Spinach is available year round, but is especially sweet and tender in the late spring, when growing conditions are perfect.
Spinach is so versatile; you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! In Tuscany, the leaves are baked into a pie with almonds, sugar, and candied lemon peel called torta co’bischeri agli spinaci. Leave it to the Italians to create a spinach dessert.
When shopping for spinach the leaves should be crisp and free of moisture. Avoid spinach with broken or bruised leaves.
If you purchase bagged greens (yes, I know there is a big controversy on bagged greens) they will most likely last twice as long as the leafy bundles. Bagged spinach is handled less and exposed to less moisture. Make sure to check the “best by” date to use the leaves when they are at their peek. If they are dark or clump together, just pass them by.
Spinach grows in sandy soil, so if you by bundled spinach it most definitely won’t be prewashed. Just give the leaves a generous soak in cold water, changing it out once or twice, until there is no more grit in the bottom of the bowl.
To Prepare Spinach (1 Pound): Wash and drain. Remove stems and tear into pieces (12 cups torn).
Conventional Cooking Directions: Cook, covered, in a small amount of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Begin timing when steam foams. OR steam for 3 to 5 minutes. Microwave cooking is not recommended.
How To Store: Rinse leaves in cold water and thoroughly dry. Place leaves in a storage container with a paper towel and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
Baby Spinach isn’t actually immature flat-leaf spinach, but a different variety entirely.
Flat-Leaf Spinach has large leaves that turn silky once slow cooked. They have an earthy flavor that tastes great in dishes like lasagna or soup.
It takes 8 cups of raw spinach to make just 1 cup of cooked. Make sure that you have enough spinach for your recipe.
Raw spinach has 33 percent more folate and 187 percent more vitamin C than cooked, since those nutrients are vulnerable to heat. On the flip side, cooking spinach deactivates oxalic acid, a compound that prevents the absorption of certain nutrients, so you get 32 percent more iron and nearly 40 percent more calcium than raw. Have a salad today and sauté tomorrow.
“Work With What You Got!”
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