fresh spinach

Ways to Cook Fresh Spinach

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I usually eat raw spinach in a salad and occasionally will order a spinach quiche in a restaurant.  But these spinach recipes from old 1800s cookbooks makes me want to experiment and add some variety to my diet.

GLOSSARY

Gill – A liquid measurement. Four ounces in the U.S. and five ounces in the U.K.

Peck –  A measurement for dry volume. A peck is two gallons or eight dry quarts. Four pecks make a bushel.

Moderate oven – A moderate oven is about 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit; you could hold your hand in the oven about 45 seconds without burning.

Quick oven – A quick oven is about 400-450 degrees fahrenheit and you could hold your hand in the oven about 35 seconds without burning.

INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS:

Spinach requires close examination and picking, as insects are frequently found among it and it is often gritty. Nothing is worse than spinach when gritty, so likewise there is nothing more troublesome to get quite clean, from its growing so near the earth. Spinach should be picked a leaf at a time, and washed in three or four waters. Then drain it and put it in boiling water. Fifteen to twenty minutes is generally sufficient time to boil spinach. Be careful to remove the scum.

A thin slice of fat salt pork or a tablespoon of bacon fat may be cooked with spinach if preferred. In that case, omit butter. Or cook in ham or corned beef stock, drain, and season only with pepper. Garnish with thin slices of hard-cooked egg, or sprinkle with the yolk of egg pressed through a sieve. Grated nutmeg, or mace, and a little lemon-juice, is a favorite addition with some cooks, and is added when you stir it up in the stew-pan with the butter garnished. Spinach is frequently served with poached eggs and fried bread.

SPINACH SALAD
Take two dozen heads of spinach, season with salt and pepper, put in a salad dish and set away on ice. Take the yolks of three hard boiled eggs, mash fine, add mustard, salt, pepper, and a tablespoonful of melted butter. Mix thoroughly, add vinegar and pour over the spinach. Garnish with hard boiled eggs sliced.

SPINACH IN A MOLD
Pick over carefully, clip off the stems and put the leaves in boiling water, with salt stirred in. Boil hard fifteen minutes. When done, drain, pressing out all the water. Chop fine, put back into the saucepan with a piece of butter, a little powdered sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and toss until very hot. Press hard into a mold wet with hot water, and turn out with care upon a heated dish. A spoonful of cream is an improvement. Lay round slices of hard-boiled eggs on the top.

SPINACH BALLS
Boil cleaned spinach till it is quite tender. Drain, press out all the water, and mince it fine. Add half the quantity of grated stale bread, a grate of nutmeg, one teaspoon sugar, one gill of cream and as many eggs as will make a batter, beating the whites separately. Add pepper and salt to taste. Drop a little of the batter from a spoon into boiling lard. If it separates, add a little more crumb of bread. When they rise to the surface of the fat, they are done. Drain them, and serve very quickly, or they will fall.

SOUFFLE OF SPINACH
Cook the spinach until tender, drain, press out the water and chop fine. Place one cup of spinach in a bowl and add the yolks of two eggs, one cup of very thick cream sauce, one tablespoon grated onion, two teaspoons salt, and one teaspoon paprika. Mix thoroughly, and then carefully fold in the stiffly beaten whites of two eggs and pour into well-greased baking dish. Bake in a moderate oven for twenty-five minutes and serve with cheese sauce in place of meat for luncheon.

SPINACH SOUP
Wash two pounds of spinach well and cook it in one pint of water with one chopped up onion, and pepper and salt to taste. When the spinach is quite soft, rub all through a sieve. Mix one and one-half ounces wheatmeal with one ounce melted butter. Stir into it the spinach, then add one pint milk. Boil all up, and add the juice of one lemon last of all. If the soup is too thick, add a little water. This will make about three pints of soup.

SPINACH DUMPLINGS
Pick and wash two pounds of spinach. add two finely chopped onions, and boil it with without water until quite tender. Drain it dry, then chop the spinach fine. Mix it with three eggs well beaten, the juice of one-half lemon, one ounce butter, and pepper and salt to taste. Add as much wheatmeal as necessary to make the mixture into a soft paste. Form into balls, flour them, drop them into boiling water, and boil them five to ten minutes. Serve with potatoes and gravy.

BAKED SPINACH
Pick and wash thoroughly one-half peck of spinach. Put in boiling water to which a pinch of soda has been added to keep the color. When very tender, drain, chop fine, and put into a baking dish. Put into a saucepan one cup milk, one tablespoon butter, one teaspoon salt, a dash of cayenne pepper, and a little grated nutmeg. Let this come to a boil, stir into the spinach, add two well beaten eggs, and bake ten minutes in a quick oven.

FRIED SPINACH
Take cold spinach left from dinner, premising that it was boiled tender in properly salted water, and that there were three or four poached eggs left also. Chop the eggs thoroughly into the spinach and sprinkle with pepper. Put into a frying-pan a large tablespoon of butter and when it is sufficiently hot, put in the spinach and eggs, and fry nicely.

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Do You Have Any Special Ways to Prepare Spinach?

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6 Comments

  1. I, too, am intrigued with the lard-fried balls. I regularly put spinach in salads and green smoothies but several of these recipes sound well worth trying. Thanks!

  2. It’s always a treat to find your articles in my feed. I was surprised to see eggs and lemon juice used with several of these recipes, just as so many of us do today. I’m especially enamored with the lard-fried balls, something I’m not supposed to indulge these days, but oh my, how good they would be, especially if I had access to lard the way my great aunt used to render it.

    • There’s now evidence that fat is actually good for us. But it would have to be fat (lard) that is rendered from pasture raised animals, not chemically processed from confined animals. I’m having a good time going through old cookbooks. Thanks for letting me know you’re enjoying the posts.

  3. I love spinach. I love cooking it in a cheesy breakfast muffin for on the go. I plan to try and grow spinach this summer.

    • Spinach is easy to grow, so I know you’ll be successful. Unfortunately, I live in apartment and can’t have a garden, although I once grew a pot of cherry tomatoes.

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