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A person's daily menu should consist of fresh fruits, vegetables, as well as herbs. Spinach is also a healthy product.
In the article, we will consider in detail what kind of greens it is, how it is best to use it fresh, boiled and dried, what dishes can be done with it.
We will provide an opportunity to see what this plant looks like in the photo, and get acquainted with its brief characteristics. Is there an age limit for using it? What other products does it look like? Find out further in our article.
Briefly about the plant
Spinach is striking not only in the amount of its useful properties, but also in the methods of preparation. Spinach (Latin Spinacia oleracea) is an annual herb with oval leaves that is eaten. It belongs to the Amaranth family. Leaf surface varies from smooth to rough, the leaf itself is curved, in appearance it may resemble sorrel. The smell is neutral. Spinach grows up to 50 cm in height. It sprouts quickly and is easy to care for. It was brought to Russia about 200 years ago; the Middle East, namely Persia, is considered its homeland.
In the photo below, you can see what fresh spinach looks like:
What foods does it taste like?
Spinach has a distinct herbal flavor, it resembles sorrel, but there is no sourness in it. By itself, this plant is neither a spice nor an astringent product. The taste of spinach is revealed when it is cooked with meat, fish, in soups and salads; it goes well with eggs and is suitable as an ingredient in pie filling.
How to properly use fresh leaves in food?
Remember that spinach is stored fresh for a short time and quickly loses its properties.
It is most often added to salads, juice or smoothies. For cosmetic purposes, you can wipe the face with fresh juice for its elasticity and firmness. When cooked, spinach loses much of its antioxidant properties for which it is so famous.
Do I need to somehow process before cooking?
Rinse the leaves thoroughly before eating.... Yellow, weak or limp leaves should be separated and discarded. Cut off the stems - they don't taste too good, only leave the round leaves. Even if the packaging says that the product is ready for use, it still needs to be rinsed. Rinse under running water in a separate container, allow to dry. Dousing with boiling water is undesirable. You can keep dried spinach in the refrigerator for no more than a day, otherwise harmful nitric acid salts will begin to form in it.
How often can you eat and how much to eat per day?
Spinach is an excellent low-calorie food for daily consumption, rich in protein and fiber. It holds the record for iron content: 100 grams of leaves contain a whole quarter of the daily requirement (we consider the composition of spinach in more detail here). Regular consumption of spinach reduces the risk of hypertension, insomnia, heart attack and retinal degeneration. You can consume up to 300 grams per day. spinach.
Are the stems edible?
Fresh stems are too tough and taste less palatable than leaves. However, they can be consumed by adding them to a juicer and making a juice. The beneficial properties are the same as in the leaves.
When is the best time to eat?
The timing of the spinach meal does not really matter, however freshly squeezed juice from it is better not to use on an empty stomach due to the action of oxalic acid. It is better to drink such juice at least after breakfast. Spinach is good stewed with vegetables for dinner, as it is not burdensome on the stomach.
For elderly people, spinach is useful with restrictions: due to the content of oxalic acid, it must be used with caution in case of kidney and gallbladder diseases. Otherwise, you can provoke the formation of kidney stones. The use of spinach is contraindicated in diseases of the duodenum, gout and rheumatism. Due to the high content of vitamin K (more than 4 (!) Recommended daily allowances), spinach is not recommended for people with poor blood clotting and those who use anticoagulants. In more detail the benefits and harms of spinach, as well as the contraindications existing for its use, we consider here.
For children spinach can be added to the diet from 7-8 months in the form of mashed potatoes and smoothies, no more than 50 grams. Give it no more than 2 times a week. Many baby food manufacturers like HiPP sell ready-made cereals and spinach purees. When preparing spinach dishes on your own, it is advisable to add milk or cream in order to neutralize oxalic acid. From 2 years old, you can give spinach as part of salads, mashed potatoes, omelets.
Using a frozen vegetable
Frozen spinach is most commonly sold in washer form. You can defrost it naturally (more suitable for omelettes or dough), or you can throw spinach washers into a cooking soup or frying pan where meat, fish or mushrooms are stewed.
Remember that you cannot re-freeze already defrosted vegetables (any), as they lose their properties. A dish containing boiled or fried spinach should be stored in the refrigerator for no more than two days, otherwise harmful nitrogenous salts will form.
After fresh spinach has been separated from the stems and bad leaves, washed and chopped, it can be steamed or stewed in a little water. When boiling or stewing, one part of the spinach is reduced by about two-thirds by volume. It is advisable to add spinach at the very end of cooking., so as not to overdo it with heat treatment and leave more useful properties, while allowing a sufficient amount of oxalic acid to collapse. Usually it takes no more than 10 minutes to cook or stew.
Do not reheat the leftover spinach, as then the harmful conversion of nitrates to nitrites and nitrosamines occurs.
Application of dried leaves
Dried spinach can be used in soups, stews, or as a medicinal plant. Dried spinach retains all vitamins and minerals. To dry the leaves, they must be chosen as the youngest and freshest, since the old ones completely lose their useful properties. The washed leaves should be laid out on a wire rack, then sent to an oven for a couple of hours at a temperature of 50 aboutC. After drying, grind and transfer to an airtight bag.
In what form is it better to use this vegetable?
Of course, there is nothing better than young spinach rosettes just plucked from the garden. However, if this is not possible, then dried leaves are great for cooking... Frozen washers are more convenient for long-term storage in urban environments, and they retain their bright green color much better. Stewed or boiled spinach with the addition of milk or cream is suitable for such a property as a low content of oxalic acid.
Where to add - combinations with other dishes
Spinach goes well with meat, especially fatty ones, making it easier to digest. In terms of taste, it goes well with eggs, for example, in omelets, baked goods, salads, casseroles.
A wonderful property of spinach is its preservation of green color during heat treatment: you will get not only emerald smoothies, but also bright soups (vegetable, mushroom, meat or fish), green sauces (especially harmonious with horseradish and mustard) and contrasting combinations of green / red on pizza surface. You can even use bright spinach juice to make your own fancy green ice cream and even dough cream.
We suggest watching a useful video on how to cook spinach:
As seen, This leafy vegetable is extremely healthy and nutritious, and moreover, it is versatile in the kitchen. The nutritional properties of spinach and its rich composition allow us to call it a real treasure of health!
You can learn about the beneficial properties of spinach from this video: