How to Choose Good Spinach and Get the Best Out of It

Spinach is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. It is easy to grow and easy to find at affordable price. Spinach also contains various nutrients. It is rich in iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, vitamin B2, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Spinach that looks fresh with vibrant deep green leaves usually has greater concentrations of vitamin C than those with pale color.

spinach 2Different varieties of spinach can be identified from their leaves and the way they grow. The older varieties usually have narrower leaves and tend to bolt too early in warm. While the newer ones have broader leaves and tend to grow more rapidly.

There are some types of spinach that you may need to know:

  • Flat/smooth leaf spinach. This type of spinach is primarily used in processing industry for soups, baby foods, canned and frozen spinach, and other products. It has broad and smooth leaves that are easier to wash.
  • Savoy. You can easily find this spinach in supermarkets, sold in fresh bunches. It has dark green, crinkly and curly leaves, which make it more difficult to wash. This kind of spinach can handle cold better than the other types and considered as very productive.
  • Semi-Savoy. It has the same texture as Savoy, but the leaves aren’t as crinkly so that it is easier to clean. It can be used for both processing industry and fresh market. It tends to have better disease resistance.


How to choose good spinach and keep its quality?

Choose spinach that looks fresh and has crisp, green leaves and stems as it provides better nutrients. Avoid spinach that has yellowed and browned leaves or shows other signs of decay, like wilted and bruised leaves.

Proper storage can keep the quality of spinach. Wrap spinach tightly in a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator. Ensure that the fridge temperature is higher than 0ºC or the spinach will freeze. Keep it away from ethylene-producing fruits, such as bananas or apples, or it will decay prematurely. Avoid washing spinach before storing as the exposure to water encourages spoilage. You cannot keep spinach too long, since it does not last a long time after picking. It is best eaten fresh or at least within 2 to 3 days of purchase.


The Best Way to Serve Spinach

Wash spinach before cooking to remove soil particles or other contaminants from the leaves. Do not forget to trim off the roots and separate the leaves. Boiling spinach is recommended to free up acids and brings out a sweeter taste from the spinach. However, it must be taken carefully since boiling spinach too long may increase the loss of water-soluble nutrients. When you boil spinach in large amounts of water, the oxalic acid may decrease up to 50%. Avoid consuming the boiling water or using it for stock because of its acid content.


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