Risky spinach business

Since the great Spinach Scare of 2006, when was the last time you had some leafy greens? With the cold(er) weather upon us, I had an intense craving for sinigang, a sour Filipino soup that I cook with lots of broccoli and – you guessed it, spinach.

So I ventured into my local Ralphs for some fresh spinach, but apparently business is still bad – there was just one bunch left, and a handful of loose leaves. I took the one bunch and half a handful of the loose leaves and took them home to trim the stems and a good, thorough, leaf-by-leaf washing.

I was never a fan of prewashed, bagged vegetables, so the spinach scare didn’t hurt me too much. I like fresh vegetables that I’ve cut and washed myself. And I suppose my mom’s training of me has helped me in a way. When I was a child, she used to buy vegetables at the Filipino and Asian markets, which like to slather extra mud on vegetables for that freshly-picked-from-the-field appearance. She used to assign the washing of the vegetables to me.

I learned my vegetable washing lesson when I slacked on some spinach for shrimp sinigang (yummmmm…). After giving the spinach a cursory wash, and all the vegetables were added to the stew, and we sat down to eat it, I could hear the grit I missed scraping the bottom of the pot. I cringed everytime someone went in for another helping. From then on, nary a leaf of spinach has escaped my thorough washing, and I’ve caught everything from mud to pebbles and small insects hidden in spinach leaves.

And since I cooked the sinigang Monday night, and have eaten it at least three times since, I think the coast is clear. Go make like Popeye and get your spinach!