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how much to trim boiled spinach | Family Cuisine

This is an intro to a blog post about how much to trim boiled spinach. Boiled spinach is one of the most popular vegetables in America, with over 1 billion pounds sold annually.

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How much to trim boiled spinach

Learn how to cook spinach using three different methods: steaming, sauteing and blanching. Either way, this nutrient-dense leafy green vegetable cooks in just minutes for a fast side dish or versatile ingredient.

How to Cook Spinach (3 Ways!)

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Spinach is a staple in the kitchen as they’re easy to cook fresh or frozen. These leafy greens are a popular ingredient for salads and side dishes. Their flavor is mild, so it mixes nicely with other items while providing health benefits to any meal. It’s a fantastic addition to omelets, scrambles, lasagnas, and quiches.

There are a handful of different types of spinach to choose from. The most common being baby spinach which is typically eaten raw but does well with gentle cooking. Larger and more robust flat-leaf or curly-leaf is better tasting when heated up. There are three basic ways to cook fresh spinach, depending on the desired flavor, texture, and use.

How to cook spinach

  • Steaming quickly tenderizes and wilts the leaves down without much need of seasoning until after cooking.
  • Blanching immediately cooks the leaves in seconds and most often used as an intermediary step for a dish.
  • Sauteing uses dry heat to develop flavor on the surface and uses other flavoring agents.

Steamed spinach

Steamed spinach

Steaming spinach in a hot moist-heat environment allows large batches to be cooked in under 2 minutes. It requires a minimal amount of water to create steam compared to blanching. This process helps retain the bright green color while tenderizing the greens.

The cooked spinach can then be simply seasoned with salt and pepper. Squeezing a little lemon juice or balsamic vinegar over it can help cut the bitterness. Avoid adding directly in the pan depending on the type of cookware you’re using.

Blanched spinach

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Blanched spinach

Blanching the spinach leaves in a large pot of salted hot water quickly wilts the greens in under a minute. This is great for rapidly cooking multiple batches of leaves. Make sure to quickly remove from the heat and cool it down under cold running water to halt the cooking process.

Squeeze out excess liquid to avoid it from becoming soggy or turning a muddy green tint. I use this method when making creamed spinach.

Sauteed spinach

Sauteed spinach

Start with heating olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. The fat will help to sear the leaves and add some light browning and quickly start flavor development. During this time other aromatics and spices like minced garlic, onions, bell pepper, or chili flakes can be added to the oil and briefly cooked.

Add the spinach a handful at a time, stirring until wilted, then add the rest of the leaves. This process will take a few minutes. When adding cooked spinach to something such as stuffed shells or a dip, it’s best to cook out as much water as possible, making sauteing the ideal option.

Removing the stem

Removing the stem of a spinach leaf

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Larger spinach-like flat-leaf have a tougher and more prevalent stem, especially when sold in bunches. It can easily be removed in two ways. Use a knife to cut the stems off or the leaf can be held in one hand and the stems pulled down and off with the other.


Washing spinach in a salad spinner

It’s important to thoroughly wash spinach, specifically flat-leaf that’s freshly picked and contains a lot of dirt and debris. Plunge the leaves into a large bowl of cold water, swish around, and change out the water if needed if there’s a lot of sand or dirt.

As for pre-washed spinach, I still like to rinse the leaves with water for a few minutes in a colander to reduce any harmful bacteria that may be lurking in the crevices of the leaves. Dry them in a salad spinner, especially if sauteing.

Selection and uses

Most varieties of spinach are vibrant green in color with crisp stems. The leaves should look fresh and not wilted, signaling that the leaves are past its prime. Baby spinach and trimmed flat-leaf work well for smoothies, salad, and cooking. Curly-leaf spinach is best for sauteing, blanching, or steaming. Check the best by date on any packaging if available.


Store baby spinach or curly-lead in its original packaging (plastic bag or box) to keep it fresh. Store flat-leaf spinach unwashed, in a dry plastic, unsealed bag. Once the spinach begins to turn yellow or become brown and mushy, throw it away. This could be one to two weeks depending on the variety.

Substituting frozen for fresh

Frozen spinach is a convenient way to add the vegetable into meals. A 9 ounce (255 grams) frozen package of spinach leaves yields about 3/4 to 1 cup after reheating in the microwave, stovetop, or defrosted until cool running water in a colander.

This can be substituted for about 6 cups (8 ounces) of fresh spinach leaves. Make sure to drain the excess water before using it. The leaves are pretty chopped up, so it works best for dips, in egg dishes, pasta recipes, soups, and stews.

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Recipes with spinach

  • Creamed Spinach
  • Spinach Yogurt Dip
  • Breakfast Scramble

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