Bringing in the Sheaves… Freezing Homegrown Spinach

June 8th, 2009

My spinach has been growing gangbusters.

Fearing that the warmer weather might cause my spinach crop to bolt…

…like my arugula did.

I decided I better go ahead and harvest most of it and see if I could figure out how to ‘put it up’.

I collected enough spinach to fill a tall kitchen trash bag.

I set the bag into the sink and filled it with water, letting the spinach soak for a while to loosen the dried on dirt.

The boys helped me to remove the stems and any unwanted bits and pieces.


I set up an assembly line on the island.

Here we have cleaned spinach, boiling water, and a large container filled with ice and water.


I placed the clean spinach in the boiling water for one minute, which is called ‘blanching’ because that makes you sound smart and gives you an edge on confusing the heck out of people.

I found several recipes for freezing spinach, and they all had different recomendations for how long to ‘blanch’ your spinach. Some said two minutes, some said thirty seconds, some spoke of enzymes and some spoke of nutrient leaching. I finally gave up on finding a cook time that was predominant, and went with an average… one minute. My spinach will probaby have both bad enzymes and nutrient leaching. I just hope it tastes alright.

After one minute I removed the spinach from the boiling water…

…and placed it in an ice bath.

The ice bath stops the spinach from cooking, which also stops the enzymes from ‘enzyming’ and also stops the nutrients from leaching.

I left my spinach in the ice bath until I had processed all the spinach.

I labeled my freezer bags.

I then drained the spinach and loaded up the bags.

Two small freezer bags.

That is all that came from a trash bag full of spinach.

That stuff cooks down… way down!

I can’t wait to try this out in a batch of spanakopita!

Comments

  • Ain’t it funny how that happens with spinach?

    Great photos! Worth the bajillion $?

  • I guess it’s worth the $2.49 to buy the frozen stuff at the grocery store. ;)

  • jamoody:

    I had no idea it would cook down THAT much. WOW!!!

  • I had no idea you could freeze spinach. Then what do you do with it?? I’ve only ever eaten it fresh.

  • Wow- your spinach crop is amazing!! And it looks delicious, to boot!

  • Nancy in PA:

    I’m jealous of your spinach Rechelle!! I’m laughing though because my arugala looks EXACTLY like yours! I’m getting concerned over the look of my tomatoes though…a bit wilty with some black dots on leaves…

  • Oh, I’m having visions of my favorite spinach artichoke dip already – and my mouth is watering! Yummy!

    Nice job!

  • YUM!! Love how the boys helped. :)

  • WHEN YOU TAKE THE SPINACH OUT OF THE ICE BATH IT HELPS IF YOU PUT IT IN THE SALAD SPINNER AND GIVE IT A WHIZ TO
    REMOVE ALL THE WATER. YOU WON’T HAVE ICE CRYSTALS WHEN
    YOU THAW IT OUT.

  • Sandy:

    Wow, good for you Ms. Greenthumb! I am impressed the boys are helping as well. How did you get them to do it??:)

  • The same thing happened with me & beets. I thought I had tons & only had 3 pints after pickling. Next year, we both need to plant more!

  • Haha, I do that with my GIANT Costco bags of baby spinach. Wait isn’t that an oxymoron? Giant Baby? Like Jumbo Shrimp? Anyway..I blanch it and freeze it and my husband always says “hey you shrank the spinach.” That Kahuna is quite the card.

  • Awesome! Maybe next year I’ll have to try spinach… along with everything else I want to try. My husband better beware of my gardening addiction.

  • Now that is totally wonderful! Thank you!

  • jamoody:

    I forgot to say that I love the heading….I’ve been singing that song in my head since I read this post…

  • I used to think this song was “Bringing in the Sheets”!! I remember they would sing it on Little House on the Prairie all the time.

    You’re frozen spinach is a great idea…I love the stuff. I put it on veggie pizzas all the time!

  • I just finished poaching some chicken breasts. With this out of the ordinary cool weather, I’ll fire up the oven and make spinach, chicken, and feta pizza. Yummy!

    Clever title.

  • This is really great to know, Rechelle! Thanks for posting. Of course, I think I’ll end up with probably one bag all summer, but you never know…

  • Melissa:

    It is so worth it to grow your own veggies, especially spinach because it is one of the worst as far as herbicides goes when commercially grown. Also, last time I went to buy organic spinach, it was from China of all places. When I bough tfrozen broccolli last week, I saw that it was from Guatemala! The veggies have traveled way more than me.