Spinach

In the Garden

There are many varieties of spinach but flat-leaf, savoy, and semi-savoy are the most popular. Spinach is a fast-growing, cool-weather crop. Because hot temperatures and long days can cause spinach to bolt, spinach grows best in Montana during early spring and fall. From seed to harvest, it takes about 6 weeks to grow spinach. That means you can plant a crop in the spring and another one in the fall! Harvest spinach when leaves are green and crisp. Spinach leaves store well in an open plastic bag in the fridge for 5 days. You can also freeze whole leaves in an airtight bag to use in cooked meals year round.

In Your Medicine Cabinet 

Popeye was right about spinach. This humble leafy green is a nutrient-dense powerhouse. Spinach is packed with vitamins A, C, and K; as well as potassium, magnesium, iron, and folate. These vitamins and minerals work together to keep your body healthy and strong. Spinach is also a great source of dietary fiber, which is helpful for gut and digestive health. 

In the Kitchen 

There are an abundance of ways to use spinach in your kitchen. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor can lend itself to a variety of dishes. You can use it raw in smoothies and salads, or cook it in sauces, soups, casseroles, and curries. One of our favorite ways to use this humble but mighty green is in a frittata because eggs and spinach are a match made in heaven.

A frittata is similar to a quiche but doesn’t require the hassle of making a crust. It comes together quickly and all you need are a few staple ingredients. And just like spinach, a frittata is extremely versatile. You can add your favorite veggies and meat to customize it to your liking. Serve this spinach and bacon frittata with some fresh bread for a tasty weekend brunch or quick weeknight dinner!

Spinach & Bacon Frittata

6 large eggs
¼ cup milk, cream, or half & half
2 cups spinach
8 ounces bacon, chopped (or leave out for vegetarian version)
¾ cup shredded cheese, such as fontina, swiss, cheddar, gruyere or a mixture
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Prepare the mixture. Whisk eggs, milk, and salt together. Set aside.
    3. Cook the bacon. Heat a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the bacon is crisp, remove it from the pan and set on a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off the excess grease from the pan but don’t wipe it clean. 
    4. Wilt the spinach. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the spinach and garlic. Continue to stir the mixture so that the garlic does not burn. When the spinach wilts and the garlic is fragrant (about 30 seconds to a minute), add the bacon back to the pan and spread mixture into an even layer. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese evenly over the mixture and allow it to melt for a minute. 
    5. Add in the eggs. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and gently shake the pan to evenly distribute. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup shredded cheese on top. Allow frittata to cook on the stove top for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges just begin to set. 
    6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the center of the frittata is set. Remove from the oven and allow the frittata to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

 

Tracee Hume is a Bozeman-based Communications Coordinator for Abundant Montana. She loves making a mess in her kitchen, but doesn’t love cleaning it up. Send her your favorite recipes at [email protected]!

Abundant Montana is a Program of AERO (Alternative Energy Resources Organization), a 501(c)3 Non-Profit

Mailing address: PO Box 1558, Helena, MT 59624
Physical address: 32 S Ewing St #333, Helena, MT 59601