FoodLink - Purdue Extension


Spinacia oleracea
Available from January to December


Savoy, flat or smooth leaf, semi-savoy.



This video demonstrates tips for cutting spinach.

Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked. Remove any large, tough stems from the leaves. Fill up a bowl or sink with lukewarm water and soak the leaves for several minutes to remove dirt. Drain the water and rinse under a stream of cold water. Lay the leaves on a paper towel to remove excess water.

Raw: Spinach leaves make a great salad. Leave the leaves whole or tear them into smaller pieces. You can add spinach leaves to hot soups, pastas, and stews right before serving; they will wilt and add lovely color and flavor.

Sauté: Heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet, and add garlic to taste. Simmer. Add the spinach  and toss until coated in oil, turning or flipping often. Cover the pan with a lid and let sit for 1 minute, remove the lid, toss spinach, and cover for 1 minute. Drain any moisture, add seasonings, and serve.

Steam: Fill a pan with about 2 inches of water and place the steamer basket inside. Bring to a boil and add the spinach. Cover the pan and reduce to a simmer. Steam for about 2 minutes or until wilted. Place spinach in a serving bowl and toss with lemon, oil, and salt to taste.

Microwave: Place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water and cover. Cook at 1 minute intervals until completely wilted.


Short-Term Storage

Store spinach leaves in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel for up to 4 to 5 days. If being used for a cooked dish, you can steam or microwave it upon returning from market, but make sure to cool it thoroughly in cold water and squeeze it dry. This method takes up much less space in the refrigerator and will make meal prep easier later.

Long-Term Storage

Spinach can be frozen for up to 5 months.

Learn more about freezing vegetables.

Quick Fact Sources

Spinach was first cultivated over 2,000 years ago in Iran. When grown in cold temperatures, sugars build up in the leaves and spinach tastes surprisingly sweet!


Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 Cup (30g)







% Daily Value

Total Calories









Dietary Fiber



Total Sugars



Total Fat



Saturated Fat













 30 mg






 1 mg








Vitamin A

 141 ug


Vitamin C

 8 mg








Food Safety Tips

Always keep fresh produce away from raw meat and raw meat juices to avoid cross-contamination.

Follow the safe food guidelines for all fresh produce.

Related Resources

Spinach is related to beets and chard and is more commonly grown as an early season vegetable in Indiana. It can tolerate temperatures to 20°F. In southern Indiana, fall plantings may survive the winter and be harvested early the next spring.

There are two types of spinach: one with flat leaves, the other with crinkly leaves (savoy type).

Flat leaf varieties are grown commercially because they are easy to clean. Home gardeners
often grow the savoy type. Spinach bolts (begins flowering) in hot weather. “Longstanding” types
are slower to bolt and are favored for spring plantings.

Spinach is hard to transplant, so place seeds directly into the garden. You can plant very early, 6
weeks before average last frost date, and continue planting every 2 weeks until the average last
frost date, perhaps a bit longer in northern Indiana. Plant repeatedly for a continual harvest
since the whole plant is usually harvested, though you can pick just the outer leaves. Seeds
germinate in 1-2 weeks depending on soil temperature. If you are harvesting the whole plant, you do not need to thin. Spacing within a wide row is 4x4 inches. Spinach is somewhat tolerant of shade, especially in warm weather.

QR Code

Scan the QR code below to view this page on your mobile device.