Harvesting Spinach

Now that spring growing season is well under way in Michigan, I have crops that need to be harvested. Today I will be harvesting the spinach crop and freezing the excess to use in recipes and smoothies.

Spinach is a green leafy vegetable rich in iron and vitamin C that can be enjoyed fresh or cooked.

Spinach tends to bolt and get bitter when temperatures rise so it is important to harvest spinach before the weather gets to hot.

Also harvest before the plants begin to bloom. I use kitchen scissors to cut mine. All spring long I have been cutting leaves off these plants for salads and cooking. Each plant has fully mature leaves and baby ones at the same time. New leaves form and I get multiple gatherings from each plant. However the weather will be in the 90’s this week so today I will clear cut these spinach plants. The plants will continue to make leaves after today but may be too bitter to eat. That is when ripping them out and planting a new summer crop of another variety is wisest. Discarded plants are used as green food for the poultry, or for the compost pile. Juicing the plants is also an option. As summer draws to an end here in late July or early August I will plant another spinach crop for fall harvest.

After cutting the spinach, immediately process to insure a farm fresh product. Don’t leave them to wilt. Wash the spinach in clean water, and inspect them for pest or disease. Since I practice organic gardening I always find some pest.

After washing use a salad spinner to get most of the water off the spinach. If you don’t have one lay the leaves out to dry and put a fan on them. Excess water on the leaves turns to ice in the freezer. I then rough chopped the leaves and put into freezer bags. I do not blanch mine. Freeze immediately.

IMG_20160610_134429224What I Planted: I planted Spinach Palco Hybrid-Organic seeds from burpee. A 2.5g package. Delicious tender dark green leaves with a high nutritional value.

When I Planted: Spinach is a cool weather vegetable. I planted in beds prepared the fall before on April 15. This variety matures in 30-50 days.

How much to plant: this little 4×8 foot plot shown here was the contents of one small seed package. If spaced according to the directions the plot would of been much larger. I just broadcast mine and left them to grow where they sprouted. It was plenty enough for my family for eating fresh all spring long. In addition I  froze 11 bags of one meal bags for use during the summer months.

Tips: If you are going to clear cut your greens like I did keep your green leafy vegetable beds weed free, or else you will cut weeds off during harvest.

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