Spinach Is Delicious, I Promise

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Another one of those silver linings in the current state of being lockeddown, is the renewed interest in home gardens.  In keeping with our policy that Sundays are about family and restoring the family dinner, let’s combine the two.

Hopefully you’ll get some ideas on what to do with the tasty treats you are growing this year.

Long term gardeners know that spinach season is just about over.  Temperatures are rising and any day now your spinach is going to shoot up a flower stem (bolt) and stop producing those tender, sweet and delicious leaves that so many of us enjoy.  If you are new to gardening, most varieties of spinach get bitter once they bolt.

Young children everywhere are probably rejoicing in the end of this season, especially if they’ve never had it fresh from the garden.  Canned spinach tastes like, well, “can” and very little like spinach.

If you didn’t grow any this spring, plant yourself a few rows this fall and give it a try.  Nothing beats the flavor of something you’ve grown yourself.  The only bad thing about spinach is it takes A LOT of raw product to make a serving of cooked deliciousness. 

I highly recommend mulching your spinach and kale plants.  It saves a lot of time during the rinsing stage since there isn’t much dirt splashing up on the plant.  Few things are more cringe-worthy than biting into a mouthful of gritty spinach.

In a 5.5 quart pot, crisp about 4 slices of bacon in the bottom.  The reason to use bacon is three-fold.  One, uh… it’s bacon.  Two, many of the nutrients from spinach are “fat” soluble.  Meaning, it takes fat to break them down and get them into your bloodstream to be carried throughout your body.  You can use olive oil or some other “healthy” oil.

Reason three for using bacon – insects.  I don’t care how thoroughly you wash your spinach, you ARE going to cook and eat several bugs. 

You’re asking, “What has that got to do with bacon?” Anything you see floating in your broth, you can tell yourself it’s bacon, not a bug part.  Let’s face it, most bugs aren’t going to hurt you if you eat them, it’s the “ick” factor that’s the issue.  Skip the ick factor, load up your pot with bacon and fresh cracked pepper and tell yourself everything you see that’s questionable, is bacon or cracked pepper.

Braised Spinach

  • 1 firmly packed, heaping colander of raw, rinsed spinach
  • 4 slices farm fresh, thick sliced bacon (8 if it’s the thin stuff)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • salt & fresh cracked pepper
  • freshly minced garlic (optional)

Brown bacon on medium heat, in bottom of 5.5 quart pot.  Do NOT drain unless you have some really fatty bacon.  Leave behind a few (3-4) tablespoons.

Add enough spinach to halfway fill the pot and ½ cup chicken broth.  Stir. 

If you’ve picked enough fresh spinach you will have to add it a little at a time to fit it all in.    It will cook down quickly so don’t walk away.  Keep adding and stirring the spinach until you’ve gotten it all inside the pot.  If you need to add more chicken broth, go for it. How brothy you like it, is up to you. Give it one last stir, cover.  Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes. 

Here’s where you have to keep an eye on it.  Some people like their spinach cooked very little, others to mush. 

If you’ve never cooked your spinach this way or you have a delicious way to prepare it, please let us know in the comments.  We’d be happy to share your recipe.

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Cindy A. Rose began writing for the Tentacle in 2011 trying to raise awareness over things happening within Frederick County Public Schools. She began keeping a close watch on FCPS when she learned there were not enough air conditioned buses for special needs children during the hot Maryland summers. The Tentacle offered her a place to share her concerns with her community when local newspapers didn’t always. Cindy had the opportunity to buy the Tentacle from creator/owner John W. Ashbury in 2019, so she did. She believed then, as she believes now, our communities, friends and neighbors have important things to say that needs to be shared with those living around them. Large corporate news companies don’t always share in those passions and concerns. The Tentacle is a local news, commentary and community website run by citizens, for citizens. Its success depends on your participation.