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. 

Many Dishes 

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. 

Sautéd Spinach 

Ingredients: 

One bunch of spinach 

Mushrooms, fresh or frozen

Chicken or vegetable broth 

Lemon juice 

Olive oil 

Garlic

Coconut oil 

Shrimp (optional as a substitution for mushrooms)

chopped mushrooms cooking in a skillet

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil, covered until golden brown. 

chopped mushrooms and broth cooking in a skillet

Add broth 

fresh spinach added to a skillet

Add spinach and briefly cook until wilted.  

cooked spinach and coconut milk in a skillet

Add coconut milk until desired consistency is reached. 

finished spinach and mushroom dish in a skillet

The finished dish is very versatile. It tastes great by itself or can be served with rice or added to a crepe. 

spinach and shrimp cooking in a skillet

You can substitute shrimp for mushrooms and even add cooked potatoes. 

Sources: 

https://www.consumerreports.org/fruits-vegetables/vegetables-that-are-healthier-cooked/

http://eatwild.com/jo.html

Resources: 

cooks vegetables illustrated book cover

Vegetables illustrated: an inspiring guide with 700+ kitchen-tested recipes 

by America’s Test Kitchen  

Book 

Call Number: 641.65 AMERICA

adventures in veggieland book cover

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 book cover

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

Magda Born

mborn@kckpl.org

Community Services Librarian

Kansas City, Kansas Public Library

625 Minnesota Ave.

Kansas City, KS 66101

913-295-8250 ext 1103