Spinach: Why Earth On?

These days, when you buy fruit and vegetables in a supermarket, they all seem to be scrubbed so totally clean. . .except spinach. What’s with all the dirt and rocks in spinach? What’s so different about spinach? Does it need to carry a security blanket of dirt to subsist a few days in a retail produce department? I don’t know what the Guinness record is for spinach rocks, but I got one once at Safeway that was about 1 x 1/4 x 1/4", but it’s the little stuff that sticks in there. How much can I sue them for if I don’t get all the rocks out before my teeth lose out to them? Did popeye last so long because he ate the stuff out of cans and canners somehow got all the rocks out?

Ray (not a farmer)

Oh man, do I ever hear you! I’ve often wondered why they can’t clean the stuff. I actually stopped using fresh spinach until they brought out the stuff they sell pre-cut and washed in bags.

The only way to adequately clean it seems to be one leaf at a time. I hate that!

Check out leeks! Full of sand. Every recipe I’ve seen, gives cleaning instructions. My favorite is for Leek & Potato(e, in case a former VP is surffing by): First, you take a leek…


Spinach tends to get dirt on it because well, the leaves tend to droop and often touch the ground where they pick up dirt. Leeks get dirt also because the leaves collect any dust and mud that gets splashed onto them. Same thing with celery. Quite a few leafy vegetables end up with dirt in the pockets between the leaves. It’s a fact of life. If you dont like it, but the packaged stuff LOL :slight_smile:

“Let me show you something
that you’ve never seen before
like a light im gonna shine on you
forever is a word i dont often get to say
but if you say it loud enough i’ll say it too”

Ask for “triple washed spinach” it’s extremly clean, it’s what they use for salads, but it’s much more expensive. Genreally things like spinach, leek, mushrooms… are picked and shipped right out because the more they are handled the more they get brusied. And with spinach and the like how big of a deal is it to run it under a little cold water, chances are you were gonna wash it anyways before you eat it.

Formerly known as Nec3f on the AOL SDMB

When I grew spianach my self I had only a little problem that way. Acourse we got this gumbo clay here. Maybe spin. likes sandy, pebbly soil best? Carl, you didn’t finish the recipe. First you take your leek in the pot and… I got a great recipe for Planked Carp if you want it. Never seen one for Leeky Carp though.

It’s also worth noting that the other major leafy vegetables, lettuce and cabbage, come to market in tightly formed heads that blocks sand from getting into the interior. Spinach is comparatively looser and can get dirtier.

Personally, I want to know why the best tomatoes always have dirt on them.

don Jaime
Free the Water Tower 3!

Well, I find Doobieous’ explanation about droopy leaves dubious at best. The gravel, sand and soil is not so much on the leaves, but down between their stems where it’s hard to get out.

Ray (Guess I should turn over a new leaf and grow hydroponic spinach)

You can soak the spinache (or any drty greens) in vengar-water in the sink for a couple of minutes, then put 'em in the other half of the sink and rin cold water over 'em for a couple minutes. It gets 'em clean, and it’s easier than washing each by hand.

Your Quadell

I think there is a company that packages spinach which has been pre-inspected for bugs (inspection for and removal of tiny bugs is required for leafy vegetables in order to be Kosher). If you live in a city with a substantial Jewish community, you might find a store which specializes in Kosher food and they might have that packaged stuff. I’m sure that it would be free of dirt & rocks as well as bugs.

Chaim Mattis Keller

“Sherlock Holmes once said that once you have eliminated the
impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be
the answer. I, however, do not like to eliminate the impossible.
The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it that the merely improbable lacks.”
– Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently, Holistic Detective

As a dedicated cook who uses both spinach and leeks on a regular basis (my “riso verde” is to die for), I can tell you that Doobieous is in fact not quite right. The reason that these plants have dirt wedged so deep inside them is simple: They grow up from under the ground. Particularly in the case of leeks, their basic structure is established before they break through the surface.As the plant grows, the dirt becomes ever more firmly embedded in the vegetable’s interior. That’s why you really have to split a leek in half lengthwise and clean it carefully if you don’t want mud in your food.

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

Mr. John says:

Would that be a fish that couldn’t hold water?

And can it be that in a world so full and busy, the loss
of one weak creature makes a void in any heart, so
wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth
of vast eternity can fill it up!
-Charles Dickens “Dombey and Son”

Just noted that Chef Troy’s specialty:

may be ‘green rice’ in Italian but it comes out ‘green gentle laugh’ in Spanish.