Popeye Knows Best
Spinach belongs to the same family as beets, chard, and surprisingly even quinoa. It comes in a smooth or savoy (wrinkled) variety. Spinach is the most popular green vegetable on our plate because it has a much higher nutritional value than green lettuce. Like other green leafy vegetables, it contains lutein, a phytonutrient that helps protect the eyes and reduce inflammation. As Popeye already knows, spinach contains lots of iron, but for the best absorption of iron and calcium, spinach must be cooked. The dark green color of the leaves indicates that they contain chlorophyll, a healthy nutrient. Also, whole spinach in bunches has even more nutrients than the bagged leaves. Spinach loses half of its nutritional value a week after harvest. Unfortunately, spinach spoils even faster than lettuce, so proper storage is important. To maximize the freshness, gently wrap spinach in a paper towel, put it in a perforated plastic bag, and store it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Spinach also freezes well.
Spring and Fall Spinach is the Best
Spinach is harvested when its leaves are still young and tender, which is in the spring and fall, although it can be grown all year. Choose midsize leaves for the most antioxidants and steam or sauté them to retain the most nutrients. Avoid boiling spinach, or the nutrients will end up in the cooking liquid.
There are many delicious ways to prepare spinach. You can make the traditional spinach dip, add spinach to chicken as stuffing, use a little bit of it in an omelet or make pesto with spinach as a substitute for basil. Spinach is also the main component of the famous Greek dish Spanakopita. To start with gentle exposure to reluctant spinach eaters, combine frozen spinach with mashed potato and little parmesan cheese.
- 1 bunch Spinach
- Mushrooms (fresh or frozen)
- Chicken or vegetable broth
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Shrimp (optional as a substitution for mushrooms)
- Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, covered until golden brown.
- Add broth
- Add spinach and briefly cook until wilted.
- Add coconut milk until desired consistency is reached.
- The finished dish is very versatile. It tastes great by itself or can be served with rice or added to a crepe.
- You can substitute shrimp for mushrooms and even add cooked potatoes.
Vegetables illustrated: an inspiring guide with 700+ kitchen-tested recipes
by America’s Test Kitchen
Call Number: 641.65 AMERICA
Adventures in veggieland: help your kids learn to love vegetables with 100 easy activities and recipes by Melanie Potock
Book Call Number: 641.65 POTOCK
V is for vegetables: inspired recipes & techniques for home cooks from artichokes to zucchini
by Michael Anthony, Dorothy Kalins and Maura McEvoy
Book Call Number: 641.65 ANTHONY
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