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Freezing Spinach Leaves

Posted on June 07 2019

Freezing Spinach Leaves

Can you freeze spinach? You definitely can, and the result serves fabulous flavor when you start with freshly picked leaves. You won’t be able to serve the thawed product in fresh salads, but frozen spinach is versatile in the kitchen. Preserve spinach from your garden and use it throughout the year. Eating healthy and saving money…a win, win.

 

Freezing Spinach From The Garden

First you need to harvest your fresh spinach from your garden. This is best done before the spinach bolts. Bolting means a plant has gone to seed, and spinach can bolt due to water stress from too little water, too much heat in its final stages of growth and with too much sun. As the days become longer and warmer during the end of spring or early summer, spinach plants send up flower stalks. It’s best to pick the spinach just before this occurs. Some varieties of spinach have long stems before the main leaf. Many sources recommend cutting off the stems. As long as the spinach is harvested before it bolts too far, the stems will be tender and not stringy so you can leave them on if you prefer. Once a large batch of leaves have been picked and the stems removed (optional), then the larger leaves should be torn up to about the size of a quarter to a silver dollar (1″ to 2″ in diameter). The leaves can then be washed and dried.

 

Blanching Spinach

Blanching your spinach is vital if you are going to successfully freeze them. By blanching you get crisper vegetables, there is better retention of their original color and you keep more nutrients. It also destroys any surface bacteria.

See below for a guide on blanching times for other vegetables as well.

 

Vegetable Blanching Times

Vegetable

Blanching Time

Globe Artichoke

 7-10 minutes

Asparagus

 3 minutes

Aubergines

 4 minutes

French beans

 2 minutes

Borlotti Beans

2.5 minutes

Broad Beans

 3 minutes

Runner Beans

2-3 minutes

Beetroot

 3 minutes

Broccoli

 4 minutes

Brussel Sprouts

 3 minutes

Cabbage

 3 minutes

Carrots

3 minutes

Cauliflower

3 minutes

Celeriac

3 minutes

Kohlrabi While

3 minutes

Kohlrabi Diced

1 minute

Marrows

2 minutes

Leeks

 2 minutes

Peas – Green

90 seconds

Peas – in the Pod

90 seconds

Peppers – Sweet

not necessary to blanch

Potatoes – Irish (New)

3 - 5 minutes

Rutabagas

3 minutes

Soybeans – Green

5 minutes

Spinach

2 minutes

Squash – Summer

3 minutes

Turnips

3 minutes

 

Freezing Spinach Without Blanching

Freezing spinach without blanching involves steaming the spinach leaves. Bring the water up to a rapid boil, then use a steam rack to elevate the leaves above the water and steam for three minutes. At the end of the steaming, it is a good idea to rapidly cool the leaves in ice, just like in blanching to stop them from cooking further. Keep in mind that the less time they spend in the water, the fewer vitamins they’ll leach.

 

How to Freeze Fresh Spinach

Prior to freezing fresh spinach leaves, it’s best to vacuum seal them. The more oxygen you can remove from the packaging, the longer the spinach leaves will last and they’ll retain more nutrition. Oxygen, light, and heat are the three main enemies of long term food storage. The freezer will take care of the light and heat, but it’s up to you to remove as much oxygen as possible, prior to freezing.

 

You can find additional information about vacuum sealing fresh vegetables here

 

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