eat more spinach!

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.

10 Comments

  • 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…

  • Bonita Stutzman

    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.

  • Kathie

    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.

  • Cat

    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.

      • Cat

        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.

    • Jennifer Jo

      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?)

      • Cat

        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.

  • Mama Pea

    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!

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