Spinach is a vegetable all of us love. This healthy and nutritious vegetable is related to many others. It is raw and cooked, and its culinary uses are vast, ranging from salads and sauces to pasta and pizzas. When you buy spinach, you often end up with leftovers that most of us freeze in the freezer for future use.
But when you freeze spinach, its texture and consistency change. So if it is not properly frozen and thawed, it will taste rancid and unpalatable. Now, how to thaw frozen spinach correctly? Today I shall teach you about freezing spinach and using the frozen spinach properly and effectively.
How to Freeze Spinach?
Spinach can be frozen effectively in two ways, directly and after blanching.
Freezing Spinach Directly
To freeze spinach directly, there are a few steps you need to follow. They are:
- Clean the spinach to remove any dirt and foreign objects from it.
- Next, pat them dry with kitchen towels to remove excess moisture.
- Next, you need to portion the spinach. You may use a salad spinner as well.
- If your portions are big, then use zip lock bags. Place the spinach in the ziplock bags, squeeze as much air out of the bag as you can and freeze it.
- If your portions are small, I suggest you use an ice cube tray or any silicone mold trays you may own. Chop up the spinach lightly, pack them in the mold/tray, and freeze them.
Freezing Spinach After Blanching
To freeze spinach after blanching it, follow these steps.
- Boil some water in a large pot.
- Take a bowl of cold water and ice cubes to make a super cold mixture and have it ready.
- Take your spinach, dump it in the boiling water for a minute or two, and then scoop it out.
- Scoop out the blanched spinach and shock them immediately in the ice-cold water.
- Next, take the blanched and shocked spinach out and follow the steps mentioned above to freeze the spinach.
When you blanch spinach, it helps the spinach retain its wonderful green color and remain fresh inside the freezer for a longer period. Unblanched frozen spinach will last for up to 6 months, while blanched and frozen spinach will last for up to a year in the freezer.
You can use this method to store kale as well.
Now that you know how to freeze spinach properly, let’s move on to seeing how to use the frozen spinach properly.
How to Use Frozen Spinach?
Frozen spinach can be used both directly and after thawing. Now you may be wondering when to use it directly and when to thaw it. Let me give you an idea.
When to use frozen spinach directly without thawing?
You can use frozen spinach directly without thawing when you are making these kinds of dishes:
- Baked dishes
Any dish that has a long cooking or baking time can be made with frozen spinach directly,
When to use frozen spinach after thawing?
You need to thaw out your frozen spinach before usage to make these kinds of dishes:
Anything that is stuffing or filling or has little cooking time should be made with thawed spinach. Not just thawed, the excess moisture released by the thawed spinach must also be removed as it may very well ruin the dish.
How to Thaw Frozen Spinach?
Frozen spinach can be thawed in multiple ways as well.
Fastest Ways to Thaw Frozen Spinach
(a) With water
To thaw spinach using warm water, take your frozen spinach out and dump them in some hot water in a bowl. Let them soften up and melt and then strain them off.
Similarly, you can place them in a strainer and run them through hot water or even regular temperature water until they are no longer frozen.
However, always pat them dry or use a salad spinner to remove the excess water from them.
This is the fastest method for thawing the spinach.
(b) In the microwave
The best and quickest way to thaw your spinach is using the microwave oven.
Place the frozen spinach on a tray or bowl and microwave it for 1-2 minutes to thaw it.
Or use the defrost feature of the oven and input the vegetable option and an estimated weight of the spinach and defrost it.
Easiest Ways to Thaw Frozen Spinach
(a) Using the refrigerator
Using the refrigerator is the easiest way to thaw frozen spinach. Take out your desired portion of frozen spinach. Place it in a bowl, or if it’s in a bag, then place it directly in the refrigerator while it’s still in the bag. Let it stay there overnight. In the morning, you will wake up to find perfectly thawed-out spinach.
(b) Outside the refrigerator
This is another easy yet slow method for thawing frozen spinach. Take the frozen spinach, place it in a bowl, and cover it. Let it sit in a cool dark corner of your kitchen counter or pantry till they are thawed out.
Also, you can place them on a colander, cover them, and place it in the sink. As the spinach thaws out, all the liquid released will drain automatically.
Spinach is a superfood. Its health benefits are unusually high, considering it is a simple plant with green leaves. Who would’ve thought that such a simple plant could be so tasty and healthy that it exceeds our expectations? So eat more spinach and get strong and healthy. If you need more motivation to eat spinach, remember this line by our beloved Popeye the Sailor Man’s theme song, “I’m strong to the finich, Cause I eats me spinach.”