Freezing your own spinach

In Japan, there are often small farming plots throughout the city, intermixed with houses and businesses.  Most of them are rice paddies, but in our neighborhood, there are quite a few produce fields.  About five blocks away is a really nice, little shed that holds the produce of that particular plot of land — we’ve found such fresh treasures as “mikans” (small orange-like fruit that is much sweeter and easier to peel), green onions, broccoli, leeks, watercress, yellow onions, and spinach, all for 100yen per bulging package (about $1).  I decided to take advantage of the cheapness and freeze some spinach for dips or soups later on.  Here’s what I found out about it..

What you’ll need:
Spinach (not of the pre-packaged variety)
Pot of boiling water
Tongs
Strainer
Paper towels
Freezer bag

1. Wash the spinach — cut/tear them as you like, for whatever you’re planning on using them for after they’re frozen.  You can also leave them as they are.
2.  Boil a large pot of water.
3.  “Blanch” the spinach by placing in the water and using tongs to submerge the leaves.  You should be able to get one whole package of spinach in one pot of water.  It shrinks A LOT when this is done.  Blanch for about 1-2 mins.
4.  Use the tongs to take the spinach out of the water and into strainer (or just pour into strainer if you aren’t going to use the water anymore).  Run cold water over the spinach to cool it — THIS IS IMPORTANT.  I don’t know why, but the spinach needs to be cooled.
5.  Once it’s drained, place the blanched spinach on a paper towel and pat some more moisture off of it.
6.  Place in a freezer bag and freeze.  Take out and thaw to make something like spinach dip or Spinach & Spaghetti.

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4 Responses

  1. ““mikans” (small orange-like fruit that is much sweeter and easier to peel)”

    Are they clementines/madarins?

  2. I checked it out, and they are in the same family as mandarin oranges, but they are not mandarins or clementines.. unique to japan/china. tasty little boogers!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikan

  3. Intriguing! I want to try one.

  4. Hi Jamie– The produce sounds so good. I can’t wait until the farmers market opens here!
    Here is the little bit I know about why cooked veggies are dipped in ice water before freezing….
    Putting the spinach (or any veggie) under cold water/ice water abruptly stops the cooking process and slows the breaking down of enzymes in the food which is important because food continues to break down even in the freezer…just at a slower rate. This also helps keep it’s nice green color. I could have just been making this all up, but I think I read it somewhere at one point when I was looking at freezing some things. :)

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