In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat frozen spinach without cooking?”, and how to thaw frozen spinach?
Can you eat frozen spinach without cooking?
Yes, you can eat frozen spinach without cooking. It is because spinach is blanched before it is frozen. Blanching inactivates the spoilage enzymes, removes surface dirt, preserves nutrients, and removes the harmful bacteria from the spinach.
Therefore, you can safely use frozen spinach in your salads, smoothies, or cooking. Make sure you thaw the spinach if you intend to use it raw.
How to store spinach in the freezer?
Frozen spinach is best consumed within 10-12 months of storage. Prolonged frozen storage of spinach withers the leaves and leaves the spinach with a bitter taste and freezer burn.
Always label the storage bag of spinach before freezing. This will help you keep track of the shelf-life of spinach. Tightly seal the package of frozen spinach to prevent it from drying out.
How to thaw frozen spinach?
In the fridge
Letting the frozen spinach thaw slowly in the fridge would not make it soggy. If you repulse the texture of thawed spinach drenched in water, this is the way to go. Slow defrosting will preserve the taste, texture, and nutrients of the thawed spinach.
However, this method requires some planning ahead. You need to put the frozen spinach in the fridge 2 days before you need to use it. If not for 2 days, leave it overnight in the fridge.
At room temperature
Thawing the frozen spinach at room temperature works best if you don’t have much time on your clock.
Simply place the frozen spinach in a strainer in the sink for several hours. It takes about 5-6 hours for the spinach to completely thaw on the counter.
Under warm water
This method works best if you have last-minute meals to prep. Put the frozen spinach in a strainer and place it under warm running water. When the ice becomes to melt, help the process by removing the ice crystals yourself.
In the microwave
This is another quick method to try when you want thawed spinach due to a time strain. Empty the package of frozen spinach into a microwave-safe bowl or plate.
Microwave the spinach for about 2 minutes on the ‘defrost setting’. Transfer the defrosted spinach to a colander and drain the excess liquid. Pat dry to remove the surface moisture.
Directly cooking frozen spinach saves a lot of time and prevents its nutrients from washing away in the thawing liquid. This trick only works if you have a recipe that requires the spinach to be cooked.
Tips on thawing the frozen spinach like a pro
- Always use warm water and not hot water to thaw frozen spinach. Hot water will cook the spinach.
- Do not leave the frozen spinach on the counter for more than 8 hours. If it’s been out for more than 8 hours, discard the spinach.
- If your microwave does not have the ‘defrost setting’, simply microwave on low power to keep the spinach from burning.
- Do not refreeze frozen spinach. Refreezing will significantly damage the texture of the spinach while putting the safety of the spinach at risk.
- Freeze the spinach in meal-sized portions so you can thaw just the right amount at a time.
- Leftover spinach that was defrosted in the fridge can be refrigerated for an additional 2 days. Do not reheat the leftover spinach more than once. It is because the temperature fluctuations promote microbial growth.
- Always keep track of the shelf-life and the expiry dates of frozen vegetables.
How to buy spinach?
When you are on the hunt for spinach, make sure you have an eye for the spinach leaves with vivid green color and a crispy texture. The brighter the green and the crispier the texture, the fresher the spinach is.
The fresher the spinach, the longer It will last in your fridge. Therefore, invest wisely. The stems, however, should also be paid attention to. They should be completely dry. Reject the spinach with discolored stems.
When purchasing pre-packed spinach in bags or clamshells, reject the container with loads of condensation droplets on the inside. This residual water will promote spillage of the leaves.
Does cooking spinach kill bacteria?
If the spinach is heated at 170℉ for about 15 seconds, you can kill E. coli O157:H7 bacteria. However, the toxins produced by some pathogenic bacteria can not be destroyed by heating and can be problematic.
Other FAQs about Spinach that you may be interested in.
In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat frozen spinach without cooking?”, and how to thaw frozen spinach?