A few years back we had a bumper crop of Spinach. The yield filled our bath tub and more. I wish I had saved the method we used but I don’t mind the challenge of a new recipe hunt. The idea of eating spinach that had been frozen was foreign to me until I went to Italy and stayed with my mate Walker’s family near Venice. Missy was making a quick pasta for the children and took out a frozen bag of green and I asked what it was. Since then our family has cottoned onto this great way to serve up garden fresh spinach all year.
Here are a couple of methods I just plucked from my research.
Method 1-Nuke (Kaleigh won’t like it)
The best way to preserve spinach for winter use is to freeze it. Rinse the leaves well, place them in a resealable plastic bag and blanch them in the microwave (600-700 watts) for 1 minute, then place in the freezer. Spinach loses too much of its vitamin content if you blanch it in boiling water.
This is what I did last time. About a minute under steam and then into the bag. Worked well but I have just discovered a better method, I hope.
Method 3-Freeze Raw Skinny Dip
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).
If you are interested in the history of Spinach Colorado State has a great tribute to Popeye’s favourite in tribute-2002 The Year of the Spinach