Fruit and Vegetable Guide
Spring, Summer, Autumn
Description: Spinach is a leafy green. Curly spinach requires cooking. Flat-leaf spinach is sweeter and more tender, so it can be used for cooking or salads. Tatsoi, an Asian vegetable, may substitute for spinach in cooking. Baby spinach is very tender and is ideal for salads.
Selection: Choose dark green spinach with a fresh smell.
Storage and handling: Refrigerate up to 3 days wrapped in slightly damp paper towels in a plastic bag. Before using, swish in a bowl of cold water until no grit is present. Dry in a salad spinner or make your own: place the greens in a clean pillowcase (one reserved for this purpose), take it outside and swing it around until they’re dry.
Preparation: If the stems seem tough, remove them by hand or with a knife. Cut or tear leaves as desired. Steam, covered, in a basket over boiling water, 5 minutes. Microwave in a covered dish with a little liquid, about 5 minutes. Fresh spinach decreases dramatically in volume when cooked: 2 pounds will cook down to 2 cups.
Serving suggestions: Use raw young tender leaves in salads (SIS, p. 46). Add chopped spinach to soups during the final cooking minutes. Season steamed spinach with butter, salt, and pepper. Sauté with garlic and blend with cream cheese and seasonings to make a dip (SIS, p. 79).
Nutrients: Vitamins A, C, K, folate; lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants.
1 lb raw = 3 cups
© 2011 Mennonite Central Committee