Leafy greens like spinach go bad pretty fast.
That’s why I love drying spinach because I always have some on hand for smoothies and energy bites!
Here’s how to do it – plus I’ll share how to make spinach powder, which is mostly how we use dehydrated spinach around here 🙂
How to Dry Spinach in a Dehydrator
Make sure to first wash and dry the spinach well. Remove any leaves that are brown or past their prime.
Arrange leaves onto the dehydrator trays. They can touch, but you should avoid stacking them.
Dry the spinach for 4-6 hours at 125 F.
This is the dehydrator I recommend:
You might want to rotate the trays so that they dry evenly. Once the leaves are dried, remove them and store in a waterproof container.
Also, leafy greens can be air dried. They dry up beautifully in outdoor solar cookers like this one:
It’s not necessary to store the spinach in a fridge or freeze, but some people prefer to do this. You can safely store it in a pantry – which is kinda the whole point and benefit of dehydrating it in the first place 🙂
How to Dehydrate Spinach in the Oven
You can dry spinach in an oven, too! As with the dehydrator, you should start with clean spinach that’s arranged on a drying rack.
Make sure the spinach stays in a single layer.
Start the spinach drying process by putting it in the oven at 170 F. Leave in the oven for six hours and then turn the temperature down to 130 F.
The spinach should dry in another hour although monitor its progress for the best results.
Once dried and cooled, store the spinach in a cool, dry place.
How to Freeze Dry Spinach
Spinach can be freeze dried in a number of ways. You can freeze dry whole spinach leaves or puree them and freeze dry that way.
It ultimately depends on what you want to do with the spinach. For example, if you plan to use it in smoothies, then you’ll probably have better luck with the pureed option.
When freeze drying spinach, it’s a good idea to blanch it first. This allows it to retain more of its nutritional value.
So after washing the spinach, place it in boiling water for up to two minutes and then transfer to an ice bath for a minute.
Remove and drain the leaves. Then dry thoroughly.
You can either choose to use the spinach as is or puree it. Regardless of your method, put the spinach in trays or containers and freeze until solid.
This process works best when the spinach is the only item in the freezer and you don’t open the door until it’s done.
Once frozen, place it in your freeze dryer to finish the process. It may take a week to finish freeze drying. You can then store the spinach in the pantry until ready for use.
Why You Might Not Want to Dry Spinach in the Microwave
Although you can dry any number of foods in a microwave, spinach might not be your best option.
Spinach can be dried in a microwave but the heat can actually change its nutrient profile.
As you may know, spinach is high in iron and nitrates. The nitrate in spinach can be dangerous when heated in the microwave, releasing carcinogenic compounds.
The iron in the spinach can be oxidized as well. This will increase its free radical generation which can lead to a variety of issues.
So in this instance, I’d avoid the microwave drying method.
How to Make Spinach Powder
If you want to make your own spinach powder, you simply need to have dried spinach leaves available!
Once your leaves are completely dried and cooled, choose your method of grinding them into a powder.
You can use a blender, food processor, or even a coffee grinder. A coffee grinder gives you the finest powder while a blender results in coarser material. So choose accordingly.
Place the leaves in your blender and then grind until it reaches the desired consistency. Remove from the blender and store in airtight containers.
Spinach powder can be added to smoothies, soups, and more.
Here’s a great video tutorial that you walks you through from start to finish:
Video Credit: All Sorts
Dehydrated Spinach Nutrition
The good news is that dried spinach retains most of its nutrients.
If you want to get the maximum amount of nutrition available, you want to blanch leafy greens before drying.
This allows them to keep their nutrient composition to a greater extent.
When it comes to the specific nutrition of dried spinach, it will keep 100% of its calorie content while taking up about 50% of the space.
Since spinach has about 10 calories per serving, this is fairly minimal regardless of how much you use.
The fiber content in spinach is also intact, which is good for your digestive tract.
What surprises some people is that spinach contains both carbohydrates and protein.
The carbohydrate content of dried spinach flakes is fairly low with about 2 grams per serving. It also contains 2 grams of protein
What really matters, though, is its vitamin and mineral content – those are more fragile and prone to denaturing during any type of cooking/prepping process.
Some nutrients are going to be lost in the drying process, but as spinach is high in micronutrients, you’ll still get a large enough amount to be worth it.
Dried spinach provides a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium. It also contains a fair amount of iron.
>>> READ NEXT: Try this delicious salt & lime spinach chip recipe
Frequently Asked Questions
Is dried spinach healthy?
Yes, dried spinach is high in nutrients and low in calories. It’s a good way to increase your intake of some vitamins and minerals.
Can you dehydrate spinach in an air fryer?
Yes, spinach can be dehydrated in an air fryer using much of the same methods as a typical dehydrator. This method works best if your air fryer has a dehydration setting.
How do I keep spinach fresh longer?
Spinach does not last long in a fridge but keeping it in a cool area with good ventilation will keep it fresh longer. Make sure to remove any leaves that are brown as these will speed up its spoilage rate.
I’m a foodie that’s slightly obsessed with drying fruits, veggies, beans, and more – especially from my own garden! It started as a hobby but became a “must” when my family fell on hard times, and my dried food stash sustained us. Now I’m always experimenting with different techniques and recipes and sharing them here!