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Learn how to freeze spinach for smoothies – it’s super simple and a great way to reduce food waste!
Do you like smoothies? For those of you who do, one question that might come up is what to do with the spinach. I know when it comes time for me to make a new batch, I always have a bunch of left over spinach and my first instinct is to just throw it away because there’s no way I’m going to be able to finish it all before it goes bad.
But what if I told you there was a way to keep that spinach so you could have smoothies for weeks to come without having to go back to the store?
The key is freezing it! Freezing spinach is super easy and only takes a few minutes. Plus, it’s a great way to make sure you always have some on hand for when those smoothie cravings hit.
Here’s a quick guide on how to do it.
Can You Freeze Spinach to Use in Smoothies?
The great news is that yes, you can freeze spinach and other leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, etc) to use in smoothies! This is a great way to make sure you always have some on hand and it’s also a great way to save money since spinach can be expensive if you’re buying it fresh all the time (not to mention it’s less trips to the grocery store). If you find that you have purchased too much spinach and can’t eat it fast enough, freezing it is the answer. Frozen spinach retains its nutritional value and is wonderful for smoothie recipes.
How Do You Freeze Fresh Spinach?
There are two main ways of freezing fresh spinach. You can freeze whole leaves in ziploc bags (easiest way) or you can blend your spinach with liquid to make frozen spinach ice cubes. Both ways work equally well, it just takes more work to blend it into ice cubes first.
What You Need to Freeze Spinach for Smoothies:
- Fresh spinach (we often buy baby spinach leaves in bulk)
- A blender
- Ice cube trays (if using the blended method)
- Freezer bags
- Paper Towels (if your spinach isn’t already washed)
How to Freeze Spinach Step-by-Step
Bag Method (Best Way)
1) Start by washing your raw spinach in cold water. This is an important step because you want to make sure all the dirt and grime is off of the leaves. Otherwise, it will end up in your smoothie and no one wants that! (Easy way: buy pre-washed spinach so you can skip this step.)
2) Once the spinach is clean, dry it off with a paper towel or a salad spinner to remove excess water.
3) Now it’s time to decide if you want to freeze the spinach whole or in pieces. If you’re planning on using it for smoothies, I would recommend blending it up into smaller pieces. This will make it easier to blend later on and you won’t have to worry about big chunks of spinach in your drink. But I often also freeze whole spinach leaves for my smoothies because I know my powerful blender can handle it.
4) To freeze the spinach, simply place it in a freezer bag or container. Make sure to squeeze all the air out before sealing it tight, too much air is bad.
5) Label the bag with the date and pop it in the freezer!
1) Start by washing your spinach in cold water. This is an important step because you want to make sure all the dirt and grime is off of the leaves. Otherwise, it will end up in your smoothie and no one wants that! (If you bought pre-washed spinach you can skip this step.)
2) Once the spinach is clean, dry it off with a paper towel or a salad spinner.
3) Now it’s time to blend the spinach up into smaller pieces. You can do this in a regular blender or food processor. I like to blend mine until it’s almost smooth with plain water or coconut water. This way I don’t have to worry about big chunks of spinach in my drink.
4) Once the spinach is blended, pour the pureed spinach into an ice cube tray.
5) Freeze the cubes of spinach for several hours or overnight.
6) Once the spinach cubes are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Make sure to squeeze all the excess air out before sealing it tight.
7) Label the bag with the date and pop it in the freezer!
How to Use Frozen Spinach in Smoothies
Now that you have your frozen spinach, it’s time to put it to good use! Here are a few ideas on how you can use it in smoothies:
1) The most obvious way is to simply add a few spinach cubes to your morning smoothie. This works great if you’re already using frozen fruit because the spinach will help thicken it up without watering it down.
2) Another option is to use frozen spinach in place of ice cubes. This works especially well if you didn’t blend your spinach very smooth. Simply add a few cubes to your blender along with the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth.
3) If you want to get really creative, you can use frozen spinach to make green smoothie popsicles! Just blend up your favorite green smoothie recipe and pour it into popsicle molds. Then freeze for several hours or overnight.
Where Else Can You Use Frozen Spinach?
1) Soups. Frozen spinach is a great way to add some extra greens to your soup. Simply add a few cubes or frozen leaves to your soup as it’s cooking and they will thaw out quickly.
2) Pasta dishes. Spinach is a classic ingredient in many pasta dishes like lasagna, manicotti, and cannelloni. If you have some frozen spinach on hand, it’s a great way to add some extra nutrition to your meal. Simply add it to your dish as it is cooking or you can thaw it first.
3) Egg dishes. Frozen spinach is also a great way to add some greens to egg dishes like omelets, frittatas, and quiches. Again, add it frozen or thaw first, it’s up to you. It doesn’t take long to warm up so we usually add it frozen.
4) Green Smoothie Ice Cream. Lastly, you can use frozen spinach to make green smoothie ice cream! This is a great way to use up any overripe bananas you have. Simply blend together a ripe banana, some frozen spinach, and your favorite milk or dairy-free milk until smooth. Then add it to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
What You Can NOT Do With Frozen Spinach
1) Use It In Salads. Since the leaves have been frozen, the spinach will not return to its original fresh state. This means it will not be ideal for fresh salads.
