Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Freezing spinach

Its that time of year when most of us that have grown a garden have way too much spinach. Here is a way to put up that spinach for future use. This article was written by simply canning:

Freezing Spinach
and other greens

What you choose to pack in is personal choice. I used quart size freezer bags. If you pack in freezer containers you will not be able to remove air as well and run the risk of freezer burn.

Freezer boxes work best for things that are frozen wet in a syrup. Spinach is frozen blanched and dry.

A quart of spinach is too much for us to use at a time. The way I like to freeze spinach is in smaller quantities, a cup or so.

I wrap those in inexpensive sandwich baggies then store several of these in a quart size or even gallon size freezer bags.

freezing spinach That way I still get the heavier plastic made for the freezer from the quart bags. But the smaller less expensive bags hold the amount we need.

I use fresh spinach in my green smoothies. I am going to try using the frozen spinach to make smoothies this winter when I am longing for fresh garden foods.
Freezing Spinach
First harvest your spinach early in the morning when it is at its freshest.

Rinse the spinach well. Sorting out any weeds, browned or damaged leaves or other things (bugs) that might have gotten mixed in.

Spinach will often have dirt hiding in its leaves so you need to rinse well. I'll rinse and drain several times before I am content that all dirt, bugs or dead leaves are taken care of.
freezing spinach rinsing
Spinach and other greens need to be blanched before freezing. This helps retain the color and nutrition.

Bring enough water to cover your spinach to a boil. I use my blancher but a large pot will work as well. When the water is boiling throw in the spinach.

freezing spinach blanching
Start timing right away for 2 minutes. As soon as time is up remove spinach to a bowl of very cold or even ice water.
freezing spinach cooling

This stops the cooking. The spinach will have reduced in mass somewhat but not as much as you might think.

The last step is to drain the spinach and dry. I have a salad spinner that I use to spin the water off. If you don't have one you can simple drain in a colander then spread out on paper towels and blot dry.

freezing spinach drain
My good friend Cindy has a great method of spinning her salad that I think would work here too. Drain your spinach then place in a tea towel. bring up the corners of the towel forming a sort of sack of spinach. Give it a whirl. Go ahead and spin it around. The water will be spun out into the towel.

Now package the spinach in whatever freezer containers you prefer. Here are my smaller baggies of spinach. I flatten the spinach out in the baggie and squeeze out as much air as possible.

freezing spinach baggies

Here is my labeled quart bag. It has 2 sandwich baggies inside with room for a couple more.

freezing spinach bag

Remove as much air as possible. Label, seal and freeze. Freezing spinach is super easy!

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