Everyone loves a good spinach salad, but sometimes eating it raw isn't the best way to get all of its goodness. Raw spinach and other greens in the same family (beet greens, chard, and even lamb’s quarters) are all high in oxalic acid. This means that, when eaten raw, these greens interfere with calcium absorption. Oxalic acid breaks down when cooked, so it’s best to eat spinach in a wilted salad or cooked so you can absorb all the good vitamins and minerals it has to offer.

Spinach is a very tender and moist green. Cook it lightly, steamed or sauteed with just the water from washing the leaves for a couple of minutes. For the simplest spinach, pour off any liquid from cooking and add a drizzle olive oil and a little lemon and serve. For other ways of preparing, remove from pan and put in colander to drain water out of leaves. These wilted leaves can then be added to a bechamel sauce for creamed spinach or go back in the pan with some olive oil, raisins, and nuts for Roman style spinach, or into a casserole. Draining off excess water and not overcooking is the key to enjoying fresh, vibrant spinach.

STORAGE: For optimum storage life, do not wash the spinach until just before you are ready to use it. Line a clean plastic container with a paper towel. Remove dry spinach from the bag you receive it in and layer it gently in the container. Be sure to use a container that is large enough so that the leaves are not jam-packed. Place another paper towel on top and close the container. Store the spinach in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for up to 10 days. This method of storage also works well for salad mix, arugula, and other tender greens!

RECIPE: Saag Tofu (Tofu with Spinach, Ginger, Coriander, & Turmeric) by Martha Rose Schulman




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