Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tip of the Day: Buy Unpackaged Spinach

One of my favorite healthy greens is spinach. You don't have to be Popeye to enjoy spinach for its antioxidants, iron, and fiber at hardly any calorie cost. Everyone knows spinach is a nutrient-dense food, so why don't we eat more of it?

Probably because the spinach we choose to eat isn't all that tasty. We can dramatically improve the taste of spinach by purchasing whole bunches of the leafy greens, usually wrapped with a long twist tie at the super market, rather than the bags of prewashed baby greens or the plastic cartons of spinach. Spinach plants store all their nutrients and a remarkable amount of sugar in the stems of the leaves, where they would be protected during a winter freeze. This reserve storage location helps the spinach plant survive when nutrients are scarce. When we buy baby spinach leaves without the long stems, we lose the best-tasting and most nutritious part of the plant. Today in class we tried tens of different lettuces and leafy greens; I was amazed at how flavorful and sweet (yes, sweet!) the long stems of spinach leaves are.

So grab a bunch of spinach leaves and give 'em a quick wash. They're cheaper than the prepackaged sort; they're better for the environment without the plastic bag too. Oh yeah, and they taste way better!

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