Gluten Free-zer Friday – Frozen Spinach
Head over to MJ’s for Freezer Food Friday, then if you have a gluten free recipe, come on back and share the fun!
If you have a freezer recipe to share that is gluten free, link back here and join in on Gluten Free-zer Friday. I’ld love to have ya join in!
Participating in Gluten Free-zer Friday:
1. If you would like to participate in Gluten Free-zer Friday, simply email your post link to your gluten free freezer recipe (angelas_kitchenATcomcastDOTnet) or leave a comment below and I will add you to the roundup.
2. Link back to this post on the post with the recipe you have linked.
I’ve been asked by several people how I put up my veggies and fruits over the summer, so as I go along this year I’ll post what I do for those interested. Today’s goes great for Gluten Free-zer Friday, as I freeze most of the spinach I put up to use later in the season.
With spring here greens, spinach, kale, etc. are showing up in markets for very little cost and starting to sprout in my garden. Well, barely sprouting, but I have high hopes! Whatever does not end up in my salad bowl will be frozen and dried. Dried spinach? Yep, I dry some spinach every year. And, yes, a HUGE amount of spinach dries to almost nothing. The reason I dry some is that dried spinach powder makes a huge flavor pop without weighing down a spinach souffle (dried powdered asparagus is good this way also). Dried spinach powder can also be added to baked goods (no more than 1/4 cup usually in savory breads, of course) and can be used as a natural colorant instead of green food dye (use only a bit so the spinach flavor isn’t noticeable – no one wants spinach frosting!) I usually grind my dried spinach leaves into a powder and store in a small canning jar with a lid, clearly labeling the contents. Honestly, I don’t leave my dried spinach whole usually, as I think I am bit paranoid that someone will wonder what those funny dried leaves are! Eek! I mean, really, who dries spinach? Must be just me…
Anyway, the bulk of my spinach that doesn’t get used fresh, is frozen for later use. I like to have it on hand for spinach dip, to toss in a meatloaf or spaghetti sauce, or any where a bit of greens are wanted. I usually store my spinach in 1 1/2 cup portions as this will equal a 10 ounce package of frozen spinach, the size called for in many recipes.
To Freeze Spinach or other Dark Leafy Greens:
(NOT lettuce – yuck! Only greens you would cook)
Select young, tender green leaves, if possible. I like to harvest early in the day before heat from the sun causes the greens to become limp. The amount needed to fill 1-pint is approximately 1 to 1 1/2 pounds.
Wash thoroughly in an ice water bath to remove sand and insects. Rinse. Cut off woody stems and remove damaged leaves. You can leave the leaves whole but I prefer to chopped them coarsely.
Stir-fry spinach without oil and with only the water left on the leaves from washing until leaves are wilted (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer cooked greens to a large colander placed over a bowl while stir-frying more greens, if necessary. Allow spinach to cool and drain.
Transfer cooled greens into freezer safe containers. (1 1/2 cups will equal a 10 ounce frozen spinach container.) Seal, label and freeze. Leave 1/2 inch headspace in a freezer container or put into a freezer bag, removing all the air possible before sealing.
I have kept and used spinach that has been vacuum sealed 10 to 12 months after packaging, but I think the best flavor for frozen greens is if it is used within 6 months of being frozen.
10 to 12 months at 0ºF. For best flavor, consume within 6 months.
To use: Add spinach directly to dishes without thawing, for soups, stews, spaghetti, etc. Allow to thaw and drain if using in meatloaf or hamburgers. If using in spinach dip or brownies (yes, I am such a sneaky mom!), thaw spinach then squeeze out liquid before adding to recipe.
Measurements for spinach that may help you out:
4 cups leaves = 6 ounces
1lb fresh = 1 cup cooked
15 to 16 oz. can = 1 1/2 – 2 cups
10 oz. bag = 6 cups of leaves, 1 1/4 cups cooked, 2/3 cup cooked & squeezed dry
10 oz. frozen = 1 1/2 cups cooked