Monday, January 23

Something new for 2017 - part 3 (spinach)

We don't like spinach or chard. Advice that we would give to anyone new to growing vegetables would be to grow what you like to eat so why on earth would we decided to grow both spinach and chard next year.

Well it does seem that spinach and chard are popular with many of you and they provide greens at times when other green vegetables are not producing a harvest. Also from reading some of your blogs it seems that they go some way to plugging the 'hungry gap'.

Of course even taking this into account it would be silly to grow something neither of us actually would like to eat so what has caused the change of heart?
The answer is we think we have discovered the secret of making the formally despised vegetables into valuable additions to our diet. Over the year when lunching out we have sometimes chosen to eat some vegetarian options that in the past we have avoided as they included spinach. We have eaten vegetable biryani, vegetable lasagne and quiches where spinach is an ingredient and I have even bought some spinach to use in fried rice or stir fries. 
The dish above could have had a bit more spinach in but as it was my first attempt at cooking with it I was being careful just in case.

So spinach has been an ingredient in some dishes that we have really enjoyed. The secret that you have all probably been aware of all this time is that spinach, (and hopefully chard), is a completely different beast when used as an ingredient rather than as a standalone vegetable.

With this revelation in mind we have decided to grow:
Amazon is supposed to produce baby leaves through spring and autumn and Giant Winter Spinach is supposed to be harvested from October. For chard the blurb states that we can harvest from May - September.

So now I am looking to you all to come up with some tasty ideas for using these vegetables and truly convincing us that they deserve our love.


28 comments:

  1. Fortunately we both like spinach and chard preferring the latter when it comes to taste, I intend to grow far more this year especially perpetual spinach and of course rainbow chard looks great on the plot. I like your idea of mixing with other ingredients but have no new ideas to suggest

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    1. We had some spinach in a panini today, David

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  2. Why not try Chickpea curry with a little spinach added just before serving? I also think that tiny leaves of spinach (and Chard) make good salad ingredients - you can easily add just a few if you are suspicious of them!

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    1. I have had the tiny leaves in salad mixes. Mark so that is planned. I did pop some spinach in a curry although not a chick pea one

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  3. I despised spinach growing up---but then again, that was the era of boiling everything (to death!).
    I add spinach to salads (not cooked, of course) and also to soups.
    I do not like chard, but the Rainbow chard is a great producer (I tried it two years ago) and is certainly beautiful. My neighbors were grateful for the pass-alongs.

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    1. Garnishing soup sounds like a good idea, Sue

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  4. I love spinach but the rest of the family aren't keen so I don't have it all that often. The Bright Lights chard will make your plot nice and colourful.

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    1. We grew the rainbow chard before, Jo and it is pretty if nothng else

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  5. I didn't particularly like them either, but I now grow and eat them! Like you I've used them as an ingredient, but I've also found by picking them when they're much smaller they taste better and are great in salads too. You could always try them that way with plenty of salad dressing first if that seems a step too far ;)

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    1. I'm sure they will be a good addition to the allotment family, Michelle.

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  6. I love both but have to say {as with so many things} the older it gets the less palatable it becomes as it gets very earthy tasting. I love freshly picked young spinach leaves in a salad of mixed leaves and other salad veggies with a home made yoghurt, honey and mustard dressing. I could worship at the Altar of Spanokopita, and spinach in a creamy mustard nutmeg sauce is divine!

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    1. Just looked up Spanokopita. Deborah and it sounds good. It's the earthy taste that pit me off.

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  7. I don't like spinach or chard either, Sue and I too have found that it is much better in made up dishes or in salads as baby leaves. I have made soup with spinach. I found that spinach soup on its own is quite a strong taste, but pea and spinach soup is better or a soup with mixed leaves, like watercress, spinach and rocket. I've never grown spinach because I don't like it, but one year grew chard which I had never eaten before. I had a long row of chard which grew massive and looked very colourful but after eating the first lot and finding that I didn't care for it I was left not knowing what to do with the rest

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    1. Time will tell how much we use it, Margaret, that is if it grows.

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  8. What you don't like spinach. Its a wonderful veg! OK I agree that it is best as an ingredient rather than as a main veg. Brenda does some wonderful meals with it.
    I am sorry to tell you that we find it more convenient to buy it frozen at Sainsburys!
    I have until recently grown spinach-beet and even allowed it to self sow.It almost always got wasted because there was no call from the kitchen! when it was ready!
    The problem with real spinach is that it bolts in Summer. I am happy to leave to the commercial growers to crop it at optimum time. i am not brave enough to tell Brenda that the spinach is ready and she needs to get it frozen!

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    1. I'd not thought of freezing it, Roger thanks for the tip.

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  9. Sue, I don't like spinach. When I eat it seems I eat something without a taste. Maybe it's very useful, I prefer sorrel.

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    1. I tnink the answer is to combine with tastes that are liked, Nadezda.

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  10. Glad you're giving these veggies a chance. I always grow spinach, I love it in soups, you can barely taste it but it's there full of goodness. I especially love it in lentil and carrot soup with a few spring onions thrown in.xxx

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    1. I've been trying out recipes with bought spinach, Dina and so far so good.

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  11. Always had random luck with spinach, usually bolts, better luck with chard, especially the rainbow. It's still growing down there now, even without cover

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    1. I think spinach bolts when it is too warm, Dicky so I am hoping that growing it at the cooler time of year will help to prevent this happening. For the baby leaved variety we will try to cut it before it bolts and if necessary freeze the excess

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  12. These are two veg I would always try to grow. They are great harvested young to mix with other salad leaves also used as a ingredient in pasta and stir fry dishes. Many have been put off by historical servings of a big blob of wet spinach! Chard looks attractive in the garden too.

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    1. When we grew chard before it was the earthy taste that put us off, Brian. I think Popeye may have something to do with me not trusting spinach. :-)

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  13. Spinach and chard have been the two most succesful 'salad crops' in my greenhouse this winter. I use small spinach leaves as part of a salad but mostly I take one or the other, cop it fairly small and add to a stirfry at the last minute.

    if you make any of your own curries then it's wonderful stirred in just before serving.

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    1. We do make curry often, Jayne and we have recently popped some spinach in. I have also put spinach in an omelette filling and panini so we are being converted.

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  14. Ooh, spinach in a spanish omelette - lovely! And I like chard in salads, but like you, Jamie says he may as well lick a puddle! Charming!

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    1. We have been using quite a bit of bought spinach in cooking, Belinda and I think we are converts. As for chard we will see.

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