Last Updated on October 13, 2022
Can you freeze spinach? You certainly can! Freezing spinach is a snap, one of the easiest beginner food preservation projects. Here’s how to freeze spinach when it’s fresh from the garden or farm to enjoy long after the season ends.
WHY TO CONSIDER FREEZING SPINACH
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself with a surplus of fresh spinach, don’t let any of it go to waste! Learn how to freeze spinach and pop it in your freezer to enjoy later in your favorite smoothie recipes or go-to soups. Frozen spinach works well in this healthy yogurt dip and is a great addition to this delicious white bean soup recipe.
Spinach’s mild flavor makes it a natural for working in some extra nutrition to everyday recipes. A little spinach here and there will add fiber, potassium, vitamin A, and other beneficial nutrients.
Whether you grow spinach in your garden or buy it at the grocery store, spinach is one of those top superfoods to keep handy for adding to all sorts of recipes. And having it in the freezer means you don’t have to worry about it spoiling in the refrigerator.
If you haven’t tried growing your own spinach before, here’s what you need to know about how to grow spinach as well as companion plants for spinach that can help you improve yields. Growing your own healthy food is so rewarding! Here’s how to start a garden if you’ve never grown anything before.
If spinach is too challenging in your climate or you want some during the hotter months, be sure to check out wild spinach (aka lambsquarters), which may well already be growing in your yard.
Note that frozen spinach can’t be thawed to use as a fresh salad green. Freezing breaks down the cell walls, so the leaves won’t stand up as they did before they were frozen.
DO YOU NEED TO BLANCH SPINACH BEFORE FREEZING?
While experts generally advise blanching fresh greens before freezing to halt enzymes from changing the flavor and color, if you’re going to use your frozen spinach in a few months, it’s really not necessary. I hate all the extra energy and water involved in blanching, so I never do it and stick to the veggies that can get stuck in the freezer without any fussy preparation.
Boiling vegetables almost never feels right to me, plus there’s all the energy wasted heating the water and making the ice to stop the cooking process.
In fact, some people simply throw washed and dried fresh spinach leaves right into a freezer bag, though most sources will tell you can’t. If you’re pressed for time and it’s a choice between that spinach rotting in your refrigerator or imperfectly freezing spinach, go ahead and toss those leaves in the freezer and don’t give it another thought. If you find that it works well, you never need to bother with any preparation before freezing spinach.
If you have a little more time, wilting fresh spinach leaves in a pan and squeezing out the water will likely help your spinach last a little longer and save precious freezer space. You can turn a full bag of spinach into a compact spinach ball this way. Our freezer is always jam-packed with foraged elderberries, black chokeberries, juneberries, and piles of ratatouille, so this is my go-to method for freezing spinach, which we get from our CSA in enormous quantities in fall.
The other big advantage of pan-wilting spinach before freezing is that unlike the boil-and-blanch method, you get to remove rather than add water from the spinach before freezing. It’s a little like concentrating the spinach. It’s also ready to be dropped whole into whatever you’re cooking.
This giant skillet of spinach from our CSA cooks down into a compact little ball.
–> Want to eat seasonally all year round? Try some of these easy food preservation strategies:
- How to preserve herbs
- Dehydrating peaches
- How to dry basil
- How to freeze rhubarb
- Dehydrating 101
- How to dehydrate apples
STORAGE OPTIONS FOR FREEZING SPINACH/ HOW TO STORE SPINACH IN THE FREEZER
While single-use plastic freezer bags are what most people use, if you’re trying to reduce plastic use, consider some reusable silicon bags that can help you advance in your efforts toward a zero waste lifestyle. Frozen spinach kept in either type of bag should keep well for at least 6 months. While it will remain safe to eat for a year or more, it may take on the tell-tale freezer burn flavor.
If you’re planning to store your frozen spinach for a longer period of time, you may want to consider a vacuum sealer.
Or just plan to use up your frozen spinach sooner for best flavor.
HOW LONG DOES FROZEN SPINACH LAST?
