Congrats! You’ve finally decided to start eating healthy. You buy lots of spinach for your first green smoothie, only to find them slimy and wilted the next day. If you spend more time throwing away your spinach than actually eating them, you might want to reconsider your method of storing spinach. Freezing is the easiest and most common way of food preservation. But can you freeze spinach?
You definitely can! Putting leaves inside your freezer may seem a bit odd at first, but you will soon see the benefits of freezing spinach far outweigh the disadvantages.
Freezing spinach is a hassle-free way of storing and keeping them fresh. When put in the freezer, the leaves will remain edible for at least a month instead of just a few days in the fridge. This means that you won’t have to throw away spoiled produce anymore.
Can You Freeze Spinach?
There are several factors that affect the shelf-life of spinach. The date when you purchased it, how you prepared the spinach, and your storage method influence how long your spinach remains edible.
Contrary to popular belief, freezing food can actually be more nutritious than storing it in room temperature. A study conducted in 2007 by the University of California Davis observed that spinach stored at room temperature lost 13 grams of ascorbic acid from its original 17 grams in just two days compared to the frozen spinach which was able to retain 14 grams of ascorbic acid in the same time period. They concluded that the flash-freeze process enabled the spinach to keep its vitamins longer than the fresh spinach.
Blanching the spinach makes nutrients easier to absorb but you can also store unblanched spinach. If you intend to use your spinach solely for liquid recipes, you may also freeze spinach puree and put it in an ice cube tray.
You can also start buying in bulk since you won’t have to worry about it wilting the next day. Storing your spinach in the freezer makes smoothie-making a lot easier and faster. You can save both time and money just by freezing your spinach.
All food will last for a shorter time when they are not stored properly. Like any other food, spinach usually has a best before date but no expiration date. This gives you more freedom in choosing when to consume it even after the best before date has lapsed, thus allowing you to store the spinach for long periods.
Spinach can last 10 to 12 months in the freezer but you must not let it stay in the freezer longer than that or the leaves will start to become dry and brittle. Overstaying in the freezer may also lead to freeze burn and affect its nutritional value.
How to Freeze Spinach
Freezing spinach may be a simple process but it still entails careful preparation for the food to last longer and retain most of its nutrients. Here are the important steps in freezing spinach:
- Use fresh spinach. It is recommended to use newly-harvested ones as stale spinach may not last long even if you put it in the freezer.
- Rinse the spinach thoroughly. Wash the leaves and remove any stalks.
- You may blanch the spinach to delay nutrient loss but this is optional. Unblanched spinach can also be frozen. If you want to blanch it, just submerge the fresh spinach in boiling hot water for about two minutes then wash it with cold water before putting in a container.
- Remove excess water before putting it in a food bag or plastic container. Make sure that the container is sealed airtight.
- Write the date of purchase on the container to help you keep track of the time. Remember, you should not let the spinach stay in the freezer for too long or it will dry out.
- Put the container in the freezer.
- When thawing, keep the container sealed tightly and only open it just before you use it. Frozen spinach does not need any rinsing before use since you have already cleaned it before freezing.
If you froze your spinach in an ice cube tray, you might want to check out this frozen spinach pop. You could use it to make your smoothies thicker and healthier. It’s also a convenient way of incorporating spinach into your diet.
Frozen spinach cups are also easy to make. You can add these to your protein shake to add more consistency while also adding essential vitamins and nutrients to your diet.
If you want to try a new dish, you might want to try these ramekins using frozen spinach. Served individually, these ramekins could be served as starters.