Wednesday, October 23, 2013

saving spinach

So we are half way through spring, and although it is almost impossible to believe considering the wintry weather outside, the race is on to get the kitchen garden summer ready. To pull out the last of the wintry crops, to dig some compost into the soil and to start planting out the new season's seeds.

On our farm the market gardens are almost always too wet to work the soil until mid to late November, so it is nice to have a bit of a micro climate to get a head start in.

The first thing that needs to happen up here is we need to make some room. Out with the old and in with the new. This almost always involves us walking around the garden a few times working out what flowers need to stay for the bees and seed saving, what plants are looking like they are past their peak and need to come out, and what can stay in the ground for a bit longer.

We plant loads of spinach every year and although we've enjoyed it in almost every meal for the past few months, the start of the warmer months means it will soon be bolting and we need to pick it at it's peak now and save it for future eating.

So I've been wandering around the garden picking big boxes of spinach.

Then I wash it and place it still wet in a deep frying pan on the cooker for a few minutes to wilt.

(Gosh, I wish I wiped down the cooker before I took that photo.)

Once wilted, I squeeze as much water out of the spinach and then use scissors to chop it quite finely.

Then I make tight little spinach balls of about a handful of mixture each and pop them in the freezer on a plate. Freezing them on the plate ensures they don't stick together and are easy to separate when I need them later on.

Once they are frozen, I pop them into a container all together and back into the freezer.

It never failes to amaze me that the contents of an entire garden bed can fit into a small tub.

I'd guess it is completely safe to keep the spinach balls in the freezer for four or five months although I'm sure I've used ours up to eight months later.

I use some of the stalks for the balls and we juice the rest and freeze it for stock.

I did drink a glass of straight spinach juice just because my farmer boy thought it would be good for us, but I do not recommend that at all. Ew!!

And then I repeat the snipping, washing, wilting, squeezing, snipping, shaping, freezing until there's no more spinach to be seen.

And the garden gaps are filled and a new season of growing begins.


Are you preserving? Planting? Gobbling?

I've missed you.

xx

28 comments:

  1. My Mum seems to always have spinach growing somewhere. As a child I hated the never ending spinach supply - but I might see what is there next time I visit and add some to my freezer - my own children are thankfully not quite so fussy.

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  2. This is wonderful and perfect timing! We were just discussing freezing our spinach and I thought we might've slightly blanched it..so now I know we heat it in the pan! My husband loves the tips I bring to him thanks to you guys..x

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  3. Hi Kate, this is a great way to freeze and store spinach, awesome! Your kitchen and your garden both look like lovely places to be. Look at that old teapot, if it could talk it could tell a few stories.

    I am constantly wandering and debating about what to pull out too...trying to think of the bees and the seed factor. Can you believe we are growing food in the same country? It has been very hot here already and I have the early stages of tomatoes and zucchini.

    Great to see you back in blog land, I have missed your words and photos x

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    1. Thanks lovely Jane, I often can't believe we are in the same country when I see your posts. To think my tomatoes only have a couple of tiny leaves still. xx

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    2. I used to live up Jane's way and now I live in the hills of northeast Vic. It's been a big adjustment in the garden! Out west I used to have tomatoes from Dec to July, now I'm lucky if I can even get them to ripen before the autumn frosts arrive!

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  4. Replies
    1. Oh thank you so much Reanon, that means a lot. xx

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  5. i like to weigh it and freeze in portion sizes exact for my favourite dishes. going to take out the lot out, though ours normally just keeps going an gonig as we planted nz spinach and it's like a ground cover and is taking up too much room. just love that tea pot photo x

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  6. That's a clever plan. Have you ever used spinach in pesto? I make my boys a "green pasta" with basil pesto, and have successfully hidden spinach and rocket in there...

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    1. I've never but I sure will now. x

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  7. Today's my birthday and I was thrilled to get a copy of your book from hubby (dropping hints paid off!) Looking forward to snuggling up with a cuppa, browsing the gorgeous photos and getting inspired and jealous at the same time :-)

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  8. its the first time this year i have saved seeds and i'm loving it! we have gobbled tomotoes and are eagerly awaiting parsnips and leeks xxxxx

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  9. Mmmm that spinach looks delicious! My garden is looking super sad right now... the heat here is comes on so fast and dry everything is already shrivelling up and going brown. Either that or I'm just a crappy gardener ;)

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  10. Oh, also... what do you do with the little spinach "patties" once you freeze them? How do you use them?

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    1. Hey Amanda, I just use them in dishes exactly the same way I'd use the fresh stuff. If I remember ahead of time I leave a ball or two to thaw out ahead of time, and if not I chuck them into whatever I am cooking frozen and thaw them on the job. x

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  11. Gosh I'm glad you didn't wipe down the cooker before you took that photo! :)

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  12. Spinach always amazes. I pick loads and loads thinking there'll be way too much, put it in the pan and it wilts away to almost nothing. Much as I love spinach, I think the family would revolt if I froze it as they all breathe a sigh of relief when I pull it out at the end of the season.

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  13. Beautiful spinachy photos Kate. I love the excitement of preparing and planting the garden for summer!

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  14. Have been eagerly awaiting your post Kate! In autumnal (but really.mild) England, we have been enjoying yummy sweetcorn (best I have ever tasted!) And homegrown leek soup. Mmm! Couldn't resist buying some gorgeous indigo coloured winter poppies today, too, to brighten up our garden! Lots of love to all you bloggers! Ps note the lack of tidying in the garden!

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  15. What a great read today. I just went out the backyard, picked the last of the spinach. Wilted, chopped (a bit) and now freezing spinach as we speak. It took about 15 minutes. Love it! You have inspired my next blog post I think in the next couple of days. Hope thats ok? http://thewindmillpaddock.blogspot.com.au

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  16. What a wonderful idea! Love it.... would so love to visit your farm someday.

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  17. Now that is a clever way to save spinach. Oh how I long for my pantry to be built so we can start up the big freezer!

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  18. Been sneaking around here for a while. Getting to read your blog is like having a perpetual harvest: ours is coming to a close just as yours is beginning. Anyway, we're gobbling.

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  20. That post had me swooning... I luuuuuuurrrrrveeee Spinach - Esp with eggs for breakfast. I have never seen this method of preservation though so big green thanks from Moi! xx

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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