Tuesday 31 May 2011

Perpetual Spinach

I harvested the first of my Perpetual Spinach a couple of days ago. I grow this variety of Spinach (which is somewhat similar to Swiss Chard) because it is more tolerant of dry soils. I find that the traditional types of spinach always bolt before I get much of a crop. In the UK we have had an exceptionally dry Spring and the soil is really parched, so this year the Perpetual Spinach is even more relevant than normal.

Chard on the left, Perpetual Spinach on the right
Anyway, I judged that the time was right to take the first few leaves from my young plants. They look bright green, almost yellow, in contrast to the much darker green Swiss Chard. And the individual leaves are much bigger than most types of spinach. You can eat small leaves raw if you like, but the big ones need cooking.

Bright green Perpetual Spinach next to the grey-green "Duncan" cabbages

Jane doesn't like Spinach, so I only picked enough for one serving.

This may look like a lot, but when you cook it it shrinks a LOT. The leaves in my picture went down to about two tablespoonsful. Of course, when I say "cook" what I actually mean is "wilt". Here's a recipe for you...

  • Remove and discard the stalks from the spinach leaves
  • Wash the leaves thoroughly, and tear them into smallish pieces
  • Put the wet leaves into a big saucepan, along with about 1 tablespoonful of water
  • Heat the pan very gently until the spinach has wilted (it goes very dark green)
  • Don't heat the pan too fiercely or the spinach will turn brown and go bitter
  • When the spinach is thoroughly wilted (5 mins?) drain it in a colander and then squeeze it very firmly with the back of a spoon to extract as much moisture as possible.

Serving suggestion:
Serve the warm spinach with a poached egg on top, seasoned with lots of freshly-ground black pepper, and accompanied by some buttered toast.


  1. I have no luck with spinach in my garden and I don't know why. I love to eat just with oil and lemon, it's so good.
    I don't know what you do in your garden, but they look fantastic.

  2. Lovely! We're growing spinach this year for the first time - the normal variety - and already we've had a surprising amount of pickings of baby leaves, and one fine meal of mature leaves from my first sowing. My husband is not a fan either, so I wilted it in a pan with a slightly indulgent teaspoonful of butter all for myself. Wonderful!
    We have ruby chard coming, but I keep meaning to try perpetual spinach too, it sounds like such a good idea.

  3. We ate spinach from the garden last night. So good! I don't have perpetual spinach though.

  4. Good tips, I've perpetual spinach growing as well; just hope the slugs don't get to them. Your salads in previous post looks amazing, so many varieties. I've been having alot of probs with blogger and haven't been able to comment recently. Kelli

  5. What about the olive oil, garlic and cumin!
    Nothing better than spinach / chard with a poached egg! mmmmm

  6. I can't believe that I didn't like spinach and silver beet when I was a child...love it now...on it's own, sauted with garlic and a bit of soy sauce, in stir fries, and as Phoebe says, with a poached egg...yum!

  7. The only way I know how to prepare English spinach is to saute garlic and butter then fried the spinach with it. It is interesting to learn other ways to cook it as it is different vegetable from what I use to have in my childhood.

  8. What lovely, fresh spinach. The spinach in my garden is a favourite. It's been through several rounds of harvest and still shows no signs of ageing.
    Nutmeg and spinach go very well.

  9. We're still eating last year's perpetual spinach...which is perhaps as well really because the dry spring has really slowed up this year's crop!

    Our favourite spinach based meal (but it's a very high 'panage' meal) is bacon or gammon topped with plenty of spinach, topped with cheese sauce,topped with a poached egg - but it takes longer to clean all the pans than it does to scoff it! :)

  10. I prefer growing perpetual and Swiss chard, more than the traditional spinach. Actually I still have some of both still growing from last year. Its survived the tough winter too.

  11. I sowed 'normal' spinach on my allotment and something ate all the seedlings so I've sown some in the greenhouse in the hope they'll survive better in there till they're big enough for the plot.
    Never tried the Perpetual kind though, perhaps I'll give them a go too :)


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