Freeze spinach: Here’s what you need to watch out for

Frozen spinach
Frozen spinach

Of course, spinach tastes best when freshly harvested, but in the refrigerator the leafy vegetable can only be kept for about two or three days. If you want to enjoy the healthy leaves from your own garden even weeks after harvesting, you should definitely freeze the spinach. With these tips, the flavor will be preserved.

Freeze spinach: Step-by-step instructions

After harvesting, wash the spinach thoroughly. Before the leafy vegetables can go into the freezer, they must be blanched. To do this, cook the spinach in boiling water for three minutes and then transfer it to ice water. Then squeeze out excess water and blot the leaves with a kitchen towel. Stowed in the container of your choice, the spinach can now move to the freezer.

Blanching spinach: How to prepare the vegetables properly before freezing it

Now that you’ve freshly harvested the spinach, it’s time to preserve it. First, wash the fresh leaves thoroughly. Then they are blanched so that bacteria cannot convert the nitrate they contain into nitrite, which is harmful to health. In addition, thanks to blanching, the leaves remain juicy green. You should not freeze the leaves raw.

To blanch, prepare a bowl with water and ice cubes and bring a pot with enough water to a boil. Add the spinach leaves to the boiling water and cook for about three minutes. The pot should not be covered during this process. Once the spinach has “collapsed”, lift the leaves out with a skimmer and place them in the ice water so that the leafy vegetable cools as quickly as possible. In this way, the cooking process is interrupted.

Do not add too much spinach to the water at once. The water would otherwise take longer to boil again. In addition, valuable nutrients in the vegetable would be lost. If you want to freeze a lot of spinach, it’s best to also replace the ice water alongside to keep it properly cool.

How to freeze spinach properly

Once the spinach has cooled, you can freeze it. Since spinach is 90 percent water, be sure to eliminate excess liquid in advance. This is because the more water that remains in the leafy greens before freezing, the mushier they will be after thawing. Carefully squeeze out the liquid with your hands and pat the leaves well with the help of a kitchen towel.

Whether whole, chopped or minced, the spinach leaves now go into the freezer, packed airtight in freezer bags or cans. You can also freeze spinach that has already been prepared. However, this should have already been cooled in the refrigerator before it moves to the freezer. Frozen spinach has a shelf life of about 24 months. After thawing, it should be processed directly.

Reheating spinach – what you should bear in mind

Spinach can be stored and reheated after cooking. However, cooked spinach should not simply be left in the kitchen. Because it contains nitrate, which can be converted by bacteria into dangerous nitrite, you should store prepared spinach in the refrigerator. For adults, the converted amounts of nitrite are usually harmless, but they can be dangerous for babies and young children. Important: If you reheat the spinach the following day, you should heat it to above 70 °C / 158 °F ​for at least two minutes before eating it.

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