Selecting Spinach

Spinach comes in two basic varieties: curly-leafed and smooth. Smooth is more popular, because curly-leafed is more difficult to rid of dirt that's buried in its folds. Choose spinach with leaves that are crisp and dark green; avoid limp or yellowing leaves, an indication that the spinach is past its prime. Refrigerate unwashed spinach in a loose plastic bag; it'll keep for three to four days. If you wash it before you store it, the leaves have a tendency to deteriorate rapidly.

Wash spinach two or three times before serving to remove all grit.

Preparing and Serving Spinach

Wash spinach leaves carefully and thoroughly, repeating the rinsing process two or three times. Even a speck of grit left behind can ruin an otherwise perfect dish.

Spinach is treasured for its versatility; it's tasty whether you serve it fresh or cooked. Either way, it can be included in dishes without adding hardly any calories. Warm spinach salads are a classic, but they are typically high in saturated fat. For a tasty version low in saturated fat, omit the bacon and egg yolks, and use mushrooms and garbanzo beans instead. To cook spinach, simmer the leaves in a small amount of water until the leaves just begin to wilt, about five minutes. Top with lemon juice, seasoned vinegar, sauted garlic, or a dash of nutmeg, and serve.

Salad doesn't have to leave you with that empty feeling. Use spinach in your next salad, and not only can you brag that you are eating healthy, you won't hear your stomach growling while you boast to your friends.

In the next section, we'll talk abut the health benefits of spinach.

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