2/1/10

Spinach

spincratewash  

Ah, the progression of raw materials to the final product. Boss Man ordered a case of spinach, so that we could make this Chickpea & Spinach with Garlic soup that he’d been meaning to make for a while now. While baby spinach (pre-washed, etc.) is delicious, it’s not as hardy as the regular spinach. However, to eat the regular spinach, it’s important to thoroughly clean and inspect the leaves for bugs, dirt, and other foreign materials.

It may seem like a lot of work, but the work flies by when you’ve got a large sink and people to chat to while you’re going at it. First, he started chopping the bottom piece of the spinach, so that the leaves would separate out. While he chopped, he began to fill the sink with water, so that the spinach could be vigorously plunged into the water, and so that the dirt would sink to the bottom.

He washed the leaves thoroughly, being sure to get rid of any large clods of dirt lying in wait. This is why he was careful to separate out the bunches of spinach into individual leaves: when you eliminate hiding places, you remove the problems that come with having oddly shaped vegetables having places where they hide such things.

Finally, when all was said and done, the reason to use the entire sink became apparent. Instead of tipping the water out of a bowl (as you would usually), he lifted the spinach out, and transferred it to a clean sink. You can see how much dirt was left behind in the first washing.

dirt

Now imagine all that dirt running all over your freshly washed spinach. Not a good look. He then ran water into the new sink with the spinach, and let the spinach float up to the top. While they sat in the cold water, he thoroughly washed out the first sink. Again, with the vigorous plunging into the water, and rinsing off the leaves well. Again, with the transferring to the clean sink, and leaving behind the water to drain out, and the dirt to collect in the bottom.

After the second washing he did a third washing to ensure that every last bit of dirt was removed. This  time, he piled the spinach into a colander, to let the excess water drain off. During the final stage, before letting it into the colander, he made sure to inspect the leaves for any stray dirt, bugs, or other debris that could sneak in. It’s a tiny bit of an extra step, but one that’s vital, should you want a meal clear of stuff you hadn’t bargained for. Even one small amount of dirt in a bowl of soup can ruin the experience for everyone, so it’s good to be very careful, and err on the side of caution.

Finally, once the washing is done, the soup came together very quickly, since the chickpeas were boiling away while he was cleaning the spinach. And now there’s a large pot full of chickpea and spinach soup which is calling out to me for … quality control tasting.

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