Freezing spinach or any leafy greens is so very easy. I may be one of the few people in the world who really LIKE green smoothies. A spinach smoothie with a big handful of spinach in the blender, top it off with some orange juice and sweeten just a bit. A fresh and healthy feeling is what I get from this puree smoothie.
I use fresh spinach in my green smoothies. Frozen spinach available in the winter to make smoothies may just satisfy my longing for fresh foods when the snow is flying and I am longing for fresh garden foods.
First, harvest your spinach. The best time to do this is early in the morning when it is at its freshest. Spinach will be crispier and fresher before the heat of the day hits it.
You can harvest spinach by cutting or pinching off the larger leaves, or cutting the whole plant 2 inches or so above the ground. The plant will grow new leaves, and you can harvest it again in a few weeks.
Rinse the spinach well in cold water, sorting out any weeds, browned or damaged leaves, or other things (bugs) that might have gotten mixed in.
Spinach will often have dirt hiding in its leaves, so you need to rinse well. I’ll rinse and drain several times before I am content that all dirt, bugs, or dead leaves are taken care of.
Blanching Spinach for Freezing
Spinach and other greens need to be blanched before freezing. This helps retain the color and nutrition.
Bring enough water to cover your spinach to a boil. I use my blancher, but a large pot will work as well. When the water is boiling, throw in the spinach and use a spoon to lightly push the spinach down so it is all down in the water.
Place the lid on to hold in any steam. Start timing right away for 2 minutes.
So the question is asked: What happens if you freeze spinach without blanching?
Actually not a whole lot. Blanching definitely does help the spinach last longer in the freezer. But many people swear by just freezing spinach raw and unblanched. If you freeze it without blanching the spinach may get freezer burn or turn brown in the freezer. But this spoilage will be noticeable when you take it out to thaw.
I recommend blanching, but it is not the end of the world if you don’t.
Cooling Blanched Spinach
As soon as the time is up, remove spinach leaves to a bowl of very cold or even ice water.
This stops the cooking. The spinach will have reduced in mass somewhat, but not as much as you might think.
Draining & Drying Spinach Before Freezing
The last step is to drain the spinach and dry it. I have a salad spinner that I use to spin the water off. If you don’t have one, you can simply drain it in a colander, then spread it out on paper towels and blot dry.
My good friend Cindy has a great method of spinning her salad that I think would work here too. Drain your spinach, and then place it in a tea towel. Bring up the corners of the towel, forming a sort of a sack of spinach. Give it a whirl. Go ahead and spin it around. The water will be spun out into the towel.
How to Freeze Spinach
For freezing spinach, freezer bags are a very easy way to pack them for the freezer.
What you choose to pack in is a personal choice but I do recommend considering freezer bags for greens.
If you pack in freezer containers, you will not be able to remove air as well and run the risk of freezer burn. Freezer boxes work best for things that are frozen wet in a syrup. Spinach is frozen blanched and dry.
Freezing in freezer bags
My favorite method to store spinach is in freezer bags. I’ll put portions in inexpensive sandwich bags. Then store several of these smaller portions in quart-size or even gallon-size freezer bags. That way, I still get the heavier plastic made for the freezer from the quart bags. But the smaller, less expensive bags hold the amount we need to thaw.
I usually package about a cup of spinach per bag. You can choose more or less. Think about how you usually use spinach and how much you will use at a time. Then package accordingly.
Here is my labeled quart bag. It has 2 sandwich baggies inside with room for a couple more. I sometimes use a gallon freezer bag and can freeze several smaller packages together.
Remove as much air as possible. Label, seal, and freeze. Freezing spinach is super easy!
Freezing in Ice Cube Trays
Another method to store frozen spinach if you need really small amounts would be to use ice cube trays. Just fill each little section with your blanched spinach. Put this in the freezer until frozen then pop out frozen cubes of spinach and store in a freezer bag. This would be a great option if you want small amounts.
I can see these spinach cubes working well for smoothies. Or if you just want to sneak some extra vegetables and good nutrients in a stew, soup or sauce of some sort.
- Freezer bags/containers
- Large pot and basket or blancher
- Salad spinner (optional)
- Rinse spinach well.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Put spinach into boiling water for 2 minutes.
- Remove spinach to a bowl of ice water and let cool.
- Drain and dry spinach.
- Place in freezer bags/containers.
- Remove air, seal, and label.
Last Updated: 6/3/2021
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can freeze spinach and kale is frozen just like any other leafy green.
This is a subjective question that is pretty difficult to answer. Freezing does change the texture of your greens. It will be soft. To me, fresh spinach is always best, with freezing being the best option for storage. The texture of frozen spinach is much better IMO than canned spinach.
If you mean a bag of spinach from the grocery store. Yes, you can do it just the same as with fresh spinach. But, keep in mind this spinach is not nearly as fresh. So watch closely for any withered leaves or spoilage. Freezing is not going to make the spinach any better than it is when it goes in the freezer.
Canning greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, or beet greens is easy. Find full instructions for a variety of greens in a pressure canner.
Freezing herbs like basil, oregano, sage, and parsley are all covered in our free guide on preserving your spices fresh all winter long. Pick up some new skills at SimplyCanning.com.
Freezing peas fresh from the garden, while keeping nutrition and color intact, is a simple process anyone can master. Directions for shelled and unshelled are included at SimplyCanning.com.
Pin This to Find Later!
Page last updated: 5/3/2022