This month, Zehra Jemal reports on how to use vibrant spinach in your cooking.
Spinach is commonly sold as English spinach (large bunches) and baby spinach (small individual leaves).
Choose fresh-looking, bright green leaves. Avoid any leaves that are wilted, yellowed or damaged.
It's best to use spinach as soon as possible after purchasing to retain nutrients. Store unwashed spinach in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Trim the roots off spinach and wash leaves well. Use raw spinach in salads, or steam it for a few minutes and serve as a side. It also adds beautiful flavour to soups, stews, quiches, sandwiches, omelettes and pasta dishes.
4 quick ways with spinach
For a light snack (or delicious party dip), finely chop cooked spinach and squeeze out excess liquid. Stir through a large dollop of extra light sour cream, a few dashes of garlic powder and season with cracked black pepper. Refrigerate for an hour or so before serving with raw vegetable crudités, baked pita chips or wholegrain crackers.
Make your weekend breakfast a healthy and satisfying one by adding wilted spinach to poached eggs and multigrain toast.
When making lasagne, add in a layer or two of wilted spinach for an extra serve of vegies. For a creamy option, stir it through reduced-fat ricotta first.
Instead of bottled pesto, whip up this yummy (and healthier) spinach pesto. In a food processor, blend steamed spinach with half a bunch torn basil leaves, a couple of garlic cloves and 1/3 cup pine nuts. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup olive oil while pulsing. Toss pesto with cooked pasta, spread on sandwiches or dollop on chicken before baking.
Did you know? Spinach is high in folate, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium and fibre.