Lazy Girl’s Guide to Freezing Spinach

the lazy girls guide to freezing spinach

I love buying spinach at Costco in the 40 oz bags.  It’s good quality and cheap, and it’s a LOT of spinach.  I use it in my eggs, salads, lasagna, smoothies, stir fries, you name it.  Sometimes I still can’t get through the whole bag before it spoils.


While the official method for freezing spinach involves blanching it.  I’ve had really good luck, just throwing the bag in the freezer.  (I just toss it in when I’m tired of eating spinach.) Once it’s frozen I mash the bag to break the leaves into pieces. Then it’s easy to throw into a recipe.

The idea behind blanching Spinach is to kill the enzymes that continue the ripening process. Freezing slows down but doesn’t stop or kill the enzyme process.  As long as you use it up within a couple of months and don’t try to store it for years, you’ll be fine.

The benefit besides the ease, is that it PRESERVES the enzymes that aid in the digestion process.  Now toss that into your morning smoothie :).

Batch Cooking Ground Beef in Your Slow Cooker

Batch Cooking Ground Beef in your Slow Cooker

I first figured out this worked on a desperate day when I didn’t have a kitchen. The no kitchen season of our lives lasted almost a year and I relied on my slow cooker and electric griddle for making almost everything.

Since then, I’ve reused this method changing the seasoning to suit the dish.  Taco seasoning for batch taco meat. Italian seasoning for pizza or spaghetti.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 1

Place up to 6 lbs of frozen ground beef and into the slow cooker.  Add 6 cups of water. (The water is just for broth, if you don’t want broth you can reduce the water to 1 cup.)  For flavor, add 2 finely chopped onions; 1 Tbs of salt; 1 tsp of garlic salt; and 1/2 tsp black pepper.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 2

If the lid won’t close.  Don’t freak out.  Wrap the gap with aluminum foil. After about an hour the lid will  push down.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 3

Cook it on low overnight, or on high for 4-5 hours. The beef won’t form crumbles as it cooks, but don’t worry.  It will be awesome in a minute.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 4

 Use a colander and bowl system to drain out the broth.  If you chill the broth, any fat will harden on the top and can be easily removed.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 5


Slow Cooked Ground Beef 6

Use a huge fork or a potato masher to break the meat into crumbles.   This also works if you put portions into freezer bags and mush it around with your hands–just like we did with the chicken yesterday.

Slow Cooked Ground Beef 7

Ready for the freezer!

The Easiest Shredded Chicken for Your Freezer

the easiest shredded chicken for your freezer

Chicken salad, enchiladas, tostadas, tetrazzini, chicken spaghetti, pot pie, taquitos, quesadillas.  They all start with shredded  chicken.  When there’s a recipe sized bag ready to go in the freezer, the rest of the meal doesn’t seem so hard.

I bought frozen grilled chicken pieces from Aldi yesterday.  My stress level had come to that. It was kind of gross and expensive.  Not completely awful, but nothing like home marinated and grilled chicken. If your stress level makes frozen grilled chicken a necessity, no judgement here.  But there is a simple way to have prepped chicken at home.

Fill your slow cooker up to 3/4 full with chicken breasts, then pour water into the spaces until it comes just even with the top of the chicken. Season with salt, pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, and onion powder. Slow cook for 4-5 hours.  Remove chicken from the broth and let it cool until cool enough to handle.

Drop a breast or 2 (enough for your typical recipe) into a quart size freezer baggie, press out all the air and seal.  Then mush it around with your fingers until it is all shredded up.  Moosh the chicken flat, and freeze it.  Simple, right?

You also have all that great chicken broth.  If you use it up within the week, you can put it in a pitcher in your fridge.  (We rarely have juice, so it’s safe at our house.  If you often have lovely pitchers of stuff in your fridge, you should probably label it.  Or hide around the corner with a video camera…..)

For those of you who need recipes.  Here you go:

Easy Shredded Chicken for Your Freezer


  • 2 lb chicken breasts
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed


  1. Combine everything in a 5 quart slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 4-5 hours. (No need to thaw the chicken first.)
  3. Remove chicken from broth and cool until cool enough to handle.
  4. Place 2 small or 1 large chicken chicken breast into each freezer bag and shred by mooshing the outside of the bag with your fingers.
  5. Remove all the air and freeze flat.

P.S.  For those of you who are wondering, most brands of freezer bags are BPA free.  I specifically checked Ziploc brand and Up and Up brands, but several others are safe too.



The kiddoes are picking mulberries off our tree in the back garden. They got about a quart with more to ripen soon. I’m trying to post a photo from my phone. Crossing my fingers that the wordpress app will work this time.


