Popeye was a true fan of spinach, and it’s no wonder! These nutrient-dense leaves are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals that make for tasty, healthful greens. Try spinach with any meal: As an entrée like spinach lasagna and spinach quiche, or as an appetizer or first course like spinach artichoke dip or spinach soup.
Spinach leaves should have a bright green color with smooth leaves and crisp stems. Leaves should not be wilted or have a musty smell. Spinach will range in size from large leaves to small, baby-size leaves. Smaller leaves will be more tender, have smaller stems and be cleaner, so preparation will be less. For convenience, spinach also comes prewashed and ready to eat. Spinach is available year-round.
Spinach, like most greens, is quite perishable, so use it as soon as possible. Spinach should be stored, dry, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Moisture on the spinach will increase the aging process; don’t wash spinach until you’re ready to use it. Store up to 3 to 4 days.
Remove any imperfect leaves. Wash leaves several times in water, lifting and draining each time to remove the grit and sand from the spinach. If using raw in salads, dry with a salad spinner or paper towels to remove excess moisture. Remove stems from spinach. If cooking spinach, water may be left on the leaves. Leaves can be left whole or be torn, chopped or sliced.
A: Amounts Needed
B: Buying Spinach
- Spinach will cook down to about one-quarter its original amount, so plan accordingly.
- 1 medium bunch of spinach will yield about 1 pound.
- A 10-ounce bag of prewashed spinach is about 10 cups.
- 4 cups of spinach leaves is about 6 ounces.
C: Cooking Spinach
- Smooth or flat spinach has smooth, unwrinkled leaves with a distinctive spade shape.
- Savoy spinach has crisp, crinkled, dark green leaves. The taste is more intense than that of flat leaf spinach.
- Semi-savoy spinach has slightly curly leaves with the same texture as savoy but less crinkled in appearance.
- To boil, place cleaned spinach leaves with just the water than clings to the leaves in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Avoid using aluminum cookware, which can affect taste and appearance.
- To steam, place a steamer basket in 1/2 inch water in saucepan or skillet (water should touch bottom of basket). Place spinach in basket. Cover tightly and heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cook 2 to 4 minutes or until tender.
- To microwave, place spinach leaves in a 2-quart microwavable casserole; add 2 tablespoons water. Cover and microwave 4 to 6 minutes, stirring once, until tender; drain.
- One-half cup of steamed spinach contains nearly one-third of the folate most people need in a day. A folate-rich diet may help heart health and is known to support a healthy pregnancy.
- The carotenes in spinach, which give it its rich green color, may help aging eyes. Studies suggest lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, conditions that affect one’s ability to see objects clearly.
- A recent study found another carotene in spinach, neoxanthin, hindered the growth of prostate cancer cells in animals.
- The antioxidants in spinach may help protect cells from damage. Animal research suggests they may have a positive impact on changes in the brain often associated with aging.
Try a New Spinach Recipe Today!