So you want to know how to dehydrate spinach... Keep reading.
The best and easiest way of dehydrating spinach is to use an electric dehydrator or dry the leaves in a regular oven. Both ways are covered on this page.
Dehydrating spinach lengthens its shelf life but also helps you create nutritious spinach powder for use in smoothies and other recipes.
Today I'll show you this simple process.
Spinach is widely known for its high nutritional value. It is rich in Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. It also contains Vitamin K1 and is packed with Folate.
In the mineral department, Spinach contains Calcium, although the oxalic acid it contains can inhibit calcium absorption. But don't let that put you off as spinach is a great source of Potassium and Magnesium, along with dietary fiber.
This green leafy veggie is loaded with antioxidants such as Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Beta-Carotene.
No matter what method you choose for dehydrating spinach, a few crucial tools are needed. First, you'll need an electric dehydrator or an oven.
To me, a dehydrator is best because it allows a more precise temperature control to make sure your spinach doesn’t get too hot.
You’ll need baking sheets (for the oven method) or dehydrator trays when using a dehydrator!
Next, have a colander handy for washing the spinach, and finally, an air-tight container or bag for storing the dehydrated spinach such as an airtight container like a Mason jar or food vacuum-sealer bags that are made purposely for storing dehydrated foods.
Next comes the preparation of your spinach. Rinse it under the kitchen faucet in a colander in the sink using cold water to get rid of any grit, soil, or bugs.
If you’re wondering how to dry spinach after washing, use a salad spinner. If you don't have one of those handy salad spinners, pat the leaves dry - gently - with a paper towel.
Before dehydrating your spinach, you might want to consider blanching it. Blanching (read more here) can help retain the color and some of the spinach's nutrients, but this step is optional.
If you do decide to blanch the spinach, make sure to cool it down quickly in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Thoroughly dry it with paper towels before starting the dehydration process. Dehydrators like dried leaves!
How to dehydrate spinach in a food dehydrator or an oven is coming up next.
Right... it's time to learn how to dehydrate spinach! First up is using a dehydrator, which is the best way in my humble opinion.
Why? Because a dehydrator gives you a better, precise temperature control (vs the oven-drying method).
Try not to rush the drying process.
Here's how to dehydrate spinach in the oven If you don’t own a dehydrator. You can use your regular oven on your stove. Spread the prepped spinach leaves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, making sure the leaves don’t overlap. Place the baking sheet in the oven.
The challenge with dehydrating spinach in an oven lies in temperature management. You need to set your oven to the lowest temperature setting possible, ideally not above 200°F.
It's quite hard to do as oven temperatures become inconsistent with the oven door ajar (as mentioned in the tips, below)... and too high of a temperature may cook the spinach instead of dehydrating it.
Drying spinach this way takes about 2 to 3 hours, but keep a watchful eye so it doesn't shrivel up to nothing!
A useful tip when dehydrating spinach in the oven is to keep the oven door slightly open. This stops the oven from getting too hot and allows the moisture to escape.
Also, remember that temperatures can vary within an oven, so rotating the baking sheets certainly helps to promote even drying.
Whichever method you choose to dehydrate your raw spinach, allowing the dehydrated spinach to cool down to room temperature is important, as with any dehydrated fruit or vegetable.
Attempting to store spinach that is still warm leads to condensation in the storage container which can lead to mold growth. And that's where oxygen absorbers come in. More on those further in the next section.
Plan to let the spinach cool for approximately 20 to 30 minutes after the dehydration process.
Before we tackle how to make dried spinach, some of you may be wondering: why do it?
Fresh spinach is widely available in our grocery stores so what's the point of drying it?
The main point is to give your spinach a longer shelf life. When dried, it's easy to add to recipes such as smoothies and soups, or dishes where you don't usually use fresh spinach.
Another reason is if it's out of season - if you're not lucky enough to live in prime growing areas such as California and the Pacific Northwest.
It's also a super way of using up the fresh spinach before it turns bad.
The quality of your dehydrated spinach starts from the moment you pick or buy your fresh spinach.
Inspect your spinach carefully. It should be vibrant and free of any yellow, wilting, or damaged leaves. Fresh, organic spinach provides the best taste and nutrient profile.
There are a few differences between dehydrating baby spinach and regular spinach:
So in summary, while there are some differences, both types of spinach dehydrate well and can be used interchangeably in most recipes.
Once your spinach has cooled, one way to store it is in an air-tight container, such as a Mason jar. Use a Ziploc bag if you want to use the spinach the following day or so.
If you want to store it for the long term, then use food vacuum sealer bags. Once vacuum-sealed, store your dehydrated spinach in a cool, dark, and dry place.
When using a food vacuum sealer, remember to add oxygen absorbers to your vacuum sealer bags. Add a 100cc oxygen absorber inside the vacuum-sealer bag before drawing the air out. Read more about oxygen absorber sizes here.
Note: Make sure your hands are clean and dry (or wear latex gloves) before handling your dehydrated spinach. Doing so helps prevent bacteria (from you!) from getting onto your dehydrated spinach flakes and having them go moldy later on.
Dehydrated spinach can last for up to one year if properly stored. It will keep its flavor and nutritional value.
It's important to check your stored spinach periodically for any signs of moisture or mold. If you find any, discard the entire batch as it's no longer safe to consume.
When you’re ready to use your dehydrated spinach for soups or smoothies, add the dried spinach directly, and it will rehydrate while the dish is cooking (or the smoothie mix is blending).
If you want to use it in other recipes, you can soak it in cool water for about 15 to 20 minutes to rehydrate.
Here are some tips for grinding dehydrated spinach leaves to make spinach powder:
Grinding dehydrated spinach lets you easily add this nutritional spinach powder to green smoothies, soups, sauces, and more.
Thanks for stopping by to learn how to dehydrate spinach! Check out our other veggies here.