What is in Season? Spinach!

Eat your spinach - but not for the iron. It's a myth that this cool-weather crop is loaded with iron. The myth probably originated in a mistake made by a 19th-century scientist who accidentally misplaced a decimal, giving spinach 10 times its actual amount of iron. Not until the 1940s - long after Popeye had cemented the idea in the public's imagination - was the mistake corrected. Spinach does contain a reasonable amount of iron (about 1.9 mg in a 60-gram serving), but it also contains something else that makes it hard for the body to absorb the iron: a high level of naturally occurring oxalates that bind to iron and, ultimately, excrete it from the body. Fortunately, spinach contains many other nutrients that make it worth consuming, such as folate, vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as several anti-oxidants.

To cook spinach Sicilian-style and as a great bed for fish:

  1. Saute a couple tablespoons of chopped pancetta in olive oil.

  2. Add some chopped onion and a minced clove of garlic.

  3. Then add a bunch of washed young spinach, and cook a few minutes until soft and dark. Drain if it's too watery.

  4. Add a handful each of golden raisins and pine nuts, and a spritz of lemon. (Suggest that your kids eat the spinach, raisins and pine nuts separately, if they prefer.)

- Larissa Phillips

Feeding Your Family Newsletter: Spring Cleaning Recipes: Beet-Fennel-Orange Salad - Daikon-Parsley Salad What's In Season? Spinach - Things We Love: The Fat Factor - Health Check: Formula Fear - Mothership Meals' Blog