Preserve the Harvest Series
Preserve the Harvest Series presents a new fruit or vegetable every Tuesday with the goal of helping you get the most out of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested during peak season. Whether you grow your own fruits and vegetables, buy them at the Farmer’s Market or your local grocery store, it is good to remember the best time to preserve your bounty is when it is plentiful. Preserving the harvest stocks your pantry shelves and freezer with whole foods that you can feel good about, foods that taste great, and this approach saves you money. A sane approach to sustainability! Next up…How to Freeze Spinach.
Let’s Talk Spinach
Spinach is a green leafy vegetable; high in vitamin C and rich in iron. It is a cool-season crop and can be grown in spring or fall. Once temperatures begin to soar, spinach will bolt (go to seed). Once bolting begins, the leaves tend to be bitter. For best results plant early in spring, or later in fall when the weather just begins to turn. Harvesting spinach can be done all at once; removing the whole plant at the base of its stem, or can be done as needed, by snipping off the leaves. Harvest early in the morning before the ground heats up to retain the most moisture content in your spinach leaves. Spinach deteriorates quickly so have a plan and know how to freeze your spinach as soon as possible after harvesting. For more information Gardening Know How: Picking Spinach-How to Harvest Spinach
How to Freeze Spinach
- Washing spinach leaves several times is very important to remove all dirt and debris prior to freezing. Place spinach in a sink full of water and rinse thoroughly. Drain, fill again with fresh water and repeat at least three times. There is nothing worse than grit when biting into a mouthful of spinach.
- Once washed, pick through leaves and remove any that are older, tough or none too fresh. These leaves can still be used to make a fabulous Pesto. After leaves are sorted, tear larger leaves into 2 to 3 inch pieces.
- Prepare ice bath for spinach. Fill sink with ice and add cold water. Important to plunge spinach into ice bath after allotted steam time to stop the cooking process.
- Place spinach leaves into steamer basket for large pan.
- Add about 1 -2 inches of water to a large pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, place steamer basket filled with spinach into pan, cover with lid and set timer for 2 minutes.
- Once timer goes off, immediately remove spinach from pan, place spinach into colander and plunge into ice bath.
- Allow spinach to cool for 3 minutes, remove from ice water bath, spin in salad spinner or blot dry on paper towels to remove excess water.
- Place spinach leaves in heavy duty freezer bag or a Vacuum Sealing System in 1 to 2 cup portions as desired. Remove as much air as possible from bag to prevent freezer burn.
- Date, label and freeze.
Spinach will keep for about 12 to 14 months when using a Vacuum Sealing System and about 10 to 12 months when using a heavy duty freezer bag.
How to freeze spinach Shared with:
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