Spinach is one of the most nutritious and versatile smoothie ingredients. It’s high in vitamins and minerals, and is a great plant-based source of protein, while containing virtually no saturated fat, cholesterol, and sugar.
But spinach isn’t known for having the best shelf-life, and you may find that you can’t use the spinach you’d bought to make smoothies as quickly as you anticipated.
To avoid food waste, you have a few options. The first is to buy frozen cubes of spinach that you can add straight to your morning smoothies. While this is an option worth considering, you’ll often end up paying more for the convenience of having your spinach frozen and ready to go whenever you need it. Frozen spinach cubes are also quite a niche product, so you won’t get them in all supermarkets.
The alternative is to freeze your own spinach, either as it is or pureed in advance. This gives you the same convenience as shop-bought frozen spinach cubes, and you can save some money while you’re at it.
In this post, I’ll be discussing the best methods of freezing spinach for smoothies.
Can You Freeze Spinach for Smoothies?
It is possible – and safe – to freeze fresh spinach.
It’s well worth freezing your spinach when you compare shelf lives – raw, fresh spinach will go bad after around 7 days in the fridge, while frozen spinach can last for a total time of 6 months.
It’s a good idea to search for places to bulk-buy your spinach and freeze it straight away. Bulk-buying from wholesale stores is a great way to cut down on your spend, so if you’ve got the freezer room, I highly recommend it.
Another idea is to grow your own spinach and freeze it as soon as you’ve harvested it. If you plant all your spinach seeds at once, chances are, the entire spinach plant will be ready at once. This isn’t a problem if you freeze your spinach in portions and enjoy one portion per day in your green smoothies.
Methods of Freezing Spinach for Smoothie Use
There are two common ways to freeze spinach leaves for your smoothies: freezing whole spinach leaves or pureeing spinach and freezing it in ice cube trays. I’ve shared the instructions for both below.
Freezing Whole Spinach Leaves
The easiest method is to freeze spinach as it is. Simply wash your spinach and pat it dry with paper towels. Then take a freezer bag and place the leaves inside. Press the leaves down after each layer added.
Continue until the freezer bag is completely full, then squeeze the bag to remove as much air as you can. Repeat with as many freezer bags as you need to store your spinach, then place the bags in your freezer.
When you want to use the frozen spinach, leave it to thaw for a couple of hours beforehand, then squeeze the spinach to drain any excess water before adding to your smoothie recipes.
An alternative to putting as much spinach in your freezer bags as fits is to portion your spinach per bag, so that a single bag contains the ideal amount of spinach for your smoothie. This means you can remove one bag from your freezer per day, knowing that you won’t end up wasting spinach because you have an excess.
Freezing Pureed Spinach in Ice Cube Trays
If you want to make your job even easier when it comes to smoothie prep time, you can add pureed baby spinach to plastic ice cube trays and freeze until a later date.
This technique tends to be the most suitable for adding salad greens to your smoothie recipes, as you won’t have to deal with any clogging or catching in your blender’s blades. It’s also a good hack if you like to use greens in your soups.
For this process, simply add 1 cup baby spinach to your blender and blend it with water. You can add more greens and more water to use up all the spinach you have available.
It’s up to you how much water you add to your blender, but keep in mind that the more liquid you add, the lower the concentration of greens you’ll have per ice cube.
Once your spinach is nicely blended, pour the liquid into ice containers and leave them in the freezer until they’re solid. You can then pop the cubes out of the tray or container and store them in freezer bags. This is a great space-saving idea if you don’t have enough room in your freezer for bags of leaves.
Whichever method you use to store your greens, could use frozen spinach in whatever healthy juice or smoothie recipes appeal to you most, whether with a combination of frozen fruit or other green veggies like kale.