I’ve written a bit about our summer garden here on the blog, but what I haven’t spent much time on is sharing how we enjoy our homegrown (or otherwise seasonal) produce.
Because we have several fruits and veggies over the course of the summer, and because they tend to all take off and ripen in waves, I thought I’d start a little series on how to use up one kind of produce at a time.
For example, our strawberries always take over the garden first, and thrive for about a month, then gradually produce less and less. This is wonderful, and we enjoy plenty straight from the vine as a sweet snack (as does Rosie.) Even so, these, along with every other garden-fresh harvest or item in our grocery cart, can quickly go to waste if we don’t have a plan for using them up, preserving them, or giving them away. And it can sometimes be difficult to think of new and exciting ways to prepare seasonal goodies, especially if you’ve fallen into just a few routine ways of savoring them.
First up: ideas for using spinach. This leafy green and its cousin, Swiss chard, has been growing like wild in our garden this year, and I have to cut handfuls upon handfuls of leaves regularly to keep it maintained. Good thing we love it!
Spinach is loaded with protein, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and more. Studies have shown that it may aid in improving blood glucose control, fighting off cancer, improving blood pressure and bone health, and much more. Why wouldn’t you want more of this superfood in your diet? Learn more here.
The following ideas actually work for both spinach and swiss chard, so go snip away and prepare to enjoy!
10 Ways to Use Spinach (or Swiss Chard)
- Toss a handful into your morning smoothie, acai bowl, or fresh-pressed juice.
- Include a few cups in your weekend omelets, quiches, and frittatas.
- Wash and freeze as much as you like in freezer bags for future use in winter soups and stews. We love this cozy tortellini en brodo (use the spinach in place of kale.)
- Sneak a few handfuls into pasta or casserole sauces by tearing them up and stirring them in while the sauce is warming on the stove for an added boost of vitamins and minerals.
- Warm a few cups-worth on the stove in a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and blend or stir into mashed potatoes or cauliflower.
- Toss with a handful of strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, and goat cheese for a sweet and colorful salad.
- Use in place of lettuce in salads, tacos, atop burgers, in wraps, and more.
- Warm and wilt a couple of cups in olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss into a protein, grain, or Buddha bowl.
- Use larger leaves as wraps for burgers, tacos, and other hand-held eats.
- Make a big batch of savory spinach artichoke dip.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy this powerful veggie?