What’s this? All the way from New Zealand…. Well, not quite. It’s actually a very old heirloom found growing wild in the coastal areas of New Zealand. Today, we grow it on our farm… And we’ve been getting lots of questions about it. So I thought I’d do a little research to find you some answers….
How Does Its Nutrient Content Compare….?
Nutritionally, it’s low in calories and fat, yet high in nutrients. Like regular spinach it’s high in oxalates. You can reduce those levels by boiling the leaves for two to three minutes. Then cool the leaves using cold water, before adding them to recipes. One cup of chopped, fresh leaves of New Zealand is considered one serving. This amount contains just 8 calories, 0.8g of protein, 0.1g of fat, 1.4g of carbohydrates along with 0.8g of fibre. It also has 2,464 IU of vitamin A, 16.8 IU of vitamin C, 32 mg of calcium, 22 mg of magnesium and 16 mg of phosphorous.
How Do You Prepare It?
While the nutrient profile of New Zealand Spinach is similar to regular spinach, it’s also a good substitute for spinach in just about any cooked recipe. It’s good – sauteed, steamed or braised. Or you can simply add the leaves to soups, stews, spaghetti sauce or lasagnas for an extra nutritional boost. While the smaller leaves near the very tips of the plant are good raw, the older, larger leaves tend to become bitter. This is the reason it is generally preferred cooked. If you haven’t tried New Zealand Spinach yet, we hope you will. If you have more than you can use right away, it will keep very well for a week or a little longer in the refrigerator.
Still have more than you can use right away? Here’s How You Can Store it For Later Use
You can chop it up, steam it lightly, drain and pack it into an airtight plastic bag and freeze it for later use. It will keep well, frozen, for several months. Here’s an easy way to get started with New Zealand Spinach…..
Delicious New Zealand Spinach- Sausage Quiche
What you’ll need
tools: medium skillet, an oven, spatulla, mixing bowl, whisk or fork
- 1 frozen deep-dish pastry shell (9” is good)
- ½ lb of pork sausage
- ¼ cup of fresh green onion, chopped
- 1 small clove of garlic, very finely chopped 180g
- (2 small or 1 large Bag Green Hart Farms) New Zealand Spinach, steamed and well-drained
- ½ cup of seasoned stuffing mix
- Black Pepper
- 1 ½ cups Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 ½ cups cream (or use ½ milk and ½ cream)
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 2 T Parmesan cheese, grated
What to do…
1. Take frozen pastry out of the freezer to thaw at room temperature for about 10 minutes (while oven preheats).
2. Preheat the oven to 205C or 400F.
3. Bake the unpricked shell for 7 minutes at 400F. Then set it aside to cool.
4. Take a skillet and cook the sausage, green onion and garlic on medium heat, stirring it occasionally. When cooked, drain the mixture.
5. Cut the sausage into smaller pieces, if you like.
6. Add the steamed New Zealand Spinach, along with the seasoned stuffing, to the sausage mix and stir it in.
7. Sprinkle and mix in a little black pepper to taste (a pinch or two).
8. Take the shredded Monterey Jack cheese and sprinkle it on the inside of the pastry shell.
9. Spread the sausage mixture over the shredded cheese.
10. Using a bowl and whisk, mix together eggs and cream until well-mixed yet not frothy. Pour this mixture over the contents of the pastry shell.
11. Bake 30 minutes at 375F (190C). Sprinkle with a little paprika and the Parmesan cheese. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes until done. Let it stand and cool 10 minutes before serving.
Yields 6 servings.
Did You Know….?
- New Zealand Spinach is not related to regular spinach at all.
- It’s a member of the Aizoaceae or fig-marigold family.
- It’s also commonly known as “sea spinach”, and “Cook’s cabbage”.
- In the 1700’s, Captain Cook’s crew found that the new plant was useful in warding off the symptoms of scurvy. In time they took it aboard the Endeavour and brought it back to England.
- For two centuries, in England, it was the only cultivated vegetable to have originated from New Zealand and Australia.
- It’s a widely accepted spinach substitute at Farmers’ Markets across the southern United States. And now, we grow it! If you’re a member of our veggie box program, you’ll find it on our website. It’s also at our stand at the Cambridge Saturday Farmers’ Market and the Hespeler Village Market. Why not pick some up?