(Forgive me while I use this blog to store some preparation instructions for future reference.)
We’ve had our usual good crop of New Zealand Spinach. In previous years much has been wasted. This year Liz decided we should freeze some of it so she can produce tasty spinach pies throughout the year. Then she didn’t get around to it and buggered off to Wellington to catch up with friends and do more decoration on our Ngaio house before it goes on the market.
Thinking I’d better do the job because the spinach was getting a tad venerable, I did some Google research and got stuck into it.
On the right is spinach straight from the garden. I kept most of the leaves and also the soft ends of each ‘branch’. The discards are in the small sink. The spinach in the left sink was then thoroughly rinsed, twice.
A batch of spinach being blanched – for two minutes. Then the spinach went into the sink for another two minutes in cold water. (The recipes said to use lots of ice, but I added three Slikka pads from the freezer. The water wasn’t exactly icy but hopefully the cooking process was stopped in good time.)
Removing surplus water in a lettuce spinner. It may not have removed as much water as drying it between sheets of absorbent paper, as suggested, but it was much more practical for dealing with a lot of spinach.
A bag of spinach ready for freezing. The air was sucked out using cunning technique I read about. Have the bag largely closed, then put a drinking straw in one side and suck hard. Keep closing the bag and the straw flattens, then slips out before the air can get back in. (No doubt most of the female population know about this, but these things don’t occur naturally to men.)
One of several batches: the prepared spinach on the left, which would fill an oversized basketball, condensed into five small bags for the freezer.
The proof will be in the eating.
Good man! – I bet you got some wonderful words of approval from Liz when she returned!
We love spinish.but I never think to buy/cook it. Need to do that. Plenty good for you.
When you mentioned using a straw to pull out most of the air from the freezer bags it brought to mind the system I occasionally use that I bought some years back: http://www.pump-n-seal.com/
Works like a champ, both with ziplock bags and mason jars (canning jars). I just have the basic unit – not any of the bowl stuff or other ancillary items. It really does work. Keeps things fresher longer even if you’re not freezing them.
We have been freezing spinach (ordinary spinach) for years, successfully. We have given up blanching, just freeze it.We don’t blanch anything anymore. Excellent for cooking, whether stirfrys, omelets etc. I do not think it would be very good raw, as in a salad. We take out stems, otherwise just the same as you, and vacuum with a straw. We freeze peaches (so called blanching works well here to loosen skins, rhubarb, tomatoes, all from the garden. Also various peppers when on sale. They do not seem to grow in large enough quantities.
I can only think of Charles (I think that was his name) Birdseye who sat for hours chopping up cabbage that was then rammed into barrels that he froze on the ice of a nearby Canadian lake and started a new industry. In the old days when I first started going to China the Government gave each family in late autumn a large amount of cabbage that was dropped by the truckload at the end of each street. The recipients then stacked it on the roofs of their “houses” or sheds and it lasted them as their main source of vegetable until the spring. I wonder if Roger or Peter have photos of those roof-stored cabbage.
Thanks for the tips in your blog – especially the Slikka pad idea being good enough for cooling. For those who do blanch the spinach first: I had a large quantity so rolled the cooled spinach in towels and spun it in the washing machine. Ended up with 3.5 kgs of very dry product. Mind you, there were so many batches to get said 3.5 kgs, that the whole process took around 4 hours! I can see why it gets bought in packets, or not blanched at all.
Thanks. I have about five pounds cleaned and ready for blanching but needed the timing. Will do the straw trick.
So many uses for frozen spinach throughout the winter!