Garden Greens: Spinach

Spinach is one of my favorite garden greens to grow, cook and eat. It is pretty hardy in the garden and so versatile in the kitchen. I recently overwintered some spinach in my raised beds to see how they would do. At the beginning of winter I had hoops with frost cloth over my beds until the snow became too heavy. Then I switched to a pile of frost cloth, then removed that the closer we got to spring. They did amazingly well and are now thriving in my garden. I plan to build cold frames for my raised beds so I can grow more things over winter and share what I learn with you.

Spinach is an excellent source so many vitamins and minerals and including Vitamin K, Vitamin A, iron, magnesium, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, Vitamin C and many more. It contains antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory benefits and supports bone and vision health. It’s a nutrient powerhouse like most other garden greens.  

I feel like spinach is a great gateway green to incorporate into meals for those who lack enough greens in their diet. It’s perfect in smoothies, sauces or pesto for selective eaters. About a pound of spinach will cook down to ¾ to 1 cup, remember this when harvesting or purchasing spinach so you have enough for everyone you are cooking for. (Remember this hen getting your selective eater to eat it, a lot of it becomes a little bit when cooked down.) If purchasing spinach, make sure to wash it really well, the same can be said if you grow your own depending on your soil and growing methods otherwise it can hold soil. You want to make sure here isn’t any grit left.

Some flavors/foods that go well with spinach include apples, lemon, garlic, ginger, bell peppers, avocado, lentils, chickpeas, mushrooms, pretty much any nut, onions, cranberries, olive oil, toasted sesame, parsley, dill, potatoes, rice vinegar, miso, if you eat fish, anchovies and so much more. I love adding spinach to just about everything. It can easily be used in place of chard or pretty much any other leafy green called for in your recipe. I also use it to make my greens powder along with chard, beet greens, etc.

Spinach is related to chard, beets, and even quinoa. There is both flat leaf and curly spinach. You can find it any time of the year, but it’s best when in season usually March – May and again September and October, but can do well protected in a cold frame or under a row cover well into winter.  It takes approximately 40-50 days to reach maturity. Harvest when leaves are 4-7 inches long when you have about 6-8 leaves on the head. Harvest from the outside leaves like other cut and come again greens. You can also harvest smaller leaves or let them get bigger depending on how you like it.

I have included some spinach recipes from some of my favorite cookbook authors and recipe developers, all recipes are plant-based/plant-forward, but may not be vegan or vegetarian:

Garlic Sautéed Spinach:

Berry Spinach Salad:

Broccoli Spinach Soup:

10 Minute Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

Spinach Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms:

Spinach and Beetroot Wraps:

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