I usually keep a couple cartons of frozen chopped spinach on hand, but getting it from freezer to cook pot always feels like a bit of a production.
First, it needs to thaw, and since it’s basically a block of green ice, that takes awhile. Then the soggy spinach has to be squeezed and drained, which kinda makes a mess of my strainer and sink. And then, since by that point the spinach has turned into a solid baseball-sized lump, I have to break it into little pieces again. It’s not a terrible problem — and it’s certainly easier than growing and blanching it — but it is a deterrent.
Enter my latest brilliant idea: to do the frozen spinach prep — in bulk!
Here’s how it goes. I thaw a whole bunch of boxes all at the same time, do the drain-squeeze-shred thing, and then I place the bits of shredded spinach on a parchment-lined baking tray and flash freeze it. Once frozen, I re-package the spinach into zip-lock bags and re-freeze. Stored like so, I can grab as much (or as little) spinach as I want, and on a whim, too.
I’m loving the upgrade. Now that I’ve got spinach that’s accessible and easy (and cheap!), I pop it into white sauces, soups, quiches, scrambled eggs, whatever! Next up, green smoothies with frozen spinach. (I always thought one needed fresh spinach for smoothies, but I just took a quick whirl around the internets and learned that, according to some, frozen spinach is even better than fresh. Who knew!)
I realize my excitement might seem a little outsized — this is just spinach, after all — but it’s the little things. And spinach at the ready all the time is pretty darn awesome.
This same time, years previous: milk, anzac biscuits, with my children, stages of acting, the quotidian (5.4.15), the quotidian (5.5.14), creamy avocado macaroni and cheese, rhubarb diaquiri.
Pauline in Upstate NY
Look in the frozen veg section for *bagged* chopped spinach. This will be loose-packed, so you can shake out whatever you need, and you’re good to go. I buy it at Wegman’s locally, and it’s so convenient…
I buy 1 lb. Costco size organic spinach and throw it in the chest freezer. Every morning I scoop out loose spinach leaves for smoothies. My fresh spinach never goes bad on me when I freeze it.
Sounds like an excellent idea. I do something similar with tomato paste. I know you can buy tubes it’s less expensive to spoon out tablespoons of it from a can or two onto wax or parchment paper and flash freeze it. Then I “m prepared for all those pesky recipes that call for one or two tbsp.
I don’t know if it’s cheaper than buying frozen, but i just buy the giant bags of fresh spinach and throw them in the freezer. Already separated since they freeze individually almost and easy to pull out the amount as needed. I don’t even bother thawing for smoothies, throw a handful of frozen in and done. It’s also really easy to crush when frozen like that.
Thrift at Home
Cat, that is so cool. I bet I could do that with my homegrown stuff when we have more than we can eat. . . “they” always say that *not* blanching means the stuff doesn’t freeze well, but what the heck?! Sounds like it works well with your method.
I didn’t even know that blanching was a thing for spinach. lol, it’s been working just fine for me throwing fresh stuff in and freezing it. Haven’t had it go bad yet.
Good idea! (But I always pick through the fresh bags of spinach because there’s usually a couple soggy-rotten pieces — and rotten spinach is BAD. Have you had any issues with that?)
I haven’t had any issues yet! I just look for the freshest bag and pop them in the freezer as soon as I get home from the store.
No, your excitement is not outsized because now I’m excited! What a fantastic idea for dealing with those frozen blocks. I grow a lot of fresh spinach and while it’s in season we gobble it up, but I don’t go through the hassle of blanching and freezing it for winter consumption. So I think from now on I won’t hesitate to buy it frozen for winter’s use. Thanks!
Pop-eye would love you. Great idea and love your excitement for these things!