Any spinach needs the right harvest! Preservation instructions and tips
It is important not only to grow the harvest of any garden and vegetable garden, but also to harvest it correctly, in a timely manner, so that the efforts spent on growing plants are not wasted, all their useful and taste qualities are not lost on the way, but get on our dinner table. For example, popular and healthy spinach. What rules and features of harvesting this culture do you need to know so that its greens really help restore our vitality and raise the general tone of the body?
When to harvest spinach
Timely harvested spinach is fresh and juicy greens with a huge range of valuable vitamins, mineral salts and other usefulness. This is a huge number of the most interesting, delicious dishes that can be served even to the royal table. But if you are late in harvesting, then the plant will stop, its leaves will coarsen, become tasteless, fibrous. From such spinach, no one, even the most wonderful, can prepare a delicious salad, omelet or puree soup.
You can pluck the leaves as soon as the plant has 5–6 full-fledged leaves. This usually happens 30–40 days after germination. This period depends on the variety and weather conditions. If the spinach is planted before winter, then you will collect the early greens in the first half of May. Early spring planting will yield a crop a little later, by the end of May. Having planted a crop in late spring and early summer, you can harvest the crop until September. And sowing in August will provide you with fresh greens in October.
Spinach, in addition to its taste and nutritional qualities, is valuable for early maturity: its technical maturity occurs 2 months after sowing the seeds.
These are the general rules and terms for harvesting crops. When cutting spinach leaves, you should pay attention to some of the nuances of harvesting, which will not only preserve high-quality greens, but also prolong the fruiting period of the crop:
- cleaning is recommended in the morning after the dew has subsided. At this time, the spinach leaves are well hydrated and cooled. Greens harvested during the day can quickly fade and lose their juiciness;
- greens should not be removed immediately after watering or rain. Leaves saturated with moisture are very fragile, break easily, can rot, rot and deteriorate, so it will be difficult to transport or store them without loss;
- cutting is best done on the day the product is consumed or sold, since fresh spinach leaves are not subject to long-term storage;
- spinach is harvested in several steps, as the plants grow and new leaves are formed, up to the period of mass shooting.
When choosing the timing of harvesting, it is important to remember that the collection of crop leaves is limited to 10-15 days. After the appearance of peduncles, spinach leaves will become tasteless, tough.
Spinach is used only up to the moment of shooting, since then its leaves become coarse, bitter
How to harvest spinach correctly
There are two ways to harvest spinach:
Selective harvesting is picking a small amount of greenery as needed. The larger outer leaves are harvested first. They should be broken off, not torn off the stem. No more than half of the leaves can be removed from one plant. Selective harvesting allows you to extend the collection period and end it at the beginning of the shooting.
Selective harvesting can be combined with thinning to increase plant spacing
Continuous harvesting involves pulling or cutting the plant at the level of the lower leaves. If the plant is uprooted from the ground, then it is necessary to shake it off, remove yellow, damaged, contaminated leaves.
Spinach, harvested by the root, keeps better and longer than leaves plucked separately
The standard for spinach greens is young, healthy, clean, juicy leaves without damage, flowering stems and weeds. The collected greens must be dry!
The harvested plants are placed in a basket or box with the roots (petioles) down. Spinach will handle transportation better if the container is covered, or if there is ice in the boxes with the plants.
During transportation, the boxes are covered with foil, since spinach leaves quickly lose their market value.
How to store greens correctly
The most beneficial are freshly harvested spinach leaves. They contain a full set of useful elements. If the greens need to be stored for some time, then the collected clean leaves are wrapped in a damp towel and sent to a vegetable container. Spinach stored in this way must be consumed within 2 days. Other ways to store spinach:
- Put clean, carefully sorted leaves into a food container, fill them with cold water and place the tray on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. If you change the water in the container daily, then the spinach retains its freshness and nutritional value for a week;
- dry clean greens of spinach are tightly wrapped with cling film and put in the refrigerator. In such a package, spinach remains juicy and tasty for up to a month.
To increase the shelf life of greens up to a month, simply wrap them with cling film.
If you need a longer storage, greens can be frozen, dried or preserved. With the correct setting and following the storage rules, these methods will allow you to preserve the beneficial properties of spinach for several months.
Freezing is carried out in various ways. Here is one of them:
- Rinse spinach leaves and cut into small strips (about 1 cm).
It is recommended to cut the greens into small strips before freezing.
- Blanch the prepared herbs for 1-1.5 minutes in boiling water.
- Let the water drain, cool.
The spinach is blanched and then cooled
- Arrange the blanched greens in a portioned plastic container or form portioned cakes from it by placing them in plastic bags.
- To freeze.
Spinach perfectly retains all its properties when frozen, which allows you