Learn how to freeze spinach and store them for a long time.
About this recipe
Frozen vegetables that can be used directly in cooking are such time savers. Prepping ingredients is a great way to save time on busy days and is also a great option to save money. While frozen spinach is easily available in any grocery store, freezing fresh spinach at home is easier than you think.
Buy a big batch when they are abundant or grow your own spinach at home and freeze them to use throughout the year. So it is a great idea to blanch and freeze spinach during the harvesting season or when they are available in abundance in the market.
One pound of fresh spinach will give you around 10-12 oz of frozen spinach after cleaning and blanching. Fresh spinach should always be blanched before freezing. Fresh greens have enzymes in them that continue to break them down and the cooking process will deactivate these enzymes. If you freeze spinach without blanching, it should be used within 2-3 weeks.
In this post, I will share easy ways to freeze spinach for curries, smoothies, and dips. Follow these simple steps to freeze spinach when they are in season and use them as needed.
Health benefits of spinach
Spinach is one of the most common green leafy vegetables used around the world. It is an integral part of Indian cuisine and is used in so many ways.
Spinach is considered one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables and is a good source of iron for vegetarians and vegans. The raw leaves have vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and magnesium which helps support the immune system. It is also good if you are on a detox or cleansing diet. Spinach leaves also have high antioxidants and fiber.
Cut the roots and thick stem of the raw spinach. Take a large bowl of water and add the whole spinach leaves. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. This will help loosen and remove any trace of dirt or mud stuck to the leaves, which will settle down. Take the leaves out of the water.
Take a large pan or pot of water and bring it to a rolling boil. Fill a wide bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Keep it aside.
Add the spinach leaves to the boiling water and give them a good mix. Make sure all the leaves are fully immersed in water. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Carefully take the spinach out of the boiling water. Add it immediately to the large bowl of ice water. This will immediately stop the spinach from cooking any further.
Remove the cooled spinach and let it sit in a colander for 5 minutes to drain the excess water. Remove as much water as possible by squeezing the leaves with your hands. Place them on a cutting board and chop the blanched spinach. You can chop it finely into small pieces or coarsely as preferred.
Portion the spinach and divide it into the tin. Let it freeze for 4-5 hours.
Transfer the frozen cubes into a ziplock pouch or freezer bag and store them for up to 12 months.
How to freeze spinach for smoothies?
The best way to freeze spinach for smoothies is to puree them. The first step is to blanch them, however, there is no need to squeeze out all the water. Follow the steps above to blanch the leaves. Just drain the excess water by placing the blanched spinach in a colander.
Next, transfer it to a blender and blend it into a smooth puree. Add a little water only if needed. Transfer the pureed spinach into muffin tins or ice cube trays and freeze for 5-6 hours. Once they are set, transfer the spinach cubes from the ice tray to freezer-safe bags or a freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer. Frozen spinach puree can be used directly in spinach smoothies or other green smoothies without the need to defrost.
I like to use a muffin tin or large ice trays that hold about one oz of blanched spinach. This way, they are portioned and ready to use.
If you have access to a salad spinner, use it to drain excess water from the blanched spinach.
Transferring the blanched spinach to ice water immediately is an important step. This not only helps stop the cooking process but also helps preserve the bright color of the greens.
Fresh leaves, particularly baby spinach leaves, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Clean the spinach and dry them thoroughly. Place them in an airtight container along with paper towels and store them. This is the best option to use for a spinach salad or other fresh salads.
It is important to blanch the leaves if you want to store them for a longer time. Unblanched greens can be stored in the freezer for only up to 2-3 weeks.
Frozen greens may get freezer burns if they are exposed to air. However, they are safe to consume and can be used. The best option to avoid freezer burn is by removing as much air as possible from the freezer-safe bags before storing them in the freezer.
You can follow these instructions to freeze other greens like fenugreek leaves, swiss chard, or collard greens.
Recipes to try using frozen spinach
Here are some delicious recipes to use spinach straight from the freezer. They are also a great addition to pasta dishes, soups, stews, and more. Prepping and freezing spinach is the easiest way to include this healthy green vegetable in your diet.
It is highly recommended to blanch the spinach before freezing it, especially if you are planning to freeze it for a long time. The freezing process breaks the enzymes helping them stay fresh for a longer period. Unblanched spinach can be frozen for 2-3 weeks but anything over that needs blanching.
Yes. They can be used directly from the freezer without the need to defrost them.
This recipe to freeze spinach:
- is very easy to follow with full instructions,
- can be used for freezing other greens,
- includes different ways to use frozen spinach without defrosting.
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How to freeze spinach
- 2 bunch fresh spinach leaves or as needed
Prep the spinach:
- Cut the roots and thick stem of the spinach and discard.
- Take a large bowl of water and add the leaves. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes. This will help loosen and remove any dirt or mud stuck to the leaves, which will settle down. Wash the leaves thoroughly.
- Take the leaves out of the water.
- Take water in a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Fill a wide bowl with cold water and ice cubes. Keep it aside.
- Add the spinach leaves to the boiling water and give them a good mix. Make sure all the leaves are fully immersed.
- Let it sit for 2 minutes. Carefully take the spinach out of boiling water using a slotted spoon.
- Move them immediately to the ice-cold water. This will stop the spinach from cooking any further.
- Remove the cooled spinach and let it sit in a colander for 5 minutes. Drain any remaining water by squeezing the leaves with your hands.
- Place them on a cutting board and chop the blanched spinach. You can chop it finely or coarsely as preferred.
Freezing in muffin tins:
- Portion the spinach and place them in the muffin tin.
- Freeze for 4-5 hours. Transfer the frozen cubes into a ziplock pouch and store them for up to 12 months.
Freezing unblanched spinach:
- Wash and clean the spinach as mentioned above. Place it on a kitchen towel and let it dry.
- Transfer into a freezer-safe bag. Remove excess air from the bag and seal it.
- Place in the freezer and use within 2-3 weeks.