Sunday, May 12, 2013

Broccoli Harvest and Freezing Spinach

This time of year means transition in the garden.  It will soon be too warm for cool weather crops to continue to thrive, and it is time to plant those warm weather veggies we all crave.  So, this weekend, I went out to harvest the broccoli we have been growing since the beginning of March.  Here is some of what we cut. 

I was growing broccoli and spinach in the same bed, and I needed that bed to plant warm weather veggies, so I went ahead and cut the remaining spinach as well.  Some of the leaves were a little larger than what you would use in a salad, so I decided to freeze what was left to use in spinach dip and other meals where frozen spinach is used.  I did not have a lot of spinach to work with, but that was okay because spinach (and other greens) are so easy to freeze.  

Here's what I did...

First, I washed the spinach several times to ensure it was clean and bug free.  I did this by soaking the leaves in a big bowl of cool water and giving the grit time to settle on the bottom.  Then, I removed the spinach and repeated with fresh, clean water.  

I then plunged the leaves into a large pot of boiling water and left them there for two minutes. After two minutes, I removed the leaves with a metal strainer and plunged them into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and lock in their bright green color.  

After they had cooled completely, I placed the leaves in a salad spinner and whirled them around until they are were fairly dry.  

I then packed them into freezer bags, rolled the bags to remove any excess air, and labeled them.  Don't ask me why I wrote "frozen" on the bags. I'm pretty sure that when I remove the bag from the freezer I will realize it is frozen.  

I have heard of people freezing greens without blanching.  I have never tried it myself, so I stick with the tried and true method.  

Have you ever frozen greens raw?


  1. Hi, I just came across your blog and I've enjoyed reading your "putting up" stories. I love to can and preserve as well. In answer to your question regarding freezing greens raw, I have tried it with chard and it was NOT good! When it thawed, it was all slimy and did not taste good at all. I think blanching is the only way to go!

  2. I suspected that freezing raw would result in a poor quality end product, and I am usually too chicken to try something that I think will have a good chance of failing. My produce and time are too valuable. Blanching may be a bit of a hassle sometimes, but it is probably well worth it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I am LOVING your blog!! My chard freezing started one morning when I went out to harvest chard and it was frozen on the plant. I had never seen such a thing (being from Texas). I cut it anyway and put it in the eggs and it was great. Then I figured that if I cut it all and froze it, it would stay good, as opposed to if I left it on the plant I thought it would die (I found out with some leaves that I did leave on that it didn't die). A few weeks later, I had a couple of huge chard plants that I needed to cut down a few months ago and I didn't have time to really deal with blanching, but I decided that since it was that or throw it away, and since it worked when the weather froze it, I would try it. I just cut the chard (I'm pretty sure I didn't wash it because it was pretty clean already, it has woodchip mulch under it, so it doesn't really get dirt splashed on it) and stuffed it into some gallon ziploc bags and into the freezer. I thought I would have to use it all in a month or two, but it has still been great 3 months later. We use it in scrambled eggs and smoothies, but I don't see why it wouldn't work in a soup too.