Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Preserving: Freezing Spinach

Do me a favor, please, and take a look at the top of this page where is says "Home, Who I Am, Preserving...."  This post along with all the other ones I will write this summer and fall that have to do with preserving will be found on the Preserving page (there are already several links there).  I am hoping this will be a resource for those of you who are interested in learning how to can and freeze produce this summer.  My goal is to show lots of pictures of the process along with step by step instructions.  Here we go!

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You have three choices when it comes to freezing spinach.  You can blanch it by plunging washed spinach in boiling water for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, then drain it well and freeze it.  You can steam spinach for about a minute, drain it and freeze it or you can choose the method I use which is to freeze spinach raw.

Blanching and steaming spinach wilts it and therefore saves on space if space is an issue for you.  I like freezing mine raw.  Even though it takes up a bit more space, there is very little prep work at both ends (prepping and using) and this is a good thing.

Green in the winter months is important.  I don't worry much about scurvy.  I worry about food boredom.  Spinach in the winter helps with that.

Freezing Spinach Raw (my version)


Place fresh spinach in a large bowl and cover with cold water.  Using your hands, pretend you are a washing machine and your spinach is the clothes.  Agitate the water to loosen the dirt and any insects still hanging around.  Drain and repeat.

 

Place a clean kitchen towel in another large bowl (or out on your counter).  Tear the spinach by the handfuls into small pieces, discarding any stems you come across.  Place the torn spinach on the towel.  Cover spinach with the towel and now pretend you are drying your child or dog's hair.  Don't worry if you scrunch it up.  Your goal is to get as much of the water off the spinach as you can.

 

Fill a gallon zip lock bag with the clean, torn and dried spinach.  Tap the bag on the counter to help it settle and go ahead and shove as much in as you can, like you're stuffing a feather pillow that you want firm.  Once the bag is full, close the bag almost all the way, then lay it flat and press out as much air as you can, like you're deflating an air mattress.  It's okay to press down on the spinach, too.  Now, zip it up and toss it in your freezer.


When you're ready to use it, don't thaw it first.  Reach in and pull out however much you need, then place the frozen spinach directly into soup or your saute pan for a quick cook (a few minutes on high heat is all it needs).  Add it to your favorite dish, dip, quiche, strata, crepe, shells...you get the idea. Pin It

21 comments:

  1. Excellent post, my sweet blogging friend! I used to can spinach but frozen spinach just tastes SO much better. Home-canned collard greens are yummy so it's a mystery as to the failure of canned spinach. Hmm...

    BTW, I'm thinking that I need to do a pressure canner giveaway one of these days. Do you think there would be any interest?

    Blessings,
    Lacy

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  2. I did my chard this way last year and my mom steamed hers. I've found that my unblanched/steamed chard has a sharper taste, more acidic and bitter and a bit like mold. Mom's steamed frozen chard tastes sweeter and more tender. Just a thought...

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  3. Oh hey thanks this is great to know, I always have blanched mine, Spinach and greens too, I am going to plant Spinach this fall along with our other greens , and Yes I freeze all my stuff, so this is coming in handy, thanks again, bless your day, Barbara from http://bakinnbitsbarbara.blogspot.com/

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  4. Lacy, I agree- frozen spinach tastes great. I think a pressure canner giveaway would go over wonderfully. I'm going to have to enter that one:-).

    JJ, As you know, I freeze my chard raw, too. We don't notice a bad taste at all. I'm sorry yours didn't turn out as well.

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  5. Great post! I have never frozen it raw. I'm going to have to do this, this year.

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  6. This is so good to know- I had no idea it was possible to freeze spinach w/out blanching or steaming first!
    BTW- I love your blog and check it regularly! Thanks for your great ideas and thoughts!

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  7. I love labor saving methods! Thanks for a great idea.

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  8. Thank you for this. You are going to save me from throwing out food I can't eat within a few days from my CSA.

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  9. Honestly, I didn't know that you could safely freeze it raw. I'm SO thrilled to read this post! I love your blog and have learned SO much. You inspire me to work harder and prepare for the winter months! Thank you and have a beautiful weekend!
    ~Mary

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  10. THHP, I love this idea! Do you need to double bag it or will it be okay with just one? I hate freezer burn!

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  11. Amy, I don't use double bags and I find no evidence of freezer burn:-).

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  12. Try drying your greens instead of freezing or canning. I've found them to be much tastier that way. Rehydrated spinach lightly sauteed tastes just like fresh. I save mine by vacuum sealing it in canning jars, which keeps it good for a long time. No need to blanch before drying. Enzymes require moisture to degrade food and are not activated when food is dessicated. Some veggies don't taste as good dried as frozen, but greens are great dried and that saves freezer space for other things that are better frozen.

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    Replies
    1. never thought about drying greens. Any tips would be helpful :) (oven vs. dehydrator, temperature, time, etc.)

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  13. had an early freeze here in Florida
    and need to save all I can from the winter garden. I have loads of lovely Italian
    Spinach and now I am going to freeze it ,
    thanks to you.
    Bev-OC Florida

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  14. How long does it last in the freezer? Thanks for the post

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    Replies
    1. I've used frozen spinach (this way) a year old and it's been fine. I haven't tried it much beyond it:-).

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  15. Love how you explain! Oh, just a tip...when your getting all the air out of the bag....insert a straw and inhale...gets more air out to enable longer freezer time. Take Care, God Bless! and thanx again!

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  16. I'm enjoying your blog! And I like that this takes so little prep! But what about when you use raw frozen spinach in a recipe that calls for the 10 oz. frozen package from the store since it's sold blanched?

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    Replies
    1. I just use it in place of the bought spinach. Generally, it will be cooked in the recipe (esp. in soups and casseroles), so it will become blanched during the cooking/baking process.

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  17. After you've pressed the freezer bag almost completely closed except for a tiny opening, insert a straw and draw out the rest of the air.

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  18. Thank you for this post. I make green smoothies phases and there have been times when I go onto something else and my spinach doesn't get used up. Now that I know that I can just freeze it I can have spinach on hand whenever the mood hits again :)

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Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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