Spinach

© 2011 by Schwabin, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license

© 2011 by Schwabin, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license

Spinach is one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. Spinach consists of small, medium to bright green, soft, oval to arrow-shaped leaves and green stems, both of which are eaten. The leaves form rose-like clusters or rosettes from which a flowering shoot emerges.

Best Storage Practices:

Store in a bag in the vegetable bin (32-36 degrees F) without roots. Use within a week.  

Fun Ways to Eat and Cook: 

Spinach is a delicate vegetable that should be eaten soon after harvesting. Cut off the root and thick stem ends and wash the leaves just before using. Leaves can be torn or cut and used raw in salads or cooked with only the water that clings to them after being washed. Cook, covered, until wilted, 2-4 minutes, in a saucepan or microwave on High. Fresh spinach cooks down to about a fourth of the size of the fresh leaves.  

Selecting Spinach: 

Choose dark green leaves with no signs of bruising, wilting or discoloration.  

Why it's Good to Eat:  

  • High in iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium
  • Excellent for cleansing, purifying and restoring balance to the intestines
  • To best absorb calcium and iron in spinach, eat with other foods that are high in vitamin C, like tomatoes and oranges

When it's in Season:

Grows in the spring and fall when the nights are cool and days are mild

How it's Harvested:  

Sown straight from seeds and ready to harvest 6-7 weeks later. Harvest when the plant has grown about 10-12 leaves, either by pulling from the ground or cutting off at the roots.  

Recipes:  

Spinach and Bacon - Cook several slices of bacon. Finely chop cooked spinach. Heat spinach in bacon drippings until any excess liquid evaporates. Sprinkle spinach with crispy, chopped bacon, salt and pepper. Serve while hot. 

Spinach Salad - Wash young spinach leaves and remove stems. Tear leaves into bite-size pieces. Toss with thinly sliced onion, walnuts or pecans, and other salad veggies. Mix 1/3 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, and grated pepper. Dress salad and serve.