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Life


SPINACH-SAVING TIPS


Love of Spinach



(Published: June 25, 2003)

The No. 1 complaint about spinach is that it is too gritty.

To wash it properly, fill a bowl with water and put the spinach in. Slosh it around, then lift the spinach out and empty all water and grit from the bottom of the bowl. Fill the bowl again, add the spinach and repeat the process two more times.

If the above step seems too time-consuming, buy pre-washed baby-leaf spinach, preferably organic, and presto: The spinach is ready to eat.

Burgundy L. Olivier, author of the "I Love Spinach" cookbook, recommends stacking clean spinach leaves atop one another, rolling them up like a cigar and cutting them like a jelly roll. The process yields long, stringed pieces of fresh spinach. "Almost any recipe is better if you cut them up like this," she said.

Frozen spinach is convenient but be sure to strain out all the liquid once it's thawed. Olivier uses a stainless steel potato ricer to strain water out of thawed, previously frozen spinach. Also, she recommends cooking spinach in stainless steel pans and pots.

Spinach suffers greatly from overcooking. Cook gently, over low to moderate heat. It pairs well with butter, cream, yogurt, cheeses, olive oil, soy and tamari sauces. It also goes well with salty meats, mushrooms and fish. Nutmeg, garlic, pepper and lemon enhance its flavor.

For spinach growers, Valley farmer Mark Rempel suggests growing massive quantities of the vegetable and experimenting with seed varieties. Go for quantity, he says. Keep spinach plants moist at all times and in a cool part of the garden. Harvest when plants are 6 to 8 inches high. Rempel cuts plants off right at the base, just below the soil.

Rempel said home gardeners may like New Zealand spinach because it grows much like a houseplant and leaves can be picked individually off the plants, just enough for a salad. Also, it doesn't bolt as quickly.

-- Melissa DeVaughn




Love of Spinach


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