Cooking Fresh Spinach: Ingredient Spotlight

Mar 12, 2013
Veronica Brandy

how-to-cook-Spinach Spinach is certainly among the most easy vegetables to cook, especially when you buy it pre-washed and pre-packed. Hated most of time by kids, spinach is a lovely tasting green vegetable that goes so well slow cooked, braised in a pan, or just tossed as a green salad. You’ll find that the variety with tender and flat leaves are better than larger and more common specimens that are thicker. One important factor is the location where it is grown: the more local — from your situation — the better; because spinach is fragile and long distances travels coupled with extended stays in storage really don’t help to keep them fresh. Normally spinach grow from spring to fall and likes cool weather conditions but you can find all year round in supermarkets.

Buying and storing
Choose bright colored green and crisp leaves. Spinach with a pink-red stem are even better. You can keep spinach wrapped in plastic in your refrigerator for a few days but use it quick before it turns yellowish and slimy.

Beside baby spinach leaves that are more and more popular due to their milder taste, you should definitely try fully mature spinach. They taste stronger, deeper and they go well with a wide range of spices. Indian cuisine is rich in spinach side dishes. For mature spinach, you can buy those with attached roots because they keep longer this way.

Preparing spinach
If you bought spinach in a bunch, you can either chop off all the stems or sort the whole the bunch and select only the tough stem and leave the tender ones attached. Wash spinach very thoroughly, changing water several times, because it keeps mud and sand between the stem, especially if it was bunched right after the harvest.

Best cooking methods for spinach
Steaming and sautéing. Braising is like sautéing but you add a liquid at the middle of the cooking. You can eat spinach fresh: in sandwiches, pesto, salads…

When is it done?
As soon as it wilts spinach is done. You can cook longer if you like it super tender — add butter or ghee in this case, it’s delicious.

A few spinach recipes
I cannot leave you without any good link for fresh spinach recipes so here we go:

(Photo: thebittenword.com)

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