What to do with all that Spinach

If you’re a grower you’ll find yourself eating salads and leafy greens for much of the year. These are the plants that will survive with less sun, in the colder winter months. When they get growing, its hard to keep up with them. Much of the year I find myself trying to tuck spinach into most meals; breakfast, lunch and supper. There have been awful experiments, but mostly they have been tasty surprises that family members have been impressed by. There are the recipes I grew up with: Spinach and Feta anything, Fried Spinach and Garlic, Creamed Spinach, Spinach in Lasagna. Then there are the more experimental: Spinach and Coffee Smoothies, Raw Green Juice, Spinach Pesto, Spinach Stalks in Sage Butter, the list goes on.

Spinach in the backyardNook and cranny farmingBack Yard Spinachspinicharous 002

Basic harvesting and storing of spinach

Harvest, wash and chop spinach. Pop into ziplock bags or other containers (squeeze out the air) and put in the freezer.

You can also blanch the Spinach; 2 minutes in boiling water, dumped in ice cold water, and freeze. This is a more space friendly option – though you may loose some of the nutrition.

Spinach Pesto Recipe

For me, the basic premise of Pesto is some green leaves, some nuts, some garlic, some olive oil, some seasoning and (optionally) some Parmesan. This is a great way to use up the spinach, to make the most of it’s great flavor. I base my recipe on this one  from food.com. But tweak the measurements, and substitute for cheaper nuts. You end up with a pesto paste that has a really intense spinach flavor. You only need a tablespoon-full in your bowl of pasta. Once there, it is absolutely delicious. My carnivorous and ever skeptical brother had second helpings of this pesto.

You will need:

  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, well-washed. I leave the stems in, some people take them out. (Add another cup for a bigger batch)
  • 1/2 cup parsley or other herbs you have on hand (I used fennel and coriander)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (I actually use 1/2 peanuts, half almonds). Toasting them does add some deliciousness to the meal.
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (this really does make it taste great)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less, just add to aid the mixing process)
  • Salt and black pepper to season

Then blend. In a food processor, or with a stick blender, until it becomes a green paste. Serve mixed into steaming pasta with a sprinkle of your preferred grated cheese on top.

If you have left over, put into a jar and cover with olive oil. It will keep in the fridge for about a week.

 

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