Thursday, March 30, 2017

How to Keep a Big Bag of Spinach from Going Bad

I bought a bag of spinach at the grocery store when I was doing my weekly shopping.  I wish I could go shopping every two weeks, or even once a month - oh how nice that would be!  But we eat enough food around here that I would need a second refrigerator just for the produce.  And produce doesn't stay lovely and perky for that long, anyway.

I brought home my little bag of spinach and tucked it in my produce drawer - the one on the left side.  The right side produce drawer is my husband's and I keep it stocked with the kinds of things he uses.  The spinach is for my green smoothies.  Later that day, as I was making my usual green smoothie - two carrots, four cups of spinach, a frozen banana or two, an apple or orange, and a handful of whatever fruit I could find in the freezer - David came home from track practice.  He said his track coach wants them to get more vitamins and minerals in their diet.  As we talked, I realized that he could get everything his coach wanted in a daily green smoothie!  Nature for the win!

So my little grocery store bag of spinach is being depleted at an alarming rate.  I gave in and went to Costco for a big bag of spinach.  No, it's not a bag - it's more like a pillow.  A great green pillow o' greens.  Good stuff.  The challenge was to find a place for it in the refrigerator.  We moved leftover pasta and cartons of eggs so we could squish it in next to the stack of tortillas for Sunday tacos. 

I've purchased big spinach pillows before, and I generally use about 3/4 of it before it turns to mush.  There's nothing like reaching into the bag and getting a handful of green slime.  Blech.  So how do you keep from wasting perfectly good spinach?  Here's our family's top five tips:

5) Dry it.  I've noticed that there is a lot of moisture in the bag - to keep it fresh, I suppose.  I lay a towel out on the counter and dump all the spinach on it.  Pat dry, and return to the bag.

4) Shake it.  Every time you use some spinach, give the bag a shake.  This prevents the leaves at the bottom of the bag from getting squashed and keeps everything mixed up well.

3) Freeze it.  You can throw a bag of spinach into the freezer!  The leaves freeze well, almost as if they were individually flash-frozen.  When you are ready for a smoothie, just open the bag and pull out what you want.  Don't try this if you like your spinach in salads - the thawing does not turn out well.

2) Compost it.  Waiting until the spinach is at green-slime stage saves a step for your compost bin.

1) Eat it.  This is our family go-to.  We just eat it before it goes bad.  Works like a charm every time!

Happy smoothies!  And strawberry spinach salad, and spanakopita, and spinach dip, and spinach soup, and spinach quiche... I'd better go back to Costco.  I might have to buy another fridge while I am there.

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