2) Juice it. Juicing frozen spinach is possible but it won’t give you as much juice as using fresh leaves.
3) Use It On Sandwiches. Frozen spinach is not ideal for sandwiches because it will be too watery and sometimes it can feel slimy. Not great for a sandwich topper.
Tips and Tricks for Freezing Spinach
Here are some tips and tricks for getting the best bang for your buck when freezing spinach:
1) Use fresh spinach before it starts to get slimy. I know that sounds gross, but have you ever left your spinach in its bag or container too long and it started to get slimy? Once that happens you’re past the window where you should freeze it. Plus, it starts to smell. If you can catch it right before that happens you can still freeze it.
2) If you’re on a budget, you can buy spinach in bulk when it’s on sale and then freeze it. This way you’ll always have some on hand and you won’t have to pay full price for it.
3) If you have a garden, you can freeze your spinach after you’ve harvested it. This way you can enjoy it all year long! We love to do this and it helps from having to throw any out.
4) Be sure to label your plastic bag or containers with the date so you know how long it’s been in the freezer. I like to use a Sharpie so it’s easy to see. Other good choices are baby food containers, metal ice trays, or silicone trays.
5) If you’re using ice cube trays to freeze your spinach, be sure to use ones that are BPA-free and made of silicone, metal or plastic. I like to use these because they pop out easily and they don’t absorb smells or flavors from the freezer.
Nutrition Information for Frozen Spinach
The best thing is – frozen spinach retains its nutrients and has the same nutrient profile as fresh spinach!
In fact, if you buy spinach already pre-frozen, you will retain more nutrients than buying fresh as the leaves are flash frozen right after harvest, which is healthier. So if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of spinach going bad in the fridge, why not buy spinach already frozen?
Spinach is chock full of vitamins A and the B group (especially folate), and also vitamin C.
Common Questions about Frozen Spinach
No, you do not need to blanch spinach before freezing. Blanching is a process of dipping a vegetable in boiling water and then placing it in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This is typically done to vegetables prior to freezing them so they retain their color, texture, and nutrients.
However, since spinach is already a very delicate vegetable, blanching it before freezing may cause it to lose some of its nutrients. Additionally, frozen spinach is typically used in cooked dishes or smoothies so the texture will not be an issue.
Yes, you can freeze fresh spinach leaves that have already been cooked. This is a great way to use up any leftover cooked spinach you have. Simply place it in an airtight container and freeze it for up to six months.
When you’re ready to use it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and then add it to your favorite dishes or smoothies.
Frozen spinach typically lasts for six to eight months in the freezer. However, if it’s stored properly, it can last even longer. Be sure to store it in an airtight container or bag to prevent freezer burn.
If you freeze spinach without blanching, it will retain its nutrients but it may lose some of its color and texture. However, if you’re planning on using it in cooked dishes or smoothies, this won’t be an issue.
Yes, you can freeze a bag of spinach. Simply place it in the freezer as is and use it within six to eight months. I also do this with the plastic containers of spinach. Once I open a bag, though, I repackage the spinach in a ziploc bag to keep it from getting freezer burn.
You can use either fresh or frozen spinach in smoothies. If you’re using frozen spinach, you may need to add a little extra liquid to your smoothie as it will thicken it up. I like to use almond milk or water when adding frozen spinach to my smoothies.
If you’re using fresh spinach, you won’t need to add any extra liquid as it will already be thin. I also like to add a little bit of lemon juice to my smoothies if I’m using fresh spinach as it helps to mask the taste.
No matter which type of spinach you use, your smoothie will be packed with nutrients and antioxidants!
If you’re using frozen spinach, you may be able to taste it in your smoothie. However, if you’re using fresh spinach, you likely won’t be able to taste it. I like to add a little bit of lemon juice or a banana to my smoothies if I’m using frozen spinach as it helps to mask the taste.
Overall, spinach is a wonderful green to add to smoothies if you don’t like the taste of greens because it blends in well with other flavors so you don’t taste the “green” as much.
With these simple tips, you’ll be freezing spinach like a pro in no time! And once you have some frozen spinach on hand, you can enjoy healthy green smoothies all year long. I hope you give it a try in your favorite smoothie recipe soon as part of a healthy diet!
How to Freeze Spinach for Smoothies (Blended Method)
- 1 blender
- 1 ice cube tray
- 1 large freezer bag
- fresh spinach
- 1 cup water add more as needed
- Start by washing your spinach in cold water.
- Once the spinach is clean, dry it off with a paper towel or a salad spinner
- Blend spinach with water or coconut water until smooth.
- Once the spinach is blended, pour the pureed spinach into an ice cube tray.
- Freeze the cubes of spinach for several hours or overnight.
- Once the spinach cubes are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer bag or container. Make sure to squeeze all the excess air out before sealing it tight.
- Label the bag with the date and pop it in the freezer!