In Season: Frozen Chopped "Spinach"
Those paper-covered blocks of frozen chopped spinach in the freezer section of the supermarket are mighty handy when you're making a more involved recipe like lasagna. Well, if you're like me and a little worried about where those greens were grown and processed. Did you see that viral video about frozen organic veggies from China? Fa-reaky.
If you take a few minutes now to turn the tops of your farmers market/CSA turnip (or perhaps beet or radish) bunches into frozen chopped "spinach" into your own convenience food tomorrow, you'll rest easier knowing where it came from and that you did it yourself.
All righty, there really isn't a recipe, per se, but just a method to the greens madness. This is such a great way to use the greens that you don't particularly like "fresh cooked" or that have started to wilt and would otherwise soon end up in the trash or compost.
|See you another time Mr. Turnip.|
Start by removing the roots from the tops and then floating the whole greens in a big vessel of cold clean water and give them a light swirl. Lift the leaves out and, if needed, de-rib them by cutting them out with a knife or like I do, running the leaves between my fingers to encourage separation. This video demonstrates de-ribbing nicely.
|I haven't used this wedding gift steamer kit much in the last 10 years, but it's quite handy for this application.|
I recommend steaming the greens to make sure they retain most of their nutrients. Set a large pot on the stove and fill with about an inch of water. Set one of those collapsable steamer baskets inside (or use your fancy steamer pot kit) and when the water starts steaming, place the cleaned leaves inside and cover with a lid. Steam until quite tender - taste a leaf to make sure it's to your liking. Remove the steamed leaves with tongs and place them onto a cutting board to hand chop or into a food processor to have it do all the hard work for you. Chop unti it resembles that box of chopped frozen spinach - or however fine you like, it's your kitchen.
Once chopped, scoop it into your favorite freezer container, label with today's date and try to use in the next 3-6 months. When storing, make sure that the leaves are submerged in their own liquid or add some of the steaming liquid to cover so that the leaves won't dry out when they're waiting in the freezer for you to defrost, squeeze out the excess liquid add it to a meatball, curry or fritatta.