Thursday 14 February 2013

Why You Need This Stuff in Your Kitchen: Frozen Chopped Spinach

Some foods have a certain cachet.  You hear or read their names and images of luxury, or romance, or comfort immediately come to mind.

Frozen chopped spinach is not one of those foods.

I am here now, though, to convince you that you really do need this stuff in your kitchen.

There are very few foods that will provide you with as much nutritional bang for your buck:

If you watch the sales and use coupons, you can often buy frozen chopped spinach for less than $1.00 for a ten ounce package.  

Ten ounces of fresh, pre-washed spinach is selling in our local Safeway for $4.99 right now.  

Unwashed, untrimmed bunch spinach is selling for $0.88 to $1.69/bunch depending upon where you buy it.  By the time you trim it, wash it, and spin it dry, it takes three or four bunches to make up ten ounces of useable leaves.  

The nutrients in spinach are more readily available to us if the spinach is cooked, and there are a lot of nutrients. Here's what a single cup of cooked spinach brings to your plate:

Nutrients in
1.00 cup cooked (180.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value

vitamin K1110.6%

vitamin A377.3%





vitamin C29.4%

vitamin B224.7%



vitamin B622%


vitamin E18.7%



vitamin B111.3%





omega-3 fats7%

vitamin B34.4%


Calories (41)2%

Although virtually all vegetables contain a wide variety of phytonutrients—including flavonoids and carotenoids—spinach can claim a special place among vegetables in terms of its phytonutrient content. Researchers have identified more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents.[1] 

The vitamin K in spinach helps our bones to retain calcium, an important factor in preventing osteoporosis.

Two of the carotenoids that are especially plentiful in spinach — lutein and zeaxanthin — are primary antioxidants in several regions of the eye. [2]

Spinach tastes good too!

There are many ways to incorporate frozen spinach into your meals.  I use it in any soup, salad, or casserole recipe that calls for cooked spinach. 

Frozen chopped spinach works well in lasagna, as a green in Italian wedding soup, or as creamed spinach.  I use it on pizza, as a component of most anything Florentine, mixed with tomato sauce or cheese sauce as a base for baked eggs, in omelettes and quiches, and in spinach and cheese bread.  You can use it in green smoothies too.

There are a few steps to preparing frozen chopped spinach for use in your recipes:

Begin by thawing the spinach.  I usually do this in my microwave, but if you plan ahead you can take it out the night before you need it and allow it to thaw in the fridge.

Turn the thawed spinach out onto a clean cloth.  I have several pieces of old sheet that I use for this.  The fine texture of the sheet material makes it excellent for this purpose and it’s easily laundered.  If you don’t have a piece of sheet material, use a clean - but not new - dish towel.  (The spinach juice may stain it.)

Draw the edges of the cloth together and then twist the cloth to wring as much moisture as possible from the thawed spinach. 

Quite a bit of liquid will drain off and you’ll end up with a compressed pellet of spinach.

Use your fingers or a fork to break the spinach apart, then use it just as you would cooked, fresh spinach.

Pretty simple, right? And so worth the effort!


nutrient chart source:
[1] , [2]