While nothing can trump the quality of a fresh smoothie, what can you do if you want to cool your blend without throwing in ice?
Well, one solution is to use frozen fruits and vegetables to bring the temperature down.
The inbuilt benefit of this method is that you can take advantage of all your favorite fruits and veggies in convenient, frozen form.
How about spinach, then? Can you freeze this nutritional powerhouse for later use?
TLDR: Yes, you can freeze spinach for smoothies!
So, today, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about successful freezing spinach for smoothies. We’ll give you several methods so you can choose which works best for you.
First thing’s first, a word of warning…
- I. What You Should Know Before Freezing Spinach
- II. Why Is Spinach Good in Smoothies?
- III. What’s The Problem with Spinach in Smoothies?
- IV. Your Options When Freezing Spinach
- V. How To Freeze Spinach Leaves The Easy Way
- VI. How To Blanch Spinach To Use Later
- VII. How To Make Spinach Ice Cubes
- VIII. Best Frozen Green Smoothie Recipe
- IX. FAQs
- X. Conclusion
I. What You Should Know Before Freezing Spinach
As you’ll know, fresh spinach won’t keep for long in the refrigerator before it starts turning soggy and brown.
You can combat this by freezing the spinach, but doing so will break down its cellular walls. This will cause it to wilt and become watery when thawed.
The bad news? This will taste poor in a salad or sandwich.
On the flip-side, frozen spinach responds perfectly well to use in a smoothie since the wilting and wateriness won’t be relevant when you’re drinking it down.
Why should you bother adding spinach to your smoothies in the first place, though?
II. Why Is Spinach Good in Smoothies?
Spinach is nutrient-dense boasting plenty of vitamins A and C along with calcium, zinc, fiber, folate, and flavonoids. These latter compounds safeguard your body against damaging free radicals.
Studies have also shown that spinach is a great brain food. Consuming spinach in your diet can support memory, mental clarity, and brain function.
Since spinach has a fairly neutral flavor, you won’t find it takes the sweetness away from your smoothie.
It’s not all good, though…
III. What’s The Problem with Spinach in Smoothies?
Spinach contains oxalates and oxalic acid.
Both of these interfere with the way your body absorbs minerals. Calcium, in particular, is not absorbed properly if you eat too much raw spinach.
IV. Your Options When Freezing Spinach
So, assuming you fancy freezing some spinach for your smoothies over the coming holiday season, how can you go about doing this?
Here’s a quick snapshot of 2 different ways to achieve this goal:
- Freezing whole fresh spinach leaves
- Freezing pureed spinach
Freezing whole fresh spinach leaves
All you need to do is choose some nice fresh spinach leaves and place them inside a Ziploc bag.
Make sure you squeeze out as much air as practical then pop the bag in the freezer and you’re good to go in a matter of hours.
Freezing pureed spinach
Blend your spinach with some water into a puree. Freeze in Ziploc bags, baby food containers, or ice cube trays to taste.
Now, if you’re more tempted by the idea of leaving your spinach leaves whole, here’s how to efficiently freeze them for up to 6 months with no need for blanching and no need for a food processor.
V. How To Freeze Spinach Leaves The Easy Way
Here’s how to get the best out of frozen spinach leaves for smoothies in 5 easy steps:
- Rinse: Thoroughly rinse your raw spinach to get rid of any dirt and debris. By this stage you should have discarded any sub-par leaves
- Dry: You can pat your leaves dry with a paper towel. Salad spinners are good if you’re preparing veggies in bulk, but a paper tissue will suffice
- Bag: Bag the dried and rinsed spinach in Ziploc bags being sure to fill them no more than two-thirds. Ensure no air remains in the bags. Label and date the bags
- Freeze: Freeze for up to 1 month
- Smoothie-time: You can add frozen spinach to your smoothies with no need to thaw so enjoy spinach on demand even if it’s out of season or unavailable in the store
VI. How To Blanch Spinach To Use Later
Maybe you want to freeze some spinach for smoothies, but you’d also like to freeze some for later use.
