Jul 6, 2023
Freeze-drying spinach doesn’t take a lot of time. You can use the preset in our freeze dryer but lower the drying temperature.
Spinach is such a great herb, and we always want our kids to have them whenever possible. But, you know kids. Once they see something green, they put their noses up like you’re serving them poison. So we decided to freeze dry them and add them to their meals the ninja way.
Here we freeze dried a bag of baby spinach. We got it on sale at 50% off, so we thought, why not? Aside from being on sale, we chose this because it’s more tender and succulent. There aren’t many stems to take out too, so it makes everything easier. We filled two trays with this big bag, which is a pretty good deal, especially with the discount.
Usually, baby spinach comes pre-washed, but we didn’t take the chance. Instead, we washed the spinach three times under running water to get all the dirt out. We often find bits of sand and dirt even after the first wash. So we made sure to get out all of the dirt by washing it thoroughly.
Then we spun them through a salad spinner to get most of the water out. Best to do this in batches so you’ll get nice, dry spinach leaves for freeze drying.
You most certainly could. It’s an option, not totally necessary, since the spinach doesn’t have much water content. It does help shorten the freeze drying process, though. We didn’t have time to pre-freeze the spinach, so we just went ahead and popped it in the freeze dryer.
Remember one thing when you’re going to pre-freeze or deep freeze the spinach. Keep the freezer door closed until the leaves are fully frozen. You don’t want to interrupt the freezing cycle and create crystals that can ruin the consistency of your spinach.
The good thing about spinach is that it doesn’t have much water on it. So for this batch, we didn’t use any parchment paper on our trays. Once you get the trays nice and ready, it’s time to get started freeze drying!
For this one, the results weren’t consistent. We got some leaves that are flat and even green in color. Others had patches of dark green ones that were wrinkly.
Sometimes, you really need to adjust the settings of your freeze dryer depending on your food. With different herbs, it’s good to play with the dry temperature. On our experience, we would probably go with a lower setting than the default.
Our favorite way of storing our freeze-dried food is putting them in Mylar bags. Based on our experience and other freeze dryers, they’re best for keeping out air and moisture. Once we packed them in the bags, we threw in an oxygen absorber and sealed them. We keep them in a place free of light, moisture, and air so they last long. Most importantly, we make sure that the temperature doesn’t go above 72°F (22°C). Others prefer 70°F (21°C) to be on the safe side.
If you’re always using spinach, it’s more convenient to store them in mason jars or air-tight containers. You can easily open them, take as much spinach as you need, and seal them again.
#10 cans can be good if you’re storing up long-term. We didn’t do this for now because it uses a piece of special equipment for sealing and takes up much storage room.
When stored properly, freeze dried spinach can last for 20+ years unopened. Once you open the jar, you should eat it within 3-6 months. 1 year would be pushing it, so we don’t recommend it.
You can use freeze-dried spinach in just about anything. First, rehydrate it with a 1:1 ratio of spinach to water (1 cup water for 1 cup spinach) to make it supple again. Once the herb’s rehydrated, you can use them as filling to pasta or as toppings on a vegetarian pizza.
If you’re going to cook them in a soup or creamy sauce, there’s no need to rehydrate. The recipe’s liquid will be enough to bring the spinach back to life. Just remember to add more water, or your dish is going to be thicker or dryer.
There are so many ways to use freeze-dried spinach. Trust me, if you have kids, you’ll get creative. For us, we grind them in a food processor into little fine pieces or almost powder. Then we and them to our sauces and they can’t tell the difference.
Grind the spinach into an even finer consistency, and you got yourself some baby food. Since you know you made it, you’re confident that you’re giving your baby food that’s healthy and safe to eat. Next, just add water until it’s in a thick soupy consistency for babies at 7 months. Then you can increase the thickness by adding less water as your baby grows.
Freeze-drying spinach is an easy and economical way to save up on nutritious food. Properly stored, it can last for years, and you’re secure about the food your family will eat. You can get as creative as you want with it when you’re preparing meals. You’ll be surprised with what you’ll get after the process.
Have you ever tried freeze-drying spinach? Let us know what you did for a better result in the comment section.
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