How to Freeze Fresh Spinach
The best way to freeze those leaves while they're still fresh.
By Leah Brickley for Food Network Kitchen
Spinach has a short shelf life. And bags and bunches can be bulky in the fridge. Rather than lose your greens or your precious fridge space, fill your freezer with some Popeye-approved greens that will last months.
First, the most important thing is that you should not freeze fresh spinach leaves. The enzymes in raw spinach will stay active, continuing to break down the leaves unless you flash-freeze them at a temperature lower than a household freezer can accomplish. With that in mind, quickly cook down your greens, and you’ll have access to a nutritious meal in minutes.
Here are steps on how to properly cook and freeze fresh spinach leaves.
Tip: 1 pound of fresh spinach will cook down to approximately 1 unsqueezed cup.
- Large pot
- Large bowls
- Plenty of ice cubes
- Large slotted spoon
- Paper towels or clean kitchen towels
- Freezer-safe resealable bags
- Permanent marker
For regular spinach: remove any roots, pluck off thick stems and wash away any grit. Submerge the leaves in a bowl of water to loosen stubborn dirt, which should fall to the bottom.
Baby spinach doesn’t require any extra prep — it’s ready to go.
If you purchased prewashed spinach, you do not need to wash it again.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set somewhere near the stove top.
Drop large handfuls of spinach into the water, give a good stir to fully submerge the leaves. Cook until all the spinach is bright green, about 2 minutes. Scoop the spinach out with a large slotted spoon and shock it with a dunk into the ice water. Bring the water back to a boil. Remove the cooled spinach from the ice water and squeeze it dry with clean hands. Transfer to a separate large bowl. Repeat until all spinach is cooked.
Lay out a single layer of paper or clean dish towels and spread the cooked spinach over. Blot dry with another layer of towels.
Label freezer-safe resealable bags of any size with the date in permanent marker.
Divide the cooked and dried spinach among the labeled bags, filling approximately 2/3 of the way up. Roll the bags up, pressing out as much air as possible and seal.
Freeze for up to 3 months.
Add to a soup or stew frozen — there's no need to thaw — though the leaves may add some extra liquid.
For everything else, thaw the spinach overnight in the fridge or thaw in a bowl by running cold water over the bag until thawed. Squeeze out excess moisture.
Here are some great spinach recipes:
Spinach is a fast-growing, cool-season vegetable that can be harvested in as little as a month after you plant it. Grow a bountiful crop with these tips from the experts at HGTV.