute.
➺ Squeeze the chilled leaves. (You may spin them dry in a salad spinner.) Remove as much water as possible. Then place them on a thick towel.
➺ Eventually, you will be left with a clump of compressed greens. Stuff the leaves into freezer bags. Squeeze out excess air around leaves before sealing the bags. The air in the bag can cause freezer burn.
➺ Write the name of the vegetable and the date on the bag. Freeze.
You can even freeze fresh baby spinach as described above. It doesn’t require any trimming or cutting. And if the question “can you freeze spinach without blanching” is lingering in your mind, then the answer is, “yes, you definitely can.”
2. Freeze Spinach without Blanching
➺ If you are going to use frozen spinach within a month or so, you may freeze it without blanching. You can add this frozen spinach to cooked dishes, smoothies, soups, and stews, as it would be a bit mushy.
➺ Rinse the spinach leaves thoroughly under tap water.
➺ Use the salad spinner to spin the excess water off. Or spread the leaves on a large thick towel and pat the leaves dry with the towel.
➺ Put the leaves in freezer bags and freeze.
3. Make Spinach Puree
➺ Place the clean leaves in a blender with water and make a puree of desirable thickness.
➺ Pour the puree into an ice tray and freeze it.
➺ Transfer the solid frozen cubes into a freezer bag and freeze. Later, you can add these cubes to green smoothies, soups, stews, sauces, or even to rice and quinoa. You may freeze spinach for smoothies directly in a freezer bag.
4. Freeze Fresh Spinach
➺ Remove the tough stems and damaged leaves.
➺ Without rinsing and blanching, just put the leaves in freezing bags, and freeze.
➺ The leaves will keep fresh for about 3-4 days.
You won’t be able to use the thawed spinach in fresh salads, but you can use it in various other dishes.
5. Freeze Spinach as a Part of a Smoothie Kit
➺ As explained above, put some blanched spinach in a freezer bag.
➺ Fill the freezer bag with other smoothie ingredients like grapes, bananas, peaches, carrots, kale, etc.
➺ When you want to make your smoothie, just pour the smoothie ingredients from the bag into your blender. Thus, you can create your own smoothie kits.
Frozen blanched spinach can be used within one year for the best quality. This nutrient-dense vegetable may lose a few of its nutrients, and some of its color, texture, and flavor, after blanching and freezing, but it is better to freeze it blanched. Otherwise, you are likely to get a black, gooey mass after defrosting.