I have a secret friend. She lives around the corner, and although I’ve never met her, she is my garden benefactor, donating packages of fresh, squeaky spinach and delicious fresh sage whenever she has an abundance in her garden.
She’s also a pretty good artist – I also have her to thank for these gorgeous sketches of this wonderfully diverse, iron-rich vegie. So thank you very much Secret Lisa for your generosity!
Getting really fresh spinach is fantastic – I always know it’s just out of the ground because it has that wonderful squeak to it when you gently squeeze it. It’s often mistaken for silverbeet, but while I sometimes struggle to get the family to much down the thicker silverbeet, there’s always an empty plate when I make spinach!
The perfect food for expectant mums, spinach is in season pretty much all year round, but I particularly love baby spinach eaten raw in salads. One of my favourite salads that tastes just like summer to me is made with baby spinach, watermelon chunks, a few watercress leaves, feta cubes and shredded mint, drizzled with a little lemon oil. Couldn’t be tastier or simpler!
While I love the raw variety, we actually get more nutrition from spinach if it’s gently cooked or sauteed. Spinach steamed for 5 minutes is the best way of eating it if you’re after a bigger dose of Vitamin C.
Spinach is well known for its nutrition values, and it’s a no-brainer if you want a good kick-starter smoothie in the morning. Spinach smoothies are by far the best way of squeezing all the nutrition you can out of the leaves, and a handful of spinach with almond milk and a banana or pineapple pieces blitzed up makes a delicious morning habit that will keep you energised until lunchtime. If you want to beef it up a bit, add a few almonds.
Need some spinch-piration? (sorry.) Try this divine Turkish Pide with Spinach & Eggplant recipe, or my tasty quick summer Zucchini, Asparagus & Baby Spinach Buffalo Cheese Salad with Citrus Dill.
To see more of Lisa’s artwork, visit her on Instagram @lisa_artysta