The Rapidian

The Local Feed: Spinach in local farmers markets

The Local Feed on WYCE talks about preserving spinach for future use.

/Theresa Hogerheide

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Spinach is an annual plant that grows best in cool, damp weather and rich, moist soil. It is started with seed and harvested when the largest leaves are 6 to 8 inches long. It’s available in Michigan in spring gardens and markets, so now is the time to preserve it for future use. 

Spinach also grows in the cooler fall weather, but it’s more difficult to find large quantities at that time due to sales competition with other vegetables, and the season may end abruptly due to cold weather.

Freezing spinach is easy. I start with one pound quantities of spinach, storing it cooked, in zip bags. 

The beautiful folds in the leaves can carry soil, and it needs to be swished in a sink full of cold water to remove all of the grit. Start by stripping the leafy part off of the stems by folding it in half and pulling downward away from the stem. 

Then, tear the cleaned spinach leaves into pieces, and blanch it in batches in a steamer for 1.5 minutes. Immediately put the blanched spinach into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze the water out, putting each batch into zip bags and pressing out the air before storing in the freezer.

When you use the spinach, it will thaw quickly in a microwave or in a pot on the stovetop with a small amount of water.


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