Cool spring weather is the perfect growing environment for spinach (as well as other leafy greens), making May its prime season. Look for bunches that are dark green and crisp with a “spinach-y” scent. Pass by any that have started to yellow, wilt or have dark spots. Spinach sold in bundles (as opposed to bags) tends to be very sandy and will need a thorough washing when you get it home. The best way to do that is to submerge the leaves in a large sink of cold water, swishing them vigorously to send the sand and grit to the bottom of the sink. Let the spinach stand in the water for a few minutes after swishing (to settle the dirt) then dry in a salad spinner or with paper towels. Wrap washed leaves loosely in paper towels then store in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the fridge—the spinach should keep for up to a week like this.
Keep in mind that if you plan to cook the spinach as a side dish, you’ll need a lot more than you think—one pound of fresh spinach cooks down significantly. Fresh leaves make a great base for salads and can be added to soups for wonderful color and fresh flavor.
Often considered more of a garnish, scallions are a quick way to add a mild onion flavor to finished dishes and give them a splash of bright green color. While scallions are available year-round, they’re especially good during the springtime months. We always have a bundle or two of scallions stored in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator—you never know when a dish will benefit from their onion-y flavor and color. From finishing a stir-fry to slicing for a salad or garnishing a simple baked potato, there are countless ways to incorporate scallions into cooking, and we’re always glad to have them on hand.
When buying scallions, look for bundles that have perky green tops, avoiding any that are slimy, wilted, yellowed or dried out. The white bases should be firm with “beards” that are also free from slime. To store, wrap the bundles in lightly damp paper towels and store them in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. They should last for up to a week stored this way.
Generally speaking, new potatoes are just young versions of “regular” potatoes, harvested when they’re tiny, sometimes as small as marbles. The skin on new potatoes is very thin and delicate—it flakes easily, especially on potatoes purchased from growers at farmers’ markets, so for that reason, new potatoes don’t need to be peeled: simply wash them well then boil, steam or roast. If cooking the potatoes whole, try to get ones that are similar in size so they cook at the same rate.
This classic potluck, BBQ and picnic side is popular because it goes well with so many main dishes. We just know you’ll find a new favorite in this collection.
Springtime is the right time to get more spinach in your diet. These ideas prove just how versatile (and tasty!) this leafy green is.
If you’ve never thought of keeping a bunch of scallions (also called green onions) as a staple in your refrigerator crisper, you should! Just a few of them go a long way in terms of flavor, and they add a fresh, oniony taste to a variety of savory dishes.