Turks love their greens and they also hate to waste food. These Spinach Stems recipes are great for using a part of the plant most people throw to either the chickens or their compost…. and they are all delicious recipes in their own right.
GIVING THOSE SPINACH STEMS A GOOD SCRUB
In Turkey when we buy spinach, we get roots and all. I have found that if I detach the spinach stems from the leaves before I wash them, the whole job is a lot easier for both washing the leaves and the spinach stems and roots. Most of the dirt is often engrained within the roots and the leaves will be far easier to wash without these attached.
Once detached, I wash the leaves separately and find they often can be cleaned within 3 rinses, but not always.
I place the leaves in a large plastic bowl, fill it with water, swizzle them around vigorously and drain in a colander. I will repeat this until no more dirt is left in the plastic bowl. I try to never leave them soaking in the water as they tend to become waterlogged quite quickly and will ruin.
As for the spinach stems and roots, I put these in a smaller plastic bowl and feel happy to leave them soaking for 5 minutes at a time. Then I rinse them and try to massage them under the cold water tap, getting the water pressure to clean out the dirt that can be wedged amongst the roots.
This sounds more tedious than it is. It is quite easy to effectively clean them within a few rinses also. I never stop rinsing until there is absolutely no dirt left in the soaking bowl as a gritty meal just ruins the whole experience.
SO GOOD FOR YOU
Any time of the year spinach is very tasty although the best is found nearing spring time. As everybody knows, it is real Popeye food. Full of Vitamin A, B6,C, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium it is a vegetable you really should try to eat as often as possible to get the maximum health benefits.
SPINACH STEMS SALAD
Here is a tasty cold meze recipe to either serve alongside other starters or eat by itself with some yogurt.
- Spinach roots from ½ kg spinach
- 1 garlic clove crushed with a little salt (In a Turkish kitchen it is normal to crush cloves of garlic in a mortar and pestle. The salt helps it crush and brings out the flavour. We are talking about ¼ tsp salt)
- 50 ml EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar, wine or cider or you can use ½ lemon juice
- ¼ tsp pul biber (red pepper flakes)
- S & P
- Chop about 10cm off the bottom of the spinach stems keeping the ends all joined where the stems meet. Wash these in plenty of water until no grounds of dirt are left lying in the bowl whilst soaking.
- Once clean, throw them into boiling salted water and boil for no longer than 5 minutes. Drain them immediately and then place them on a serving platter.
- Mix together the crushed garlic, oil, vinegar and spices and pour over the warm roots. This salad can be served warm or room temperature. I
- t can also be accompanied by a small bowl of salted, whipped yoghourt.
SPINACH STEMS STIR FRY
Another way to use these delicious spinach stems is to fry them up in a little oil and then steam them after adding garlic and onion. It is very quick and extremely tasty and goes beautifully with a little rice and some yogurt sauce.
- 1 Tbsp chilli oil preferably, otherwise substitute with vegetable oil
- 4 large cloves of garlic minced
- ½ white onion chopped
- Spinach stems roots from 1 kg of spinach
- ½ cup chicken stock or water
- 1 tsp or more red pepper flakes (if not using chilli oil)
- Salt and pepper (if not using chilli oil)
- Heat the chilli oil on a high heat
- Add the minced garlic and onion and stir for 1 minute
- Add the stems and roots, stir around
- Add water or stock
- Cover and leave to simmer gently for 8 minutes or until soft to your liking.
- Add salt and pepper as necessary. Most likely if using chilli oil, none will be needed.
AND HERE ARE A FEW MORE SPINACH STEMS RECIPES…
Another very delicious way to use spinach stems and roots is the popular Antakyan dish where the spinach stems and roots are cooked with chickpeas and optional lamb and then covered in a hot yogurt sauce. It is a flavour combination made in heaven.
Claudia also has a lovely spinach root recipe following on from her Spinach Soup with Yogurt recipe. It is definitely worth having a look at that page which covers both recipes I just mentioned.
Hopefully by now, you feel fully equipped to deal with your spinach stems and roots and the chickens will just have to go scrounging a bit harder elsewhere for their greens.