Can You Refreeze Spinach? – Safety Concerns
You can do a lot with spinach. It’s a great vegetable to add to multiple types of meals such as soups, casseroles, salads, and more. Spinach is versatile and freezing it is pretty simple.
The question is, can you refreeze your spinach? You buy your spinach in bulk and pull it out as you need it. But it’s recommended to partially thaw your spinach before using it so you partially thaw it out and only use a portion.
Do you put the rest back in the freezer? You can refreeze your spinach but there are some facts you should be aware of. There are certain risks to refreezing your foods after you’ve allowed them to thaw or opened the sealed freezer package.
We’ve put together a guide that will share recommendations for refreezing spinach and the potential risks associated with doing so. Additionally, we have some tips to share with you for alternative options to avoid the need to refreeze.
There is a lot of information to share here but it is all fairly basic and easy to follow or understand. Don’t be intimidated by the thought that there are potential risks to refreezing foods. If we’re honest, there are risks in nearly every type of storage method and cooking method available.
The purpose of this guide is to help you understand the process, the risks, and the options. We’ve got your back through the process. Keep reading to get all of those important details that lie ahead.
Frozen Spinach Guide
Spinach is pretty versatile and very easy to work with. You can buy frozen spinach from the store or you can freeze your own fresh spinach. There are some differences in what you should use frozen or fresh spinach for. Here are some examples.
Fresh Spinach Uses
- Sandwiches or wraps
- Pasta dishes
Additionally, you can cook your fresh spinach to be able to use it for any recipe. However, you cannot reverse freezing your spinach. Once it is frozen, it does not work as well for some uses such as salads or sandwiches and wrap toppings.
Frozen Spinach Uses
- Creamed spinach sauces
- Sauté dishes
- Any warm dish you want to toss spinach in
As you can see, frozen spinach is pretty versatile, it just has a few restrictions that fresh spinach does not have. However, fresh spinach typically must be cooked before it can then be used in many of these things.
It’s a basic toss-up whether one option is better than the other. Here is what we do know though. Even if you purchase fresh spinach, you most likely need storage options and that’s where freezing comes in.
We’re here to talk about refreezing spinach but we want to cover the basics as well. We’re going to spend a short amount of time on the process of freezing spinach. How it’s frozen initially could affect what takes place when you attempt to refreeze.
Freezing fresh spinach can be done in two different ways:
- You can either blanch the spinach,
- or you can freeze it fresh.
Blanching the spinach keeps it fresh in the freezer almost twice as long as if you freeze it fresh without blanching.
Here are the steps. If you wish to not blanch the spinach, simply skip that step and use the other steps for freezing fresh spinach.
- Chop spinach finely
- Blanch spinach
- Separate spinach into portions and place into freezer bags. We will share more about portioning later, but we recommend not freezing everything together.
- Freeze fresh spinach about 6 months and blanched spinach up to 12 months.
Potential Risks of Refreezing Foods
Here’s where we get to the good stuff. Chances are if you’re here you are already familiar with the basic freezing process. There are a lot of details that play into freezing, using spinach after freezing, and then of course if you attempt to refreeze.
It’s very important that you understand that there is a certain amount of risk to refreezing any food. Meat is extremely important to be careful with. Spinach has some information you need to be aware of but may not be as crucial as some things.
What you should be aware of is that if you freeze food and then thaw it completely, pull some out and then want to refreeze your food there is a process here that could impact the food that you are yo-yo-ing from one temperature to another.
Here are some important facts about refreezing food and the potential risks involved.
- Refreezing spinach could reduce the nutrient quality as well as the overall quality of the food. Thawing the food reduces the moisture content within the package and the food. However, you can refreeze the food.
- Freezing foods can be hard on them, causing texture and taste to be affected. As you might imagine, refreezing foods does the same thing over and can make the taste or texture even worse.
- If you only partially thaw the food and then refreeze it, it is a much safer option. We highly recommend that if you intend to refreeze, you allow the spinach to only partially thaw. In a partially thawed state, ice will still be in the package. The overall quality may be slightly affected but not nearly as much as a full defrost.
- The primary concern to thawing food and refreezing it is that while the food is thawed it can attract bacteria and any bacteria already within the food can multiply. Then when you toss the food back in the freezer it can spoil or already be spoiled and you may not notice until you’ve consumed the spoiled food.
Refreezing Spinach – The Process
Now that you are aware of the risks, we want you to know it is an option, you simply need to be informed of the potential effects and understand the processes for preventing or avoiding the risks.
Here are the steps for thawing and refreezing. You should try to plan ahead and know whether you might need to refreeze before you start the thawing process.
- You can pull the frozen spinach from the freezer and simply break or chisel off a chunk for your current use and then immediately put the remainder back into the freezer.
- When you pull the spinach from the freezer, thaw it in the fridge. Do not allow it to fully thaw or to get warm. We recommend letting it partially thaw about halfway, removing what you need and immediately replacing the remainder in the fridge.
- Your refrozen spinach should only be kept for 4-6 months at most since it has been subjected to open air outside of the freezer.
How You Might Be Able to Avoid the Need to Refreeze Spinach
Now that you understand the risks involved in refreezing foods, we want to provide you with some tips or alternatives to avoid needing to refreeze spinach.
- When initially freezing the spinach, portion it into single portions so whatever you pull out of the freezer will be just enough and you won’t need to worry about refreezing.
- Plan ahead with frozen spinach purchased from the store and separate it out immediately after purchasing.
- Plan ahead when removing bulk packaging from the freezer and remember to only allow partial thawing. You could also take this opportunity to split it out into portions.
- Remember that the shelf life has most likely been reduced by refreezing. You should label and date with initial freezing and update your label with a new date if you refreeze.
We highly recommend simply being proactive and freezing in separated portions to prevent the need to even worry about the risks of refreezing your spinach.
We hope that you have found the details in this article to be both useful and informative for your needs. We invite you to check out the question and answer section for additional information you might find helpful.
What is The Best Way to Determine Portion Sizes for Separated Freezing?
This could vary based on what you typically use your spinach for. For instance, if you primarily use your spinach for making smoothies, you can actually freeze it into ice cubes and this is the perfect portion for a smoothie.
However, if you use a lot of spinach in cooking consider how much your recipes typically call for. You can also prepare various portion sizes if you use different amounts. Divide the portions in cup measurements and you can always pull out more than one portion if you need to.
Is It Okay To Freeze Canned Spinach?
We typically do not recommend freezing canned vegetables, particularly if they were store canned. They have been through processing to be canned and it could affect their freezing viability.
This also can be a risky measure for the preservation of food because it welcomes bacteria into the mix taking food from one specific storage element to another can have a disastrous effect on the food.