By Jenny Spring
Did you know that spinach grows best in cooler temperatures? This super-cold-hardy vegetable is a tender crop that can be planted in very early spring as well as fall and winter.
I always have people at the market asking me why their spinach bolts all summer long; it’s because it doesn’t like the heat very much. Right now is spinach season so I am giving you two recipes based around spinach.
It’s an easy vegetable to incorporate into your diet. I add it to my smoothies and juices in the morning, use it raw as the base of my salads, blend it into dips and sauté or steam it for quinoa, rice and pasta bowls.
- Spinach overwinters well. Plant your seeds in the fall and you will have amazing spinach early in the spring.
- Spinach freezes really well. Why not pick or buy lots of spinach from a local farmer right now while it’s in season and freeze it for the off season? To keep as much nutrition in leaves as possible, steam blanch spinach leaves by placing them in a steamer basket that keeps leaves above the boiling water. Steam for two minutes. You don’t lose that many nutrients or minerals by blanching spinach in boiling water.
- Spinach is awesome in smoothies or juices.
White Bean and Spinach Salad
- 2 cans white cannellini beans (or freshly cooked equivalent)
- 2 handfuls walnuts, toasted with maple syrup
- A bit of crumbled cheese (feta or goat cheese work nicely)
- Diced purple onion
- Washed and dried spinach
- Optional additions: grilled chicken, boiled beets, pomegranates
- A couple glugs of olive oil
- Half that amount of cider vinegar
- A tablespoon of maple syrup
- Stone-ground mustard
- A handful of spinach
- ½ cup of almond, coconut or hazelnut milk
- 1 frozen banana
- A pinch of cinnamon
- A handful of ice
Put all ingredients into a blender and pulse until smooth.
Jenny Spring is co-creator of The Spring Farm with Oliver Wolfe. Each week, she’ll share a recipe featuring in-season, Muskoka-grown produce from their local farm, which is just five kilometres from downtown Huntsville. She’ll also share a gardening tip about the chosen vegetable. You can find these vegetables and more at the Huntsville Farmers’ market on Thursdays after Victoria Day in the Canadian Tire parking lot, or at The Spring Farm gate on Bethune Road North starting in June.
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