Spinach has a relatively short shelf life, so keeping it fresh and available can be a challenge. Freezing spinach greatly extends its shelf life, so you can always have it on hand in your kitchen. But can you freeze spinach?
Yes, you can freeze spinach. In fact, it freezes quite well. Frozen spinach can be easily incorporated into a variety of dishes to add high nutritional value and very few calories.
It makes sense to freeze spinach as it extends its shelf life from just a week to up to 14 months. Because spinach needs to be prepared before freezing, it means you can work efficiently by preparing large batches at once. Once you portion the spinach into individual bags in the freezer, it’s ready to use when you’re ready to cook.
It’s important to note, however, that fresh spinach is crispy (similar to lettuce), while frozen spinach has a soggy, limp texture after freezing. This texture change is spinach’s response to cooking, so it won’t make a difference if you incorporate your frozen spinach into dips, soups, casseroles, and other cooked or baked dishes. It also shouldn’t matter if you enjoy eating plain boiled spinach as a side dish.
However, frozen spinach is not suitable for raw consumption. The limp texture of frozen spinach would be very different from the crisp, flaky texture you expect from raw spinach. So if you plan on using your spinach in a salad or as a burger topping, stick with buying fresh spinach. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to freeze spinach:
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How do you freeze spinach?
Prepare the spinach for blanching
Because spinach grows directly on the ground, it can be pretty messy when you buy it. Before freezing or consuming the spinach, it is important to wash it thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt. Simply dip the spinach in a bowl of water three times, changing the water in between. Once the spinach is clean, you can remove the stems and finely chop the spinach, if desired.
Blanching the spinach for freezing
Blanching spinach helps the leaves retain their green color and nutrients during the freezing process. It will also soften the texture of the spinach in the finished cooked dish. You will notice a significant volume loss from blanching. Typically, 10 to 12 cups of spinach yields 1 cup of blanched spinach.
To blanch the spinach, boil it in a saucepan of water on the stove for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the spinach with a colander or colander and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Leave it in the ice water for a few minutes until it has completely cooled.
Remove the spinach and use your hand to squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Portion the spinach into individual servings in an airtight container with a lid or in ziplock plastic bags. Blanched spinach will keep for 9 to 14 months when stored in the freezer.
If you plan to use the spinach within 6 months, you can skip blanching to save time. However, not blanching the spinach not only decreases its shelf life, it also degrades the texture of the spinach more.
How do you thaw frozen spinach?
Defrosting spinach is easy. If you plan your meals ahead of time, you can pop the frozen spinach straight into the fridge about a day or two before you need it. To speed up defrosting time, you can place the pouch in a bowl of warm water in your sink. The spinach should be completely thawed in an hour or two.
Another technique for defrosting spinach in a hurry is to drain the spinach into a mesh strainer and rinse with warm water. Use your fingers to separate any clumps. This process is incredibly fast and only takes a few minutes. Once the spinach is completely thawed, press the spinach in the colander with your hand to remove excess water.
It’s amazing how well spinach keeps in the freezer. Now that you know how to freeze spinach, why not buy this vegetable in bulk! There is absolutely no need to worry about wasting spinach if you keep your stash in the freezer.