Freezing Spinach

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

The spinach is almost done before it started this year. We had such a short window of opportunity for spring that the spinach bolted very quickly. I’ve already frozen nine bags and we’ve eaten several meals from this year’s crop. We probably have another ten to twelve bags to freeze.

spinach beds 2012

spinach beds 2012

I told a friend I froze spinach, and she wondered what I did with frozen spinach. We eat it! We heat briefly in the microwave and serve as a side dish. We use it in recipes such as Greek pizza and lasagne – both recipes are included in my new book From Seed to Table. cover - lst draftI outlined the steps in From Seed to Table for freezing spinach starting with blanching it first. If you’d like to have the rest of the book on your Kindle, I’m offering the book for free on June 13 and 14. The regular price is $2.99. Here’s an excerpt on preparing spinach to freeze.

Blanching and freezing spinach

Note: the blanching steps may be followed for most vegetables with variation in the time the vegetable is in the boiling water. The recipe below preserves as much of the vitamins and taste as possible. Our frozen spinach is green and tastes “almost” like we’d just picked it.

  • Wash the leaves – Put the leaves in a sink of cold water and carefully wash off all dirt and grass. Put in colander to drain.
  • Chop the leaves – I didn’t do this last year, and I was sorry. While the spinach tasted great, it was a bit stringy. I chopped them into about 1-inch squares.
  • Blanch – Bring a big pot of water to boil and place one colander full of leaves into the water for two minutes.
  • Ice water bath – Submerge in ice water for another two minutes.
  • Place in colander in a large bowl or pot and let drain for a few minutes.
  • Put into freezer bag that is labeled and dated.

One colander full equals two servings and fits perfectly into a freezer sandwich bag. It’s fine if some water is in the bag – it’s probably better for the spinach.

blanching spinach

blanching spinach

 

 

Spinach: From ground to freezer in a few short steps

By P.C. Zick@PCZick

We froze twelve bags of spinach this morning – each bag contains two servings. Before we started the process, I had to seek out several sources to be reminded of how to do this correctly so spinach tastes almost fresh when thawed.

Four days ago, my husband picked the spinach. He waited for a dry day and picked late afternoon. The spinach was very dry, and he packed it in a grocery bag. He removed all the air before tying the bag shut. Then we placed it in a second bag and put it in the refrigerator. He did three bags this way. We couldn’t get to the next step until this morning, but because the spinach had been put away dry and without air, it was as fresh as when he picked it. It’s preferable to freeze right after picking, but if that is impossible (as it was for us this week), this is a good alternative.

Here’s the steps to preserving as much of the vitamins and taste as possible. Last year our frozen spinach tasted “almost” like we’d just picked it.

  1. Wash the leaves – Put the leaves in a sink of cold water and carefully wash off all dirt and grass. Put in colander to drain.
  2. Chop the leaves – I didn’t do this last year, and I was sorry. While the spinach tasted great, it was a bit stringy. I chopped them into about 1-inch squares.
  3. Blanch – Bring a big pot of water to boil and place one colander full of leaves into the water for two minutes.
  4. Ice water bath – Submerge in ice water for another two minutes.
  5. Place in colander in a large bowl or pot and let drain for a few minutes.
  6. Put into freezer bag that is labeled and dated.

One colander full equals two servings and fits perfectly into the sandwich bag size freezer bag. It’s fine if some water is in the bag – it’s probably better for the spinach. Last year we ended up with nineteen bags which lasted us until March.

We’ll probably get another dozen bags before the spinach growing season ends in the next few weeks. However, my husband is concerned because our weather has been very hot here in western Pennsylvania the last few days, and he believes the spinach could bolt and go to seed.

Time will tell, but at least we have those twelve bags of spring goodness ready to devour on a winter’s cold night in January.