What’s the best way to freeze fresh spinach?


Fresh spinach is a nutritious and versatile leafy green that can be enjoyed year-round by freezing it properly. Freezing spinach allows you to preserve nutrients, flavor, and texture for up to one year. With the right freezing techniques, you can lock in the fresh taste and have frozen spinach ready to use anytime for soups, smoothies, side dishes, and more. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about successfully freezing and storing fresh spinach.

Benefits of Freezing Spinach

Freezing spinach has many advantages over fresh:

  • Convenience – Frozen spinach is prepped and ready to use, saving prep time in recipes.
  • Long shelf life – Properly frozen spinach retains nutrients and flavor for up to 1 year in the freezer.
  • Year-round availability – Enjoy fresh spinach flavor even when out of season.
  • Budget friendly – Buy in bulk when spinach is in season and less expensive.
  • More nutrients – Frozen spinach often has a higher nutrient content than fresh.
  • Easy storage – Frozen spinach takes up less space than fresh and requires no ongoing maintenance.

Choosing Spinach for Freezing

Start with fresh, high-quality spinach for the best frozen results. Here’s what to look for:

  • Freshness – Choose crisp, vibrant leaves without signs of wilting or yellowing.
  • Maturity – Mature spinach leaves have a more concentrated flavor.
  • Organic – Organic spinach avoids pesticides and chemicals.
  • Leaves or chopped – Whole leaves or pre-chopped both freeze well.
  • Amount – Buy more than you need so you have plenty frozen.
  • Season – Buy spinach in season when quality and price are optimal.

Avoid spinach that is limp, damaged, or has wet, slimy leaves. The optimal time to freeze spinach is within 1-2 days of purchasing for maximum freshness.

Prepping Fresh Spinach for Freezing

Proper preparation is crucial for frozen spinach with the best flavor, texture, and nutrient retention. Here are the key steps:

  1. Wash spinach – Rinse leaves thoroughly under cool water to remove dirt and debris. Drain well and pat dry.
  2. Remove stems – Cut or pluck out the thick stems which can turn bitter when frozen.
  3. Blanch – Quickly boil leaves for 1-2 minutes to deactivate enzymes and protect color.
  4. Cool – Plunge blanched leaves into an ice bath to stop cooking process.
  5. Drain and squeeze – Remove excess moisture using a salad spinner or by squeezing between towels.
  6. Chop (optional) – For easier use, chop leaves before packing.

Your prepped spinach is now ready for freezing! Blanching, cooling, and drying are vital to prevent freezer burn and maintain texture.

Freezing Methods for Spinach

There are a few techniques for successfully freezing spinach.

Loose Pack

The loose pack method is quick and simple. Follow these steps:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread prepared spinach leaves or chopped spinach in a single layer on the sheet.
  3. Place in freezer and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.
  4. Transfer frozen spinach to airtight freezer bags or containers.
  5. Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  6. Label with contents and freeze date.
  7. Return to freezer promptly.

The loose pack method allows you to easily remove just the amount of spinach needed. However, leaves can clump together and it may be tricky separating a specific amount.

Block Freeze

For measured portions, try the block freeze method:

  1. Line a container, baking pan, or ice cube tray with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
  2. Add a measured amount of drained spinach, packing it down lightly.
  3. Cover tightly with additional plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  4. Freeze until completely solid, at least 4 hours.
  5. Pop frozen spinach blocks out of the container and transfer to freezer bags.
  6. Remove excess air, seal, label, and return to the freezer.

The block freeze technique makes it easy to break off predetermined amounts of frozen spinach for recipes. However, the leaves may clump together more than loose pack.

Table Comparing Methods

Method Pros Cons
Loose Pack
  • Quick and easy
  • Convenient for grabbing handfuls
  • Leaves can clump together
  • Hard to portion specific amounts
Block Freeze
  • Easy to break off measured portions
  • Handy for recipes
  • More time consuming
  • Leaves can stick together

Choose the freezing method that best suits your needs for portioning and convenience.

Storage Times for Frozen Spinach

Properly stored frozen spinach maintains quality for the following time frames:

  • Freezer at 0°F (-18°C) – 10-12 months
  • Freezer at -4°F (-20°C) – 6-8 months
  • Self-defrosting freezer – 4-6 months

For maximum shelf life, keep frozen spinach consistently frozen. Avoid temperature fluctuations which degrade texture and taste.

Thawing Frozen Spinach

Thaw frozen spinach properly to preserve quality and safety:

  • Refrigerator – For slow thawing, place sealed spinach in the refrigerator. Thaw overnight or up to 1-2 days.
  • Microwave – Reheat frozen spinach in the microwave in 30 second intervals until thawed. Use immediately.
  • Cold water – For a quick thaw, place frozen spinach in a colander or bowl. Submerge under cold running water 10-30 minutes.
  • Cooking – Many recipes allow adding frozen spinach directly to hot cooked dishes.

Once thawed, use spinach within a day or two. Do not refreeze thawed spinach leaves as this increases risk of bacterial growth.

Tips for Freezing Spinach

Follow these best practices for delicious frozen spinach:

  • Freeze spinach within 1-2 days of purchasing for optimal freshness and texture.
  • Wash leaves thoroughly and dry well before freezing for cleaner flavor.
  • Blanching before freezing retains color and deactivates enzymes that cause off-flavors.
  • Portion into usable amounts so you can thaw just what you need.
  • Use freezer bags or airtight containers to prevent freezer burn.
  • Label bags or containers with contents and freeze date.
  • Eat within 10-12 months for best quality and safety.

Avoid frequent temperature changes, which degrade texture and taste. Cook frozen spinach leaves without needing to thaw first for added convenience.


Freezing fresh spinach enables you to enjoy its nutrients and bold flavor year-round. With proper washing, blanching, packaging, and storage, frozen spinach stays fresh and vibrant for 6-12 months. The loose pack method offers grab-and-go convenience, while block freezing provides pre-portioned amounts that are perfect for recipes. Keep frozen spinach consistently at 0°F or below for maximum shelf life. Thaw in the refrigerator, microwave, or with cold water before using. Follow these freezing tips and you’ll have ready-to-use frozen spinach on hand anytime.

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