Leafy greens have some pretty amazing superpowers, nutritionally speaking, yet they don't stay fresh for long. I'm going to show you two different methods for freezing spinach (or any other leafy green) to give your greens 10x the shelf life! Never let that beautiful bag of fresh spinach go to waste again.
Now I know we've all been there. You buy that big beautiful bag of greens, lovingly place it in your fridge and vow to eat it for daily lunches and smoothies. Two weeks later you're digging through that fridge only to find a bag of gross, wilted mush that once resembled spinach. This was definitely me when I first started drinking green smoothies. I knew I needed a better way to store my leafy greens. These two quick methods do exactly that!
How to Freeze Spinach
Following these simple steps can literally make your spinach (and other leafy greens) last 10x longer. Pick the method you like best and go crazy!
Freezing Greens Method #1: Cubes
Try to use as many fresh leafy greens as possible, yet if they're getting close to the expiration date then make these cubes.
- Blend 2 cups of leafy greens (about two handfuls) in a blender with ½ cup liquid (preferably water, but a touch of lemon juice can help). It's done when it reaches a juice-like consistency. The goal is no leafy chunks!
- Pour contents into an ice cube tray, then freeze. Make sure the tray is level in the freezer.
- Store the frozen cubes in a freezer-safe container. I use gallon silicone ziplock bags for zero freezer burn.
You can follow these same steps for kale, chard, romaine, cabbage, and even herbs. I don't typically recommend adding ice to your smoothies because it dulls your blender blades, as well as causes the motor to work extra hard, yet this cube recipe is the exception to the rule.
Freezing Greens Method #2: Storage Bags
For this method, gather the following items: fresh spinach, dish towels, paper towels, freezer-safe bags or containers and a sharpie.
- Prepare spinach by washing and drying. Pack the spinach into freezer-safe bags or containers. You can pack the spinach tightly. Label bag or container with date. If a precise amount (such as for a recipe) for the spinach is needed, make sure to add that to the label as well.
- Place bags or containers in the freezer, allowing for air circulation for proper freezing. If using spinach within a few weeks or months, a standard freezer is sufficient. For longer freezing times, a deep freezer is recommended as it will keep the frozen food at a lower temperature, prolonging its quality. Note that for deep freezing or longer freezer storage times, it may be prudent to double bag the spinach in order to prevent freezer burn.
As the spinach leaves freeze, they will lose a lot of volume due to ice crystals breaking down the cell walls. (For this reason, frozen spinach is also easier to blend when making green smoothies from a freezer pack.) And done! No need to waste spinach any longer.
Yes! No need to cook fresh spinach before freezing it. Fresh spinach is also more nutrient-dense, so freezing fresh spinach holds in more nutrients than freezing cooked spinach.
Nope! No need to blanch before freezing. Fresh spinach easily blends in water, and since it is getting blended into a smoothie at some point, then that alone negates any need to blanch.
You sure can. The bagged spinach from Costco freezes just as well as the fresh spinach from the roadside stand. Just give the bag a sniff test before starting to blend, to make sure it's still fresh.
Why Should I Freeze Spinach?
Unless you buy spinach by the cup-full every day for your green smoothie (or pick from your garden), you probably buy it in bunches. Or like me, in Costco-sized bags. It starts out crisp and fresh, yet after only a few days, starts to wilt and smell funky. I used to throw out half bags of spinach all the time because I couldn't get through it fast enough.
I learned how to freeze fresh spinach because I was sick of wasting money and time on something that didn't last. Concerned about the loss of nutrition from freezing spinach? Read on.
Fresh vs Frozen Spinach
I often get emails asking about how to use frozen fruit and veggies while still getting the most in the way of nutrients. The truth is, frozen produce is often less expensive than fresh. It's also frozen at peak freshness, making it even fresher and more nutrient-dense than some of the fresh produce at the grocery store.
My best advice is to buy produce fresh in its season, then freeze it to retain almost all those precious nutrients. Even if you grow your own leafy greens, you can prolong the shelf life by learning how to freeze them properly.
Delicious Spinach Smoothie Recipes
Now that you've got a freezer full of spinach cubes, here are some great recipes to try:
- Beginner's luck green smoothie
- Blueberry spinach smoothie
- Peach spinach smoothie
- Pineapple spinach smoothie
- Orange spinach smoothie
- Chocolate banana smoothie
- Mango spinach smoothie
- Carrot smoothie
What are some of your favorite spinach smoothie recipes? Leave a comment letting me know! And don't forget to share how to freeze fresh spinach with your friends, so no one has to experience spinach buyer's remorse again!
How to Freeze SpinachRate this Recipe Print Recipe
- 4 cups spinach (1 large bag/container/bunch)
- dish towels
- freezer safe containers
- Sort through spinach and remove any that are slimy or spoiled. Wash the spinach in plenty of cool water. Lay out on a clean dish towel and pat gently to remove excess water.
- Pack the spinach into freezer-safe bags or containers. You can pack the spinach tightly. Label bag or container with date. If a precise amount (such as for a recipe) for the spinach is needed, make sure to add that to the label as well.
- Place bags and/or containers in the freezer, allowing for air circulation for proper freezing. If using spinach within a few weeks or months, a standard freezer is sufficient. For longer freezing times, a deep freezer is recommended as it will keep the frozen food at a lower temperature, prolonging its quality.
- You can use this method for ANY leafy greens! Kale, Swiss chard, carrot tops, you name it.
- If deep freezing or longer freezer storage times, it may be prudent to double bag the spinach in order to prevent freezer burn.
- Add 2 cups spinach and ½ cup water to blender and blend until the leafy chunks are gone.
- Pour blended ingredients into an ice cube tray and lay flat in freezer to freeze.
- Store leafy green cubes in a freezer-safe storage bag until ready to use.
Find more smoothie recipes
Need some green smoothie recipes to help boost your leafy green consumption? I've got a green smoothie recipe app—Daily Blends—with 100+ recipes, recipe categories, shopping list builder, and ingredient bar (recipe finder based on ingredients in your home)!
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