If so, you’ll need to blanch it to avoid rolling out wilted and brown spinach instead of the fresh facsimile you were hoping for.
Luckily, it’s not that hard.
Place your spinach in a sieve or colander. Make sure your chosen vessel has a handle.
Submerge the spinach fully inside a pan of boiling water for 60 seconds. The spinach should turn vibrant green.
Remove the spinach from the water and dunk it quickly in some iced water. This arrests the cooking process, so don’t skip this stage.
Layer your spinach on some paper towels. This should blot some of the liquid.
Now, you’re good to go, and one way to make even more use out of your frozen spinach is to make some ice cubes.
VII. How To Make Spinach Ice Cubes
What You Need
- Fresh spinach 95oz)
- Coconut water (2/3 cup)
What To Do
- Use any leftover spinach or leafy greens like chard, Romaine, and kale and throw them back in the blender. Use some coconut water to loosen things up then blitz the mixture until it’s a smooth puree
- Ladle this puree into an ice cube tray
- Freeze overnight or until completely solid
Once you’ve made these ice cubes up, you could keep on making more and store them inside thick freezer bags. It won’t take you long to build up a nice stockpile. Then, whenever you want a burst of spinach in your smoothie, you can always throw some in even if the cupboard is bare.
When it comes to portion size, try using 1 or 2 in each smoothie at first. Remember, spinach has a fairly neutral flavor profile so don’t be afraid to use more if you want a noticeable kick. Finding what works best for you is part of the fun of juicing.
How about if you’re in a hurry with guests arriving soon for a BBQ and the desire to impress them with some frozen ice cubes later that day?
Well, the average freezer should give you the results you need in around 4 hours, so give the ice cubes a delayed entrance and you can still enjoy them later that same day.
VIII. Best Frozen Green Smoothie Recipe
Maybe you’re new to juicing and you’re tempted by a green smoothie but you have no idea where to start.
Here’s a quick guide to making a spinach-packed frozen green smoothie the easy way.
What You Need
- Frozen spinach
- Frozen mango
- Frozen pineapple
- Vanilla extract
What To Do
Pop all the above ingredients in your blender and blitz them up until they’re richly smooth and creamy.
At this point, consider making more than you need. Use the above tips for freezing spinach puree to freeze a powerhouse ready-made smoothie blend as well.
Serve and enjoy!
Now, you should have all you need in place, so we’ll clear up any lingering questions you might have before we round out for the day…
1) Is frozen spinach as tasty and nutritious as fresh spinach?
This all depends on how you deploy it. Use it in a salad or a sandwich and you’ll come up short. Pop it into a smoothie and you’ll get all the benefits and none of the drawbacks of frozen spinach. To avoid the nutrient-loss caused by blanching, freeze spinach when it’s super-fresh.
2) Do I need to blanch spinach before freezing it?
If you intend to use your frozen spinach in the next couple of weeks, there’s no need to blanch it. If you leave unblanched spinach in the fridge for too long, though, it will go brown due to the way enzyme activity alters the coloring, flavor, and texture adversely.
3) Can I use something else instead of spinach?
Sure. You can easily use the above principles and methods to freeze kale, chard, or Romaine if you really don’t like the idea of spinach. Since you’re here today, we assume you are fans of spinach too, though!
Well, you should have a clear understanding of the many ways in which you can freeze spinach for your smoothies without losing those precious nutrients and without suffering from any adverse effects.
We’ve also thrown in a super-simple recipe so you can see that making smoothies is so straightforward, you don’t really need a traditional recipe at all!
We’re just warming here at Oh Juice, so we’d suggest you bookmark our blog and pop back soon. We’re working hard on a bunch of buying guides to help you separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the best juicers and blenders. Before that, we’ve got lots of information-packed pieces planned so see you soon!