Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Preserving: Freezing and Drying Spinach

I planted my garden this spring in late March. I included quite a bit of spinach. We like to eat it fresh in salads, and creamed. But even in a small garden, you can get a little too much produce coming in all at once. The recent warm weather made all of my spinach start to bolt. Rather than lose it, I decided to pull all the plants and preserve what was left by freezing and drying.

I picked and trimmed the spinach out in the garden. All of the roots, stems and damaged leaves went into my compost pile. One bag was saved fresh for salads.

I always say the Economy Shop thrift store has what I need, when I need it. Can you believe it, the day I was going to preserve my spinach, I found a steamer to fit over a large pot. It was perfect for blanching.

For the spinach I planned to freeze, I blanched it using steam for two minutes. For the spinach I wanted to dry, I blanched it for only one minute.

I used the smaller leaves for freezing. As you know, spinach cooks down quite a bit, even with brief blanching. Out of two big bags of leaves, I got two containers to freeze. They will be perfect later for creamed spinach. One container will easily serve both of us.

The larger leaves I used for drying. I've never dried spinach before. One recipe said to blanch it for one minute first. Another said to dry it fresh. I went with the blanching method. I put my electric oven on the lowest temperature, 150 degrees. I used a spatula to turn the leaves several times to prevent sticking. In about three hours the leaves were completely dry and crisp. They became very thin, crumbling in the pan. That should be OK. I want to use them crumbled in soups anyway. I think next time I will try it without blanching.

Have you ever dried spinach? Which method did you use? -- Margy


  1. Would never have thought of drying spinach, you learn something new every day xxx

  2. I learned something new today. I did not know that one can dry spinach.

  3. Hmm, drying spinach? You got my attention, will have to try it. It makes sense you could use it like a seasoning. Plus didn't know we could plant in March. Margy, you are wealth of knowledge.

  4. I forgot about spinach! Critters have eaten my watermelon plants, something fungal got my cukes, my snow peas are doing well, though.
    I just haven't had time, with 3 client days this week.
    Greetings from Cottage Country!

  5. For those of you that asked about drying spinach, this was the first time I've tried. It turns out more brittle and thin than dried chard, but I think it will make a fine addition to soups for a bit of colour and flavour.

    Barb - My tradition is to plant Easter week, which does move between March and April. Nothing much happens until May, but the seeds seem to survive in the soil just fine waiting for warmer weather.

    Jenn - Sorry to hear about your garden problems. Hope the peas turn out OK. The make such tasty additions to dinner.


  6. Your blog is truly fascinating. The gardening, the safety tips, and now, I have shivers running up and down my spine after watching the bear swim. I've been in BC since 1997 (one year in Fraser Lake and the rest in Vancouver) and I still haven't seen a bear!!! I'll be returning here regularly. Thank you!


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy