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The Gardener's Kitchen: Spinach
The only spinach I came anywhere near as a child was when Popeye popped open a can to gain strength to rescue, once again, Olive Oil, from the bad guy. In those days even a cartoon hero could not convince me to eat something I did not like, and as my father did not like it either, spinach was rarely on our table.
Much has changed since those days; one of which is that I now eat spinach on a regular basis and always have a frozen pack or two in the freezer.
The change began when I ate my first spinach and strawberry salad. It was a simple affair, baby leaf spinach and sliced strawberries with a spritz of lemon juice. It was light, very flavourful and an extra bonus good for me, how can you beat that combination?
Since then I have used fresh baby spinach in a wide array of salad combinations and frozen spinach in soups, stews and stir fries.
It is very simple to drop a ¼ cup of frozen spinach into a stew in the last 20minutes of cooking. I find that doing this deepens the flavour.
A deeper flavour is not the only benefit as spinach and other dark leafy greens like kale, collards, Swiss chard, turnip greens and bok choy are loaded with calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron.
In addition, spinach is rich in vitamin C, fiber and carotenoids plus lutein and bioflavanoids.
Spinach has been a diet staple for centuries and although it originally came from Asia, this leafy green has spread so far and wide its specific origins remain uncertain.
You can readily grow you own spinach as part of your cut and come again garden or a salad container garden. Spinach will do very well in containers and can be kept on the back deck right neat the door as long as it gets enough sun. that way you can step outside, cut the leaves you need when you need them and have a fresh supply handy.
You can grow spinach in 6-inch to 12-inch diameter containers and I have also grown in it a window boxes. Rectangular planters will work as well. You will need to tend to the watering as the soil in small pots dries faster; so consider selecting larger containers to cut down on how frequently you need to water.
This is a food that I had to discover on my own but the appreciation for food and food preparation and the skills that my grandmothers shared with me have served me well and now this plant is a regular in my garden and my kitchen.
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