I love spinach because it is such a versatile product that is easy to prepare, tasty and it’s awesome for your body (and hers too). It can be used raw in salads, cooked down for a puree, in sauces, and in soups as a garnish. Spinach compliments meats, fish, eggs and other veggie dishes. It comes fresh and frozen and can be easy to prepare. I go for the baby pre-washed spinach because it’s easy to use and the small leaves are less bitter.
In addition to being delicious, spinach’s popularity comes from its high nutritional value. It’s low in calories and it’s also a good source of iron and essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C, minerals, and fiber. Spinach also contains 3 grams of protein per serving.
How to Choose
Spinach is available all year. Choose leaves that are crisp and have dark green with a nice fresh fragrance. Avoid those that are limp, damaged, or spotted. At the supermarket, you can find spinach packaged fresh, canned, or frozen. Fresh spinach is usually found loose or bagged.
I am a fan of the pre-washed organic spinach. If you are in a rush (or just don’t want to bother) then get the pre-washed stuff. But keep in mind that even though it's been pre-washed, you still should rinse it off before eating. Bacteria can quickly multiply, especially in those sealed plastic bags fresh spinach often comes in.
How to Wash
Like all greens, spinach should be washed. Loose spinach can be very gritty, so it must be thoroughly rinsed (it can't be washed enough). It grows in sandy soils that seem to cling to the growing leaves.
The easiest way to wash spinach is to put it into a sink or large container of cold water. Remove stems and immerse in water. Swish leaves around, then let them stand for a few minutes while dirt sinks to the bottom.
How to Store
Spinach does not keep more than two-three days in the refrigerator. It is best to eat it the day you buy it.Keep spinach wrapped in a damp cloth. Once cooked, eat spinach immediately since it oxidizes quickly and can become toxic. Avoid reheating. Can be frozen if blanched first for 5 minutes.
How to Cook
Spinach can be eaten raw, sautéed, baked, blanched, steamed etc. Great partners of spinach include: anchovies, bacon, basil, butter, cheese especially feta, goat, Parmesan and ricotta, cream, curry, garlic, lemon, lentils, mustard, nutmeg, olive oil, pepper, sugar, vinegars, yogurt. Check out some of our recipes.
1 pound of fresh sexy spinach leaves will cook down to about 1 cup cooked spinach. For a side dish of cooked spinach, figure 8 ounces raw spinach per serving.
Drop leaves into a large pot of boiling water. Once the leaves begin to wilt, drain and squeeze out excess moisture. This method is used to quick-cook spinach or to prepare it for sautéing, braising, or stuffing, and usually takes 2 to 5 minutes.
Blanched spinach can be sautéed quickly with a quick spray of oil. If cooked in a non-stick pan, only a spray is needed for several cups of chopped spinach. Try adding some garlic for flavor.
If you plan to steam the spinach, do not dry leaves after washing. Steamed spinach makes a great side dish and usually takes only 5 to 10 minutes.