In the kitchen
It may come to you attached to its root or loose-leafed. Either way it needs to go straight into the fridge in its bag. Eat within a few days.
Prep & Cooking tips
Always wash spinach. The leaves trap sandy soil and any leftover grit will take the shine off even the most sumptuous meal. Wash it just before use as too much water can hasten the breakdown of the leaves. It is best washed in a deep bowl or sink so that the grit can sink to the bottom; lift the leaves out gently and then drain. Any really tough stalks can be stripped out and discarded but for the most part you can use it all.
You can wilt it briefly in a pan or add it to dishes in the final few minutes. The residual water from washing should be enough to aid wilting in a hot pan. Try not to overcook it as it can go mushy. Alternatively, blanch it for 30 seconds in boiling water, cool in cold water, squeeze dry and chop. This retains the bright colour and can be used in endless dishes or frozen in ice cube trays for later.
Spanakopita A wonderful word and a wonderful dish. They have been the mainstay of most veggie cafes for decades and for good reason; they are made of very few, but very tasty ingredients. Wilt down some well washed spinach in a pan until just collapsed. Mix with a few sliced spring onions and some sharp salty feta. Season with some nutmeg and chopped dill. Fold inside layers of buttered filo pastry and bake until crisp and golden.
Wilt It is often at its best when simply wilted down in a pan and finished with a little salt, lemon, olive oil and maybe a scant grating of nutmeg. A perfect cradle for some pan-cooked fish, or filling for a just-cooked omelette. The residual water on the leaves from washing helps the leaves to wilt quickly without scolding in the pan. Keep them moving and they’ll wilt in moments rather than minutes.
Blanch & chop Spinach will release water as it cooks and in some cases this can work against the final dish. By blanching the leaves in boiling water and then cooling immediately in cold water you arrest the cooking process and lock the colour into the leaves. They’ll only take about 30 seconds to cook. Squeeze the excess water from the cooled leaves and coarsely chop them. They can be added to a whole host of dishes to warm through in the final minutes. You can pack them into ice cube trays and freeze for a later date if their moment isn’t now.
Goes well with
Asian flavours (Chilli, Ginger, Sesame, Soy sauce)
Cheese (especially ricotta and feta)
Spices (Cayenne, Chilli, Mace, Nutmeg, Paprika)
Olives and olive oil
Creamed spinach and roasted garlic orecchiette
Serves: 2 Total time: 50 min
Chicken, spinach and chickpea tagine
Serves: 2 Total time: 35 min
Chicken and chorizo pasta with spinach
Serves: 2 Total time: 20 min
Avocado, spinach and pear smoothie
Serves: 1 Total time: 5 min
Serves: 4 Total time: 35 min
New potato, spinach and Gruyère bake
Serves: 4 Total time: 1h 10 min
In the field
Meet the grower: Riverford on Wash Farm , Buckfastleigh, Devon
Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson started the business at Wash Farm in South Devon in 1987, and we’ve been growing organic veg at Wash ever since.
SeasonalitySpinach is available throughout most of the year but is at its most tender in late spring and summer.
Harvesting spinach while it’s still young gives small leaves with a mild, clean flavour. Perfect raw in salads, or wilted straight into sauces, curries and soups at the last minute.
Actually a type of chard, hardier than true spinach but has a very similar taste and can be cooked in much the same way. It will last a little longer in the fridge than baby or true spinach.
Small, juicy leaves with a sweet flavour. Wonderfully versatile, it's just as good raw in salads or cooked, and tender enough to eat whole, stalks and all. It may come to you attached to its root or loose-leafed.