spinach (mature leaves)
If you're accustomed to tender baby spinach leaves in plastic bags from the grocery store, you may be surprised to find our mature, organic spinach leaves larger than your hand. Have no fear, they are delicious and bursting with flavor. Here's what you can do:
First, harvest large spinach leaves with the help of a toddler wielding a Tonka Dump Truck.
Okay, so maybe you don't need to do that since you already have the leaves but I couldn't resist showing you a picture of the spinach in the field and one of my gorgeous little boys.
Okay, the real step 1 is washing those beautiful greens to remove any little bits of soil that might have clung to the ridges in the leaves. I do that by immersing all the leaves in cold water in the sink, splashing around a bit and giving each leaf a final, quick rinse under running tap water just before I transfer it to another container to drain a little.
Next, lay about 6 of those big leaves out and stack 'em up, then roll them jelly-roll style. Get a big, sharp knife and slice the rolled leaves into thin ribbons.
Now slice again in the opposite direction to get small chunks of spinach. This method is pretty quick, it only took me about 15-20 minutes to do this with two huge mixing bowls full of spinach. You could also use a food processor but I hate to wash all the parts of a food processor for a small job, so I opted for this approach.
Now, if you're ready to cook the spinach jump right into this beautiful Creamed Spinach recipe from my hero the Pioneer Woman, substituting your freshly chopped spinach for the bagged baby spinach in her recipe. My kids - all three of them - LOVED this! No joke, they gobbled up every last bite I gave them. Did I say the Pioneer Woman is my hero?
If, however, you are like me and you are hosting Thanksgiving in your home and you would like to avoid screaming at your children on Thanksgiving Day because you're overwhelmed with meal preparation, put the chopped spinach in a freezer bag, press out extra air, and freeze that yummy green goodness until Thanksgiving day, like so...
Don't fret about losing a little flavor or a vitamin or mineral here and there. Your kids would prefer your sanity over extra vitamins. Trust me, I know.