Consider a humble little package of frozen chopped spinach, a convenience and a staple in many kitchens, including mine. You might be quite surprised how many cups of fresh spinach it takes to make that 10 ounce brick of frozen. That was the information I was looking for this week.
Our spinach plants are going to seed and it was time to do one last serious pick before pulling them out and getting the space ready for another planting. When picking spinach, especially in the extreme hot weather (95°F) it is important to not use a metal bowl or colander, they will put your freshly picked leaves into immediate wilt that will be hard to revive from. I prefer using a clear plastic “pebble” bowl, sturdy hard plastic bowls I used in my catering business. I snip off the best leaves with scissors, leaving the plant and damaged leaves behind for the mulch pile. Next, I soak the spinach in a clean sink of cold water. I start the process by swishing the leaves around in the sink. I let them sit for a few minutes, the spinach will float to the top, and the dirt and debris will sink to the bottom. Then I gently lift out the leaves and transfer them to a colander. I will repeat the process again to be sure all the dirt is removed. I refrigerated the spinach in the large bowls with some plastic wrap draped over the top.
Now it was time to find ways to use up this bounty. Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrition, low in calories, a rich source of iron, vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, calcium and magnesium. End of the season spinach is still very good, but not necessarily something you would want to use in a salad. So I was on the hunt for recipes with cooked spinach. Frittata, quiche, spanakopita, all good choices but many recipes just call for that ubiquitous ten ounce package of frozen spinach. I needed to find the conversions to take that very large bowl to the amount of cooked spinach I needed.
Spinach is 90% water in composition and when cooked, 1 pound of fresh spinach is equivalent to 10 to 12 cups and will cook down to 1 cup. One 10-ounce package of frozen spinach is the equivalent of 1 1/2 pounds of fresh spinach or about 15-18 cups of spinach. In my pictures you will see a before and after of the spinach. To reduce it, I cooked the spinach in a 10″ sauté pan using just the water that clung to the leaves. Then I drained it thoroughly in a fine mesh colander, squeezed it dry and chopped it roughly.
My efforts paid off. With the spinach I picked, I was able to make all three, frittata, quiche and spanakopita. This quiche can be put together in minutes since the most time consuming part is eliminated, making the crust. I added some sauteed sliced mushrooms and Canadian bacon. In case you didn’t know, American bacon comes from the fatty belly of the pig and Canadian bacon is cut from the loin. Of course a 10 ounce package of frozen spinach can be substituted in this recipe. It makes a nice breakfast or light lunch and reheats well the next day.
Crustless Spinach and Canadian Bacon Quiche
Makes 6-8 servings
- 1c finely chopped onion
- 1c sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1T vegetable oil
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach or 1½c cooked and chopped fresh spinach
- 2/3c finely chopped Canadian bacon
- 5 large eggs
- 3c shredded swiss cheese (other cheeses will work too like cheddar or Monterey Jack)
- 1/8t freshly ground pepper
- In a large skillet, sauté onion and mushrooms in oil until tender.
- Add spinach and ham, cook and stir until the excess moisture is evaporated. Cool slightly.
- Beat eggs, add cheese and mix well. Stir in spinach mixture and season with pepper; blend well.
- Spread evenly into a greased 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish.
- Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.