Eating raw spinach leaves from your garden or the nearby organic store is one of the best things. Indeed, the best part of spinach is that it will go well with most types of salads.
And you can have so many advantages by adding these super-green leaves to your diet. Here is the problem, though. Spinach leaves do not survive room temperature or refrigeration beyond a point.
It means you cannot expect to finish an entire harvest or bag of spinach by yourself. If you try to store it, you might have to use a few other techniques.
You could consider getting smaller bags of spinach from the store, but it is not so practical. Continuous farming is not the most suitable option for many people. So, the most convenient option is to dehydrate and store spinach.
Dehydration refers to the process of removing water from the spinach leaves and making them last longer. Even better, you can follow multiple routes once you have finished dehydrating spinach.
In this article, we have prepared an ultimate guide to spinach dehydration and long-term storage. We have also answered a few questions you may have about the ordeal. So, without further ado, we will jump into the dehydration process.
Table of Contents
How To Dehydrate Spinach?
You can dehydrate spinach in multiple ways. We have covered the three most popular options in this guide.
As you can guess, you may need a unique set of tools while following each method. Therefore, we have covered the steps you need to follow for each technique.
#1 Dehydrate Spinach using a Food Dehydrator
This method is the easiest if you have a dehydrator at your home.
Tools and Equipment Needed:
- A Food Dehydrator
- A Draining Pot
- Chopping Knife
- As we said, we are using a dedicated food dehydrator for this process. A food dehydrator is a tool to remove water content from food products. It may be done for long-term storage or optimizing the flavor.
- First, you have to go through the spinach leaves and check if there are dead parts. Once you remove the dead parts, you should wash the spinach leaves thoroughly. Make sure you do not let any contaminants.
- It is also recommended to remove large stems from the collection. Because these stems contain lots of water, they may cause problems during the dehydration process. In addition, in some cases, the stems might become so dry, ruining the looks and texture of the hydrated spinach leaves.
- Once you have removed the stems, you can use the chopping knife to make the spinach leaves into an easy-to-manage structure. You can skip this step if you want to use the dehydrated leaves in their biggest size, though.
- Now, it is time to organize the spinach leaves for drying. Make sure you do not add all the leaves in a single space. Instead, spread them out as much as you can. It is not necessary to separate spinach leaves one by one, but overlapping will be another problem.
- In this step, you can let the dehydrator do its job. The recommended time is 6 hours, and you have to maintain a temperature of 125 degrees. Depending on the leaves you have, you may have to spend a few more hours. It would help if you waited until the leaves are visibly dry and brittle.
#2 Dehydrate Spinach using the oven
If you do not have a dedicated dehydrator, you can rely on the oven.
Tools and Equipment Needed:
- Chopping knife
- In this method, we are using a conventional oven in your kitchen. It means you do not have to spend extra on a food dehydrator. In addition, you can finish the dehydration process quickly since an oven produces more heat.
- You have to follow the first three steps we have mentioned in the first method. It means you have to remove contaminants, excess water, and stems from the bunch of spinach leaves you have. You can also chop the leaves if you want.
- Now, you can use a cookie rack to arrange the spinach leaves for dehydration. You have to set up all the leaves without piling them up. Make sure that everything is placed on an even layer. It would reduce the chances of overburning.
- You can set the degrees to 125 degrees. However, some ovens may have a minimum temperature of 150 degrees. In that case, you can stick to 150 degrees temperature, but you should keep an eye to see if the heat is too much.
- As said, you would not have to wait for long, especially if you have chosen 150 degrees temperature. You might have the results in 2 or 3 hours, which is excellent. Once you find that the leaves are dry and brittle, you can move them to another container.
#3 Hang-drying Spinach Leaves
If you do not have an oven, you can try this conventional method to dehydrate spinach leaves.
Tools and Equipment Needed:
- Butcher’s string
- Like we did in the previous methods, you have to clean and arrange the spinach leaves. You do not have to remove stems in this method. The stems would come in handy when we have to set up the string.
- In this step, you can tie the spinach leaves to the butcher’s string. Make sure that the leaves do not fall, especially if you live in a windy area. Therefore, it is best to make them tight on the string.
- Now, you can hang the string in a place that does not get direct sunlight. However, exposing the leaves to direct sunlight is not the best idea. Instead, it would be best if you let the spinach leaves become dry with the help of natural air.
- While this process may look up to 3 or 4 weeks, it does not cost anything. You can leave the spinach leaves hanging for this time and check back once you are ready. Once you find these leaves are dry, you can move them to a plate, container, or zip bag.
So, you can choose between these three options depending on the equipment you have and the time you can
What is the Proper Way to Store Dehydrated Spinach?
There is no single proper way to store dehydrated spinach. However, you can choose one of the following options for the best results.
The choice must be based on how you want to use the spinach in the long term.
- You can transfer the dehydrated spinach leaves to an airtight bag. We recommend going for a zip bag that would keep things neat. You can store the leaves in the bag and consume them whenever you want.
- You can create spinach powder, which is easy to use while cooking. You can use this powder to add fresh spinach flavor to your morning eggs, omelets, or other dishes. It is very convenient than adding raw leaves, which may not diffuse the flavor nicely.
- Instead of creating a powder, you can also create spinach flakes. It would be a great addition to your morning smoothies and other drinks. We hope you know that spinach leaves offer a lot of nutrient values.
These three methods would increase the usability of the spinach leaves to a great extent.
Shelf Life of Dehydrated Spinach
One reason people dehydrate spinach in the first place is to increase the shelf life. So, what would be the average shelf life of dehydrated spinach?
Even though the numbers would vary based on the methods, you can store dehydrated spinach on your shelf for up to six months. In some cases, dry spinach leaves and flakes would last for up to one year.
However, it is unlikely that you would keep the dehydrated spinach for such a long span. These products are so delicious that you can finish them in a month or two.
By the way, you can get the maximum shelf life by converting spinach to spinach powder.
Should You Make Spinach Powder?
Making spinach powder is an effective way to increase the longevity of dehydrated spinach. You can do this by crushing the dry leaves.
You will then have a nice powder that is easy to blend into smoothies and other dishes. Therefore, if you would like to add spinach to many dishes, you should make spinach powder.
Doing so will help you avail of the maximum shelf life as well. You can expect the powder to last on your shelf for up to a year, which is excellent.
Does Spinach Lose Nutrients When Dehydrated?
No, spinach does not lose nutrients when dehydrated. As we have seen, dehydrating does not affect leaves in any chemical form. Instead, the process removes the water from the bunch.
Therefore, spinach powder or spinach flakes would offer the same nutritional advantages as raw spinach leaves would. It would become easy to add flavor into dishes as well. So, dehydrating spinach gives you more benefits than problems. It also makes things convenient to a great extent.
You have to choose the dehydrating method based on how you want to consume it. Not everyone would not love eating hydrated spinach leaves, but spinach powder accompanies most dishes nicely.