Preserving the Harvest

I save a bundle on my food budget by preserving garden or low-cost purchased produce.  Proper preservation prevents vitamin loss and spoilage.  The three basic types of food preservation are drying, canning, and freezing.  Some foods (like apples, onions, potatoes, and winter squash) can also be preserved for a few months in their fresh state in a dark, dry, cool environment (like a basement or cellar.)

Many foods can be preserved in more than one way. I keep Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
on hand to help me decide what to do and for the best instructions available.  This is what I try to do each year:

Can green beans, apple sauce, pears, and jam.

Freeze okra, beets, corn, peaches, blueberries, pumpkin puree, shredded zucchini (for baking), and lamb’s quarter.

Dry strawberries, apples, onions, peppers, and herbs. (I don’t dry every year–it’s more of a treat for us and is hard to do in our humid Missouri climate.)

This sounds like a lot, but I only tackle one at a time, which makes it more doable.  Each produce item harvests at a slightly different time which keeps the tasks spread out.

Here are some links to past Grocery Shrink articles about preserving:

Freezing Corn

Pumpkin Puree

Lamb’s Quarter

Freezing Peaches


Final Thought:  Most people think of home gardening when it comes to canning and freezing food.  But there are other ways to get quantities of food to preserve.  A friend of mine volunteers at a local food pantry.  At the end of the day, they send with her what the visitors don’t take.  She takes it home and cans and preserves it.  A dear family from church has pear and apple trees in their yard and they can’t use all the fruit.  They call me every fall after they have picked to take what they can’t use.  My mother in law has also purchased large boxes of produce from Amish food auctions for preserving.  I like to buy my pumpkins from local grocery stores and farmer’s markets after Halloween.  They have lots of life left and are great for making into puree.  You also might advertise to care for gardens during the summer as people vacation.  Ask in pay for the ripe produce you harvest during the vacation.  It keeps the plants producing and reduces pests for the owner and you get fresh food for the labor.

Really, final thought:  You can also preserve fresh produce by freezing it already prepared.  We like to freeze zucchini muffins and pumpkin bread for a quick thaw and eat breakfast or for unexpected company.  You can also freeze vegetable lasagna, veggie pancakes, marinara sauce, and veggie rich meatballs.

How to Freeze Sweet Corn

 Freezing sweet corn is fast and easy and preserves it’s fresh home-grown taste. The corn I will be showing is sugar and cream corn grown by my dad in his city garden.  They were blessed this year with very healthy corn that gave 4 ears per stalk.  That’s pretty rare in these parts.


1.  Shuck the corn outside (because it’s messy).  The shucks are a nice addition to a compost pile.

2.  Wash the silky hairs off the corn.  I like to use cool running water and a terry wash cloth.  Microfiber cloths work well too.  I like a cloth better than a corn brush.  It covers more of the corn at once, so is faster and grabs the silk really well.  I use about the same amount of pressure when washing corn as when I wash my baby’s face.  Enough to clean without doing any damage.

The front ear is freshly shucked.  The back ear has been gently washed with a terry cloth.

3.  Cut any bad spots off the corn.  This corn was raised without chemicals except for what came on the seed already and has a few worm spots.  Most of it was spotless though.  If you miss a bad spot, it will turn brown when it cooks and you can cut it out later.


4.  Submerge several ears of corn in a large pot of boiling water. If you are freezing whole ears of corn, boil them for 8 minutes.  If you are cutting the corn off the cob, boil for 6 minutes. 


5.  Use tongs to remove corn from the boiling water.  Run it under cold water to cool or submerge it into a bowl of ice water for 6 minutes.

6.  Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off the corn.  I like to take my knife and scrape the cob to get all the milk and ends out.  We call that “cream style” on the farm.  I cut as many cobs as I can fit into a large bowl before stopping to fill bags.

7.  I package my corn in quart size freezer bags. Use a permanent marker to label the bags with the date and contents before filling.  A one cup measuring cup is perfect for scooping the corn into the bags.  Four full scoops is a quart.  When the bags are full, press out all the air and seal them tight.  I smoosh the corn around until the bag is nice and flat and stack them in a plastic dish tub for freezing.  This freezes the corn in nice little stacks that fit well in my freezer.

8.  Even though you will be tired, be sure to clean up right away when you are finished.  Corn juice is sticky and starchy and dries hard.  It’s much easier to clean up when it’s fresh.

Thanks to my mom for picking and shucking the corn.  And thanks to my Mother-in-love for showing me how to freeze it step by step.  Remember the year my entire kitchen floor was covered a foot deep in corn?  We had 3 years worth plus plenty to share after that.