To make dehydrated spinach, blanch and dry fresh spinach leaves. Arrange the spinach in a single layer on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate them in a food dehydrator at 125°F for 7–9 hours until they are crispy.
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How to Make Dehydrated Spinach in a Food Dehydrator
Dehydrating spinach in a food dehydrator is the best way to evenly dry spinach leaves:
- Wash fresh spinach thoroughly in cold water to remove any dirt or debris.
- In a large pot, boil water to blanch the spinach, and submerge the leaves in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the spinach and immediately plunge it into a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process.
- Drain the blanched spinach and squeeze out any excess water.
- Lay the spinach leaves out on a clean, dry towel and pat them dry with another towel. You can also use a salad spinner to remove excess water.
- Spread the spinach leaves in a single layer on food dehydrator trays. The leaves can overlap a little bit, but avoid excessive layering.
- Set the dehydrator to 125°F and let it run for 7-9 hours, or until the spinach is completely dry and crisp. Keep checking for dryness past the 7th hour to prevent browning.
- Remove the dried spinach leaves from the dehydrator trays and test for dryness by crinkling up a few leaves. If they crumble, the process is done.
- Let the dehydrated spinach cool completely to room temperature.
- Store the dried spinach in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
How to Make Dehydrated Spinach in an Oven
Here’s how to dehydrate spinach in the oven for long-term storage:
- Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature setting.
- Wash the spinach thoroughly in cold water to clean the leaves.
- Blanch the spinach by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and then lowering the spinach into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove the spinach and immediately submerge it into a bowl of iced water.
- Drain the blanched spinach and remove excess water by patting the leaves dry.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the spinach leaves in a single layer on the sheet, making sure the leaves don’t overlap.
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and leave the oven door slightly open to allow moisture to escape.
- Let the spinach dry in the oven for 2-4 hours.
- Check on the spinach every hour or so and rotate the baking sheet to ensure even drying.
- Once the spinach appears dry, remove a few pieces from the oven and test for dryness. If completely dehydrated, they will crinkle when you squeeze them with your hands.
- Let the dry spinach cool completely at room temperature.
- Store the dried spinach in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
How to Make Spinach Powder
Making spinach powder is easy in a blender or food processor:
- Take dehydrated spinach and place it into a blender or food processor.
- Use the pulse setting and pulse for a few seconds at a time until the leaves are finely ground.
- Sift the ground spinach through a fine mesh strainer.
- Transfer the spinach powder to an airtight container and keep it in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
Is Blanching Spinach Necessary?
Blanching spinach before dehydrating helps preserve its nutritional value, texture, and color. The process kills any microorganisms that may be present in the spinach, reducing the risk of foodborne illness.
Blanching deactivates enzymes that cause the spinach to spoil faster, increasing its shelf life. The size of the spinach also reduces after blanching, making it easier to load onto trays.
Can You Dehydrate Raw Spinach?
Yes, you can dehydrate raw spinach, but this is not recommended. Raw spinach contains a high water content, which makes it more difficult and time-consuming to dehydrate thoroughly. The remaining moisture can lead to mold growth and spoilage if not dried completely.
What are the Health Benefits of Dehydrated Spinach?
Just like fresh spinach, dehydrated spinach has many health benefits:
- Dehydrated spinach contains dietary fiber, which can help to promote digestive health and regulate bowel movements.
- Dehydrated spinach is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.
- Dried spinach flakes contain both protein and carbohydrates.
- It contains antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which may help to protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Spinach contains nutrients like potassium and folate, which can help to support cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Does Dehydrating Spinach Reduce Nutrients?
Dehydrating spinach can cause some nutrient loss but in negligible amounts.
To minimize the nutrient loss in your dehydrated vegetables, it is important to use a low-temperature setting and avoid over-drying the spinach. Additionally, blanching the spinach before dehydration can help to preserve these nutrients.
How Long Does it Take to Dehydrate Spinach?
It takes 7–9 hours to dehydrate spinach in a food dehydrator at a temperature of 125°F to 135°F.
Dehydrating spinach in an oven takes a shorter time as the temperatures in an oven are higher than in a dehydrator. It takes 2–4 hours total time to dehydrate spinach in the oven at temperatures between 140°F and 170°F.
What is the Best Way to Rehydrate Dehydrated Spinach?
The best way to rehydrate spinach is to soak it in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. To add flavor to rehydrated spinach, soak it in vegetable or chicken broth instead of water.
How to Use Rehydrated Spinach
You can use rehydrated spinach in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, quiches, smoothies, and casseroles. It can also be used as a side dish or a filling for omelets, wraps, and sandwiches.
Does Dehydrating Spinach Make it Last Longer?
Yes. Dehydrating spinach gives it a longer shelf life. To maximize the shelf life, store dried spinach away from direct sunlight in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
Dehydrated spinach has a shelf life of up to 12 months when stored properly. Always label containers of dehydrated veggies and fruits to keep track of their use-by date.