Spinach is a green leaf vegetable with a high nutritional value as it is rich in vitamins and mineral nutrients, especially iron (2.9 mg per 100 g of fresh product).
However, it is also a fragile vegetable, which can only be kept for a very short time (2-3 days in the refrigerator).
Freezing allows them to be preserved while preserving their nutritional value intact.
It also offers the possibility to taste the product out of season, without compromising flavor, texture, and nutritional properties.
Freezing, in fact, if done at the time of purchase of the product and at the right temperature, stops the development of microorganisms responsible for fermentation and molds and reduces the activity of enzymes that degrade the appearance and taste of food, keeping all of them intact. the characteristics of the food, including the most sensitive vitamins.
How to store spinach
Freezing takes place in successive phases which can be summarized as follows: purchase of the vegetable, cleaning, blanching or bleaching, cooling, drying, packaging, labeling, storage time.
Purchase of the vegetable :
At the time of purchase, the spinach must have reached the right degree of ripeness and have a beautiful bright green color, a good consistency, and must not have damaged or stained leaves.
Cleaning the vegetable :
Carefully clean the spinach, removing the roots, the petioles, and any worn or yellowed, or dark parts.
Wash them thoroughly in a container, changing the washing water several times.
Blanching (or bleaching): Bleaching
means immersing a vegetable in boiling water for a very short time, without letting it cook.
The technique serves to make inactive the natural enzymes contained in a vegetable, which are the main cause of its deterioration.
It is also used to avoid the change in flavor, color, and consistency of the vegetable after defrosting.
As for the spinach, proceed as follows:
Blanch 500g of spinach at a time.
Pour unsalted water into a large pot with a lid and bring it to a high boil.
Place the spinach in a perforated basket, immerse it in water and cover the pan with the lid.
Turn up the heat and, as soon as the water starts to boil, count 2 minutes of bleaching, that is the time it takes to deactivate the enzymes.
Respect exactly the duration of the blanching, as if it is insufficient there is a risk that the enzymes are not all deactivated, if instead it is prolonged the vegetable will cook, losing flavor and nutritional elements.
For quantities of spinach greater than 500 g, proceed in several stages.
After the indicated time, drain the spinach with a slotted spoon and, to stop cooking and keep the color, immediately immerse them in a large bowl containing cold water, preferably mixed with ice cubes.
Leave them to soak for the same time used for the blanching phase or until cooling.
Drain the spinach, then pat dry them gently with a kitchen towel.
Divide the spinach into portions.
It is optional, but advisable, to arrange them in a heap in a tray lined with baking paper leaving some space between them, and place them in the freezer until hardened (30-60 minutes), so that they do not stick together.
Once the spinach has been divided into portions, place them in the polyethylene fridge bags or in airtight plastic or glass containers.
Before sealing them with care, be careful to let out all the air contained in them.
Using a vacuum sealer offers better preservation guarantees.
Finally, put a label on each bag showing the name of the vegetable, the date of freezing and the expiry date (eg tot grams of Spinach frozen on…, expiry on…).
To write, use a felt-tip pen, as the normal ink of the pens and the pencil marks tend to erase over time.
Storage time :
Store the spinach in the freezer for 10-12 months at a temperature between -18 ° C and – 25 ° C.
Spinach does not need to be defrosted before consuming.
When using the vegetable, put it directly in the pot.
Since the spinach has been seared, it will need less cooking time than fresh spinach.
Finally, keep in mind that defrosted vegetables must never be refrozen.