It’s sitting there on the kitchen counter waiting for me to get up and do something with it: a vast, nay a freaking bushel-sized bag of fresh spinach from Costco. Get up, it calls. Get up, get up, get up!
Okay, I will…whenever I finish this post.
Buying a lifetime supply of fresh, crisp spinach would seem counterproductive for an elderly broad who lives with two beings that do not eat leafy greens. To speak of, that is.
But in fact, it’s a very neat thing to do for yourself.
I dearly love spinach, but the grocery stores where I shop — including Costco — have pretty much ceased selling frozen spinach. Canned spinach…well, dunno what it is, but it ain’t spinach. So this leaves buying and cooking fresh spinach, which is a bit of a PITA when you’re tossing a fast dinner for one on the table.
But if you don’t mind getting the PITA over in one swell foop…it turns out that fresh spinach cheerfully lends itself to freezing.
The trick is to blanche it first. “To blanche” means to drop a veggie or fruit into boiling water very briefly and then immediately drop it into cold water. Or, in this case, pour it into a colander and cool it off under running water from the kitchen sink’s cold tap.
This procedure is absurdly easy.
Get yourself a big pot — in the case of the CC Lifetime Supply, the largest in the house. Fill it about 2/3 or 3/4 full with plain water, place it on the stove, and bring the water to a boil. Place a colander in the sink.
When the water is seething at a good clip, simply drop the spinach (or any other veggie you please) into the water. In a few seconds, a green veggie will turn brighter or deeper green (spinach, chard, kale, and the like will also wilt). Forthwith, pour the veggies and water into the colander, allowing the hot water to pour down the drain. Immediately turn on the cold water and chill the hot veggies down to room temperature or cooler.
If you have another large pot, fill that with ice and water, so is to give yourself a big potful of ice water. Flip the veggies out of the colander into the ice water — this will preserve the bright green color better than cooling with tap water. Actually, if the colander will fit into the pot, just set it directly into the ice water, and then you won’t have to fool with gathering up the blanched leaves.
Now you need to get enough spinach to feed an army into the freezer.
Spread a few layers of paper towels on the kitchen counter. Spread the spinach on the towels in a single layer, and then top with some more towels. Pat these around to absorb water, then roll up the spinach in the layered towels, hold the package over the sink, and wring it, as you would wring out a wet dishrag.
Unroll and distribute the blanched spinach in serving sizes. Place these in Ziploc baggies or refrigerator containers and stick ’em into the freezer.
Now, to serve all you have to do is defrost some of it (I place the baggie or plastic container in some warm tap water; alternatively you could zap it on a microwave’s “defrost” setting), melt some butter in a pan, and warm the spinach in the butter. Add flavorings to taste: nutmeg is good. Tarragon is good. Curry is awe-inspiring.