You have a bag of baby spinach or a bunch of English spinach and you’re not going to eat it in time. The big question is…can you freeze spinach?
Read on for my 3 easiest methods to freeze spinach.
What is Spinach?
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Personally I only eat the baby spinach leaves raw as I find the taste of raw English spinach too bitter.
Can You Freeze Spinach?
As I mentioned above you can definitely freeze spinach.
It can be as simple as popping the spinach in the freezer.
Here are the step-by-step instructions of my 3 favorite EASY ways to freeze spinach that work for both baby spinach and English spinach (and basically any leafy greens like kale).
The first two are so easy and don’t require any boiling water, large bowls or a slotted spoon.
How to Freeze Spinach
the EASIEST Method
Place spinach in the freezer. Leave it in the bag.
How to Freeze Spinach
The 2nd EASIEST Method
Trim your fresh spinach leaves and discard the stems
Wash spinach and spin dry in a salad spinner or by wrapping in a tea towel.
Pile the leaves on top of one another to make a tall stack, then roll tightly into a cylinder. Slice leaves into 2cm thick (1in) ribbons.
Pack cut spinach into a ziplock bag or other freezer bags. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Seal and pop in the freezer.
3rd EASIEST Method
How to Freeze Spinach
- 1-2 bunches spinach or more or baby spinach
Bring a large pot of salted water about 2cm (1in) deep to a rolling boil.
Trim and discard the spinach stems. Pile the leaves on top of one another to make a tall stack, then roll tightly into a cylinder. Slice leaves into 2cm thick (1in) ribbons.
Add sliced leaves to the pot and recover. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the leaves are wilted,
Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water to cool and stop the cooking process. Squeeze as much water out as possible. Roll into golf ball shapes and place on a plate (or pack into ice cube trays).
Pop plate / tray in the freezer for 8 hours or overnight.
Once the spinach is frozen transfer to a ziplock bag. Keeps in the freezer for months.
Variations & Substitutions
different veg – kale, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, swiss chard, rainbow chard, or silverbeet. Adjust cooking time as needed. For greens with tougher stems like chard and kale I separate the stems and cook them for much longer before adding the leaves.
more flavour – add a seasoning to the cooking water or season drained cooked greens with soy sauce and rice vinegar.
lemony – season the cooked greens with lemon juice or grated lemon zest.
more nutritious – drizzle drained greens with extra virgin olive oil or melted butter to help with nutrient and polyphenol absorption.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – use more salt! I also like to season them with lemon juice or a splash of apple cider vinegar or some soy sauce before eating. Adding raw or cooked garlic or cooked onion can help too.
soggy – just squeeze with clean hands to remove the extra water. Or use paper towel.
too bitter – this depends on the type of greens. Seasoning with more salt can help mask bitterness. Tossing in some butter or olive oil can also help.
greens turning brown – next time make sure you use salt and a large pot of water. The salt helps keep the chlorophyll molecules intact (and the colour beautifully green). In some areas if the water is very hard (high mineral content) this can also cause browning. Using distilled water or filtered water will solve that problem.
How to Use Frozen Spinach
I like to cook it straight from frozen when I can. So I pop it in a hot pan and cover with a lid and cook until warm before using in my recipe. I often drain the defrosted spinach to remove the extra moisture before cooking. If you like a smoother texture you can puree the spinach either before or after cooking.
It’s fantastic in pasta dishes or with eggs. It’s the easiest way to make creamed spinach (my favorite veggie side dish for steak or roast salmon). And can be added to stews at the end of cooking to give some fresh greenness.
It’s also great to make green smoothies. Freeze in ice cube trays and then pop straight in your blender to give you pureed spinach. For a spinach smoothie recipe use this method with frozen cubes of spinach instead of the kale leaves.
Easy Frozen Spinach Recipes
- Frozen Spinach and Eggs (3-Ingredients)
- Creamed Spinach Recipe (2+ Ingredients)
- Easy Spinach & Feta Frittata
- Spinach, Ricotta & Pinenut ‘Pie’
- Spinach Soup with Smashed Feta & Walnuts
- Spinach Okonomiyaki
How long will frozen spinach last?
Will keep in the freezer for a good 12 month but you can get some ice crystals forming by then. Just thaw and wash or cook before eating so it doesn’t taste like the freezer.
Is it better to freeze spinach raw or cooked?
While you can freeze either, if you have time it’s better to cook the spinach first because cooked spinach compacts down into smaller balls so will take less space in the freezer. But if you’re short on time it’s perfectly fine to freeze raw spinach.
Can you freeze fresh spinach without blanching?
Absolutely! The only problem with this approach is that it takes more space in the freezer. To mitigate this, squashing the fresh spinach into a freezer-safe bag (to avoid freezer burn) and squeezing out as much air as possible is the best approach.
Is it OK to freeze bagged spinach?
YES YES YES! The only down side is it takes up lots of freezer space. And some bags won’t be freezer safe so your frozen spinach may end up with freezer burn if you leave it for months. But for short periods of time it will bee fine.
Can you freeze uncooked spinach?
Yes you don’t have to cook spinach before freezing. The only problem is that uncooked spinach takes up much more space in your freezer.
Is spinach healthier raw or blanched?
In my opinion cooked spinach is healthier because it has lower levels of oxalates. Oxalates interfere with calcium absorption so if you’re concerned about bone health this is important.
Cooked spinach also has the benefit of reducing any mirco organisms on the leaves. Both cooked and raw spinach contain the same fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium and iron. But the down side of cooked spinach is you lose some of the heat sensitive nutrients like Vitamin C. While I do eat some raw baby spinach I eat cooked frozen spinach more often.
What’s the best way to thaw frozen spinach?
You can just remove it from the freezer and let it that naturally but this takes ages. My favourite method is to put it in a pan on a high heat. Cover and stir every few minutes until the spinach is defrosted. The other option is to place the frozen spinach in a large bowl and cover with boiling water from the kettle and let it stand for a few minutes. You may need to repeat a few times to get the spinach completely defrosted.
Have FUN in the kitchen!
PS. If you have more questions just email me email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you.