Spinach salads are a classic easy and delicious meal or side dish.

Season - Peaks late spring through summer to early fall

Selection - Choose crisp, dark green leaves, avoid yellowing, slimy leaves.

Flavor complements - Garlic, nutmeg, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, vinegar, almonds, cheese, fruit

Storage - Refrigerate in a dry plastic bag for 3 to 5 days. Moist or pre-washed leaves deteriorate sooner.

Preparation for cooking - Wash 2-3 times in a large bowl of cool water to dislodge sand and soil. Before washing, trim off the roots and separate the leaves.

If you are going to use the spinach in a salad, you can dry it in either a salad spinner or by shaking it in a colander.

If you are going to cook it, you do not need to worry about drying it well as the remaining water will serve to help it cook.

Quick fixes - Sauté spinach in a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil for 1 to 2 minutes adding the spinach in batches as it begins to wilt. Stir in 2 tablespoons golden raisins.

Fruit and Spinach Salad

6 Servings Prep 5 minutes

1 package (10 oz) Cold Water Washed Spinach
1 large Red Delicious Apple (cored, chopped)
1 medium Pear (cored, chopped)
1/3 cup Honey Mustard Dressing

Combine ingredients and toss with the dressing

Per serving: 90 calories, 2g protein, 11g carbohydrates, 6g fat, 4mg cholesterol, 2g fiber, 150mg sodium, 89% Daily Value* Vitamin A, 26% Vitamin C, 5% Calcium, 7% Iron. *Based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Fun to Know

Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach with its delicate texture and jade green color provide more nutrients than any other food. We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but you may be surprised to learn that he may also have been protecting himself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases at the same time.

Spinach is one of the few vegetables we suggest quick boiling (for one minute). That's because boiling will help to reduce the amount of oxalic acids found in spinach, resulting in a sweeter taste.

Nutritional Profile: Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins K, A, C, B2, B6 and folate as well as manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium. It is a very good source of dietary fiber, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E. In addition, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.

Sources:
www.whfoods.com

Archibald, A Faughey, E. The Produce Partner. Food Fan Guides, 2005.