Spinach is a quite versitile lefy green that can be used in different ways in the kitchen. Whether you’re adding it raw to your smoothies, to your salad, a quiche or an omelet, spinach is a wonderful ingredient that helps you boosting the nutrition of your meals. Unfortunately, spinach is also famous to go bad quite quickly and many people find them wilted, soggy or gnarly and smelling bad.
The good things is that there are many ways to prolong the shelf life of your spinach, but one that you might not know about is canning.
If you want to avoid finding spoiled spinach leaves in your fridge and having to waste food, which is always bad, you might want to read more about how to can spinach.
Why should I can Spinach?
Canning spinach is an easy, hassle-free way to prevent your spinach from going bad and to have them available for longer. By preparing your spinach correctly you might have them last for as much as eight months! The fact that it is a very simple process makes it quite attractive as an efficient way to have spinach conveniently available to you when you’re cooking.
Are you convinced? Read further about how is the process of canning spinach.
What do I need to Can Spinach?
First of all, you need to select fresh and crips spinach. Discard all old, wilted or soggy leaves as they will affect the taste of the whole jar. One thing to mention before starting is that greens (and spinach especially) tend to leave a lot of liquid. That means that you’ll need a decent amount of spinach to fill some jars (we’ll talk about the quantities) and that you have to leave them cooling down slowly after the process which will help to lessen the amount of liquid lost.
The good thing is that the process is very simple and you’ll only require your spinach, some glass jars, and a pressure canner.
In terms of quantities, ff you want to load 7 quarts of a canner, you will need approximately 28 pounds of spinach, while 18 pounds will be enough for loading the pressure canner with 9 pints.
How to properly can spinach?
Firstly, you have to thoroughly wash your spinach leaves. This might be the “hardest” step of all because dirt tends to stick to leaves, so make sure you rinse your spinach several times until they are properly clean.
Trim the ends and cut off the stems of the leaves.
Next, you can prepare your jars. For the procedure to be safe, you have to boil the jars for 10 minutes, or you can just put them in the washing machine in the “sanitize cycle”. Make sure that both jars and lids are kept warm while your preparing your spinach leaves so that they will be hot when you start filling them.
While you’re doing that, you can also start preparing the water where you’ll blanch your spinach. This is an important step to prevent bacteria from spreading and “spoil” the canned spinach.
To blanch spinach, just pour some water in a large pot, wait for it to boil and steam your leaves in bunches of 1 pound. If you have a steamer or a blanching basket they will do the trick. Usually, 3 to 5 minutes will be enough to wilt the leaves.
After that, dip the leaves in cold water to stop the cooking process and drain them well. Don’t throw the liquid away. Once you’ve blanched all your spinach leaves, it is time to put them inside jars.
Place the spinach leaves inside the glass jars and push them down a little bit. Pour some of the cooking liquid and fill the jar up until one inch from the lid.
Add half a tablespoon of salt to pints and 1 tablespoon of salt to quarts. Make sure to wipe off the jar, especially around the rims before sealing it.
Now you’re ready to place your jars inside the pressure canner at a pressure of 10 pounds. For pints, the process will last about 1 hour and 10 minutes, while quarts will require 1 hour and 30 minutes.
When the pressure canning process is over, allow the machine to cool down and wait until the pressure drops to zero before opening it. Then, take the jars out and let them cool down at room temperature. Check that all your jars are well-sealed and there you go, you have your conveniently available canned spinach that you can use in a variety of different meals!
How Should I Store Fresh Spinach?
We’ve just gone over how you can effectively can spinach so that they will last up until seven to eight months on your shelves. However, it might be interesting for you to know how to store fresh spinach well when you buy it. Because as we mentioned spinach tend to lose a great amount of water, they are usually purchased in big volumes, as the cooking process will literally “shrink” your spinach, leaving you with very little.
But how do I make my fresh spinach last longer?
First of all, you should select the freshest spinach leaves. They should be dark green, crisp and have a nice, fresh smell.
If you decide to store your spinach in the fridge, ensure the leaves are as dry as possible. To prolong their shelf-life, make sure you wrap them with kitchen paper towels, which will absorb the excess moisture. When spinach is moist, it will quickly turn black and slimy, which we want to avoid.
Place your leaves in an air-tight container and store it in the fridge. By following this procedure, spinach can last up to a week inside your fridge.
Alternatively, you might want to freeze spinach, in case you know you won’t use it in a week. To do so is pretty simple. Follow the blanching process as described above and after having dried the leaves from excess water, simply place it in a plastic bag and store it in the freezer, where spinach can last as long as 10 months.
Spinach is a convenient vegetable that is handy to have available at different times and in good conditions. Follow the above methods and you’ll not have to deal with spoiled spinach anymore!
Be sure to check out our guide on how to can potatoes!