Some people using the throw-fresh-leaves-in-a-bag method report finding that their spinach lasts well for up to a year, despite the dire predictions of food preservation experts. Others advise using up those frozen leaves within a few weeks.
Those who blanch before freezing spinach claim that blanching should prolong the spinach’s shelf life in the freezer, but it’s probable that any food kept in a typical freezer bag will get a little off flavor after 6 months.
Using a vacuum sealer would likely help preserve flavor considerably longer, but that requires special equipment and more single-use plastic. My kitchen (and my life in general) can’t manage any more gadgets, so I just try to use up what’s in the freezer in a timely manner.
HOW TO FREEZE SPINACH 2 EASY WAYS
There are advantages and disadvantages to consider when choosing ways of freezing spinach.
NO-COOK METHOD FOR FREEZING SPINACH
- No cooking
- No waiting
- No cleanup
- Leaves of frozen spinach can be easily crumbled and used in small quantities for smoothies
- Will likely not last as long in freezer
- Takes up more space
WILTING METHOD FOR FREEZING SPINACH
- Saves space
- Will probably last longer than freezing spinach raw
- Less work, time and energy use compared to blanching
Cons vs freezing spinach raw:
- The balls you make must be used whole. You can make small ones if you want smaller servings. An ice cube tray would make lots of single-serve spinach cubes
- Short wait for spinach to cool before freezing
- One pan to clean
You’ll have to decide for yourself which method makes the most sense for you. I use our frozen spinach balls whole in soups or on pizza, and I always need to conserve freezer space. I use broccoli rather than spinach in our smoothies and tend to leave things in the freezer awhile, so the fresh method doesn’t suit my family’s needs. But it may suit yours, especially if you’d prefer your spinach leaves raw rather than already cooked. Do what works for you!
HOW TO FREEZE SPINACH WITHOUT BLANCHING
Now that you’ve got all that figured out, here are the step-by step instructions for freezing spinach two easy ways. If you’re planning to freeze the raw leaves, I highly recommend using a salad spinner to get them as dry as you can before freezing.
- 1 pound raw spinach
How to freeze spinach the easiest way possible:
- Wash and dry spinach. A salad spinner helps remove the water more thoroughly. Patting the spinach dry with a clean kitchen towel helps, too.
- Once the spinach is dry, place in a freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible. Seal the bag almost all the way and then squeeze out any remaining air.
- Place in the freezer. Once the spinach is frozen, you can crunch it up so the leaves will be crumbled when you add them to your favorite recipe.
How to freeze spinach with one additional step:
If you'd like your spinach to take up as little room in the freezer as possible, consider wilting it in a pan first.
- Place washed spinach in a wide pan and cover.
- Cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. The bottom leaves will start to break down. Stir to bring the upper leaves in contact with the pan, and they will, too. Soon you'll have a small bunch of wilted spinach leaves.
- Remove from heat and alllow the spinach to cool.
- When it's cool enough to handle, remove the spinach from the pan and squeeze out excess water. You could add the liquid to your next soup or feed it to your garden plants.
- You can make one large spinach ball, or for maximum flexibility, you may want to divide the spinach into several smaller balls.
- Take the spinach balls you've made and place in a freezer bag marked with the date.
You can allow frozen spinach to thaw before using or simply throw it frozen in whatever you're cooking.
How easy is that?
Enjoy your frozen spinach in soups, smoothies, casseroles, eggs, pasta dishes, or wherever you like to use spinach.
Now that you know how to freeze spinach, fill your freezer with this versatile, healthy ingredient.
Save this info on freezing spinach for later!
How to freeze spinach photo credits: cover photo by HandmadePictures, pin photos: AnjelaGR, HandmadePictures
Susannah is a proud garden geek and energy nerd who loves healthy food and natural remedies. Her work has appeared in Mother Earth Living, Ensia, Northern Gardener, Sierra, and on numerous websites. Her first book, Everything Elderberry, released in September 2020 and has been a #1 new release in holistic medicine, naturopathy, herb gardening, and other categories. Find out more and grab your copy here.