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30 November 2008

Quick spinach

Spinach is known as a rich source of iron and calcium. According to Zach Smit a leading researcher, a 180 gram serving of boiled spinach contains 6.43 mg of iron, whereas one 6 oz. (170 gram) ground hamburger patty contains at most 4.42 mg. Thus spinach does contain a relatively high level of iron, compared to other vegetable and meat sources.

Popeye the Sailor Man has a strong affinity for spinach, becoming physically stronger after consuming it. This is partially due to the iron content being mistakenly reported ten times the actual value, a value that was rechecked during the 1930s, where it was revealed that the original German scientist, Dr. E von Wolf, had misplaced a decimal point in his calculations. In truth, spinach actually has about the same iron content as a lot of other vegetables, and even less than others. Cooked broccoli and cauliflower, for example, have almost double the iron content of spinach.

The above excerpts are from Wikipedia. If you may have noticed, the two paragraphs describe conflicting messages about the iron content of Spinach. One thing I know though, that Popeye's affinity for the strengthening properties of spinach was hugely misplaced by an erring decimal point. It still was a popular cartoon in my childhood days though, and is still an identifiable character in today's generation. But I digress.

I visited Glenn a few days ago with some print and scan requests. I ended up going home with some of his garden produce. It was wonderful seeing his patch of greens growing very well. Lettuce, broccoli, pechay, spinach, potatoes! I hope I can do that also soon. He gave me some pechay, spinach, and fish from their recent fishing expedition.

Admittedly, I haven't tried spinach before. Sure, it's available in the local market in Baguio City but as far as I can remember, we haven't had spinach at home. So I Googled for a simple spinach recipe and came across one at Simply Recipes. A lot of commenters in there declared that this is a tasty way to prepare spinach, so I tried it for myself. Here is the recipe.

a bunch of spinach
a couple of cloves of garlic (you can simply slice these, but I crushed mine and sliced them up)
salad oil or olive oil
salt to taste

Cut off the tough stems of the spinach and discard. Then thoroughly wash the leaves and drain off excess water. Make sure that the leaves are not too wet when cooked or else the result will not be as good.
Heat up the pan and pour a bit of oil on it.
When the oil is ready, saute the garlic until it is nearly brown
Add the spinach. Pack it in and mix it up so the oil covers the leaves and the garlic gets scattered about. Cover and simmer for a minute. Uncover, turn the spinach, cover again to cook for another minute.
The spinach should be wilted at this time. Remove from heat, drain off excess moisture, add a bit of oil, and season with salt to taste.

Serve immediately.

This very simple dish is also flexible. You can use your favorite cooking/salad oil, or add a bit of soy sauce, or even sesame seeds!

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