Do you love to eat food that tastes good and is good for you? Then you need to work spinach into your menu! From smoothies to a side dishes, this versatile and mildly flavored green will quickly become a family favorite!
Popeye Had It Right:
Spinach not only tastes delicious, but it is full of vital nutrients that your body needs to thrive. Just one serving of spinach is packed with more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin K and vitamin A. Spinach is also a great source of iron, calcium, folate, and magnesium. This super-green is packed with antioxidant-rich phytonutrients. Plus, spinach is low in calories and low on the glycemic index, making it a vegetable that nearly anyone can enjoy!
New data shows spinach is full of glycoglycerolipids, which plants use as part of photosynthesis and the human body uses to protect the digestive tract. Spinach is a member of the super-healthy chenopod family of vegetables. This family of super-veggies has been proven to be extremely beneficial to our health
Selecting and Storing the Perfect Bunch:
As you shop for spinach, remember that spinach is sold canned, frozen, bagged, or by the bunch. Bagged spinach is just as healthy as bunch spinach and it is already clean! Like any green, spinach will markedly decrease in volume as it is cooked, so carefully estimate the amount of spinach you will need for your dish. If you buy more spinach than you need for your recipe, do not let it linger in the refrigerator. Fresh spinach will only last in the fridge up to 5 days.
Look for spinach that is brightly colored, tender, and does not have a slimy texture or appear to be bruised. Spinach with an intense green color is more nutritious, as it contains higher levels of vitamin C. This powerful green has the best flavor and is freshest during its growing seasons, March-May and September-October. When spinach is out of season, consider buying frozen for your recipes that call for cooking spinach.
Spinach Cooking and Preparation Tips:
Be sure to always wash bunch spinach just before using it to remove the grit that clings to the spinach as it grows in sandy soil. Place the leaves in a bowl of water and stir them around with your hand. The grit should fall to the bottom of the bowl. Remove the leaves from the water and dry them using a salad spinner. Do not leave spinach in the cleaning water, as the nutrients will leach out into water. Wait to clean your spinach until just before you plan to use it. Cleaned spinach will wilt in the refrigerator. Leftover prepared spinach will not last either, so be careful to only cook as much as you will eat.
Boil spinach 1 minute to reduce levels of oxalate and purine. These chemicals can crystallize in your body and lead to kidney or gallbladder stones. Cooking spinach breaks down its cell walls, making its powerful antioxidants more readily available to be absorbed. Do not save spinach cooking water for use in recipes, it has a high acid content and is full of oxalates and purine.
Spinach’s best friends are bacon and nutmeg. Add them to your cooked spinach recipes to give them depth of flavor
Source: WHFoods: The World's Healthiest Foods