I’ve been growing and preserving spinach for a number of years. I consider it one of the staples of our annual food preservation needs. It is an easy vegetable to grow and preserve to use in a variety of meals all year long. When I planted a large garden bed with spinach last spring, my goal was to have a large enough crop to preserve spinach to feed our family for the next year. Well, we didn’t quite make it the whole year since we just ran out and it is March. Luckily we have some other homegrown preserved greens like kale, bok choy and beet greens to last us until our spring garden season is in full swing in the next couple months!
The most exciting thing about preserving our spinach this last year is that we used two new amazing kitchen tools in the process. I mentioned in this post that I used to use the DIY method of vacuuming sealing. Well, my wonderful mother in law read that and we guess she took pity on us using a straw to vaccuum seal so she surprised us with this amazing gift! Last spring I saw an Amazon sale on this dehydrator and splurged when I saw it was 40% off. Our old dehydrator was so small and was not very efficient so the upgrade was be well worth all the extra food we can dry and preserve!
Preserving Spinach by Blanching & Freezing
My all time favorite way to preserve spinach is the blanching and freezing method. This is the same way we preserved our beet greens. The process is easy:
1. Rinse the spinach to remove any bugs or dirt. Tear off any brown or bug eaten parts.
2. Chop the spinach into bite size pieces. I also chop the stems since we eat them too.
3. Place the spinach greens in boiling water for one minute.
4. Remove from heat and immediately immerse in cold ice water to stop the cooking process.
5. Spread on a towel to dry.
6. Pack into bags and freeze.
Preserving Spinach by Dehydrating
I’ve never dried leafy greens before last year. We mainly dried fruit, made fruit leather, jerky and dried herbs. Now that we have the much larger dehydrator, I wanted to try drying spinach greens. My main goal in doing this is to make a spinach powder to use as a healthy additive in our food. When I make Little A a homemade yogurt smoothie, I always sneak in some sort of vegetable since that is the only way we can guarantee she will eat her veggies everyday! This homemade dried spinach powder is the perfect healthy additive to our smoothies. When mixed in with other ingredients like bananas, honey, peanut butter, etc you can’t even tell there is spinach in the smoothie!
1. Rinse spinach to remove bugs and dirt. Tear off any brown or bug eaten parts.
2. If the spinach is a large leaf with a thick stem, cut the stem off. For smaller, thinner stems you can leave them intact. If you don’t remove the thick stems, the leaves will be done dehydrating but the thick stems will still be soft (I’m speaking from experience on this one!)
3. Lay the spinach out evenly on the dehydrator trays.
4. Dehydrate at 125 degrees for three to four hours or until the leaves are brittle. They are done when the leaves crumble in your hand.
5. Once done, remove them from the dehydrator trays. If you want to make a powder, crunch the leaves into smaller pieces with your hands. Then put them in some form of grinder like a blender or food processor. I have a small blender with a chopping blade I keep just for this type of thing. Once the spinach has been reduced to a fine powder, pour it into an airtight container for storage.
If you want to learn more ways to preserve a variety of leafy greens, here is a great post from Homespun Seasonal Living on how to preserve leafy greens.
Do you preserve spinach or other leafy greens? What ways do you like to preserve them?