But, maybe you’re not a gardener. Maybe you’re just one of those people who have a hard time using a whole package of fresh baby spinach from the grocery store before it goes all wilty and smelly. That’s okay too! You can blanch it and freeze it to make some yummy spinach dip in the hot summer months or for making spinach pasta.
Why blanch spinach? Blanching is a form of quick-cooking that serves a multitude of purposes. It can help loosen peels off fruits like peaches, leech out bitterness, or enhance (and fix) colouring of delicate greens. Most importantly, it halts (well, slows anyway) enzyme action that causes certain forms of decay (not a big deal if you’re freezing, but very important if you’re dehydrating).
In the case of spinach… well, if you have ever cooked spinach, you know it takes a whole grocery store container (5-6oz) to make about a cup of frozen spinach. That’s a lot of freezer space And it can retain too much liquid.
How to Blanch Spinach (or any other leafy green)
- Set a large pot of water to boil. You may add a little salt, but I don’t.
- Set up a bowl full of ice and cold water (if you don’t have access to icy cold Canadian tap water in winter).
- Prepare your leafy greens for a hot bath – wash and trim if necessary.
- When the water is boiling strongly, drop the greens in by the double handful (or just enough that you don’t drop the water temperature below boiling)
- Stir everything and let it cook for 30 seconds.
- Shock the greens by removing them with a slotted spoon directly to the ice bath, which will halt the cooking.
- Drain in a colander and squeeze some of the water out. You don’t want it absolutely dry, but it should be dry enough not to drip liquid when you give it a firm but not hard squeeze.