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Dr. Tim Says...

Leaky Gut Syndrome Quackery 10/02/17
4 ways to protect your brain with diet 07/18/17
Chicken skin: to eat, or not to eat 06/19/17
Change is here 06/12/17
Medical technology 03/27/17
The science behind the DASH diet, an overview: Part Two 08/01/16
The science behind the DASH diet, an overview: Part One 07/25/16
How the Standard American Diet (SAD) affects the brain (Part Two) 05/26/16
How the Standard American Diet (SAD) affects the brain 05/23/16
All "Dr. Tim Says..." Columns

Chef Tim Says...

How to make your own shrimp stock 10/09/17
Deviled Eggs 04/24/17
Roasting Fruit 04/03/17
Papadum 03/20/17
Capers make it better 02/06/17
Mustards: The Christmas Basket Challenge, Part 5 01/26/17
Canned Tuna from Spain: The Christmas Basket Challenge, Part 4 01/16/17
Ginger and Rice Noodles: The Christmas Basket Challenge, Part 3 01/12/17
All "Chef Tim Says..." Columns

Spinach Recipes

Penne with Spinach and Goat Cheese | Low Sodium Version
Potage a la Florentine
Sauteed Shrimp
Sauteed Spinach
Spinach Salad with Ginger Dressing and Sesame Chicken
Vegetarian Lasagna


 

Chef Tim Says....



Spinach

Spinach has gotten a bad rap, I think. It ranks as one of people's least favorite foods, but I believe that's because generations past had little to eat but canned or frozen spinach and in fresh spinach there's so much to love.

SpinachIt's because of the availability of fresh spinach now that consumption is on the rise. Americans now consume about 2 1/2 lbs. per person, per year, on average. Still not a lot (that's only 5 servings per person), but growing.

There are two main types of spinach available in the market – flat leaf or curly leaf spinach. It's increasingly difficult to find curly leaf spinach. For the most part spinach is spinach, but there are some subtle differences.

Flat leaf is sometimes called New Zealand spinach in the markets. The leaves are flat and slightly plump. They will sometimes have a fine fuzz on them. Flat leaf spinach is easy to clean (always a plus), but the flavor is not quite as sweet as the curly leaf spinach. Much of what is sold these days is pre-packaged in special plastic bags that facilitate keeping the spinach fresher, and most of the spinach sold is younger or “baby spinach.”

Curly leaf spinach is of two types. In gardening terms, curly spinach is said to be savoyed and can be either semi-savoyed or heavily savoyed. The more curly (savoyed) the spinach is, the harder it is to clean. Curly leaf spinach is rarer in markets today because of the difficulty in cleaning it, and growers wish to wash and pre-bag spinach, partly for the convenience of consumers who will more readily purchase a “ready to eat” product, and partly because the bags prolong shelf life.

Canned spinach is pretty terrible, but frozen isn't so bad. In recipes such as soup, frozen spinach works just fine. The time you spend to clean, rinse and cook fresh spinach is not worth the difference in flavor in a dish where the spinach is well cooked. Spinach, like a lot of vegetables, is full of water, so you'll need to place the thawed spinach in a strainer and press with a spoon to squeeze out the excess water for recipes like lasagna or stuffed shells. For soup the extra water won't matter all that much.

Popeye ate spinach because of the high amounts of vitamin A and C as well as iron. There's a ton of calcium in spinach, too, with a cup having 245 mg (a cup of milk has about 300 mg calcium).

1 cup chopped spinach = 12 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g mono fat, 1g protein, 2g carbohydrates, 44mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol

Dr. Gourmet
March 3, 2008