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SPINACH

Spinach should be stored at 35 degrees F., use as quickly as possible, will keep several days.

In addition to being tasty, spinach’s popularity stems from its high nutritional value. Not only is spinach low in calories, it is also a good source of iron and essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C, minerals, and fiber. Spinach also contains 3 grams of protein per serving.

SPECIAL NOTE - Iron and calcium in plant foods are not highly absorbed by the body. Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these minerals. To improve iron absorption, spinach should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, tomatoes, or citrus fruit.

VARIETIES:
FLAT OR SMOOTH LEAF - Flat or smooth leaf spinach has unwrinkled, spade-shaped leaves that have a milder taste than the savoy. This variety is commonly used for canned and frozen spinach as well as for soups, baby foods, and other processed foods.

SAVOY - Savoy has crinkly, dark green curly leaves. The texture is different from the flat leaf but tastes equally as good. Look for fresh bunches of savoy at your local market.

SEMI-SAVOY - Increasing in popularity is the semi-savoy variety, which has slightly curly leaves. The slightly curly leaves have a similar texture to the savoy leaves but are easier to clean. This variety is usually sold fresh. It is also found in processed foods.

Fresh spinach is available all year. Major supplies come from Texas and California where it grows as a cool winter crop.

SELECTION - At the supermarket, you can find spinach packaged fresh, canned, or frozen. Fresh spinach is usually found loose or bagged. For the best quality, select leaves that are green and crisp, with a nice fresh fragrance. Avoid leaves that are limp, damaged, or spotted. If you are in a rush, grab a bag of fresh, pre-washed spinach. The ready-to-eat packaging makes it easy to be on the go and still stay healthy.

STORAGE - Fresh spinach should be dried and packed loosely in a cellophane or plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator crisper. If stored properly, it should last 3 or 4 days.

PREPARATION - Spinach grows in sandy soil, so wash it thoroughly to get rid of the grainy, sandy particles. Make sure to tear off the stem. Separate the leaves, and place them in a large bowl of water. Gently wash leaves, and let the sand drift to the bottom of the bowl. Remove leaves from the water, and repeat the process with fresh water until the leaves are clean.

If spinach is to be eaten raw, dry it completely by using a salad spinner or by blotting it with paper towels. Slightly damp spinach can be steamed or microwaved without adding any additional water.
CDC.gov - 5 a Day


 

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