How to Harvest Baby Spinach9:44 PM
I never grew up liking spinach. Maybe it was the way it was cooked, but I'm thinking it was because the leaves were huge by the time we ate them. This led me to try baby spinach in salads, and now I'm hooked!
When we started our own raised garden bed this year, my husband liberally planted spinach. I got very excited to see the leaves popping up, and decided to harvest the leaves young -- baby style. I have found that the spinach grows fast and is always tender and delicious. Here is how I do it:
1. Cut only the leaves that are crisp and large enough to make it worth your while. (I prefer those the size of a matchbook.) Use small, pointed, child-sized scissors, as it produces nice, clean cuts and you won't accidentally rip the whole plant out of the ground.
2. Cut as many leaves as fit your size requirements, but always leave at least one. Even if it is a teeny-tiny one. This is also a good time to cut any overgrown or bug-eaten leaves, even if you don't plan on eating them. (Although I always do.)
3. Put the leaves directly into a cloth grocery bag. I like the canvas types. This protects them from being broken and the bags are heavy enough to not blow away on a windy day. The dirt will also fall nicely to the bottom, if you happen to harvest leaves after a rainstorm.
4. After you have harvested all the leaves, take them inside and lightly rinse in a pasta strainer or colander. I never use a salad spinning machine -- they seem to break the leaves up and cause them to look ugly.
5. Line a clean bowl with a few paper towels or a clean tea cloth and put the leaves on top. Stick them in the fridge for at least 15 minutes; it will help crisp them up and let the excess water drain off -- without damaging the leaves.
Now, you can serve them in a beautiful salad! My kids love eating spinach this way, and - when mixed with other greens - they don't even realize that it is spinach they are eating!
What ways do you like to eat baby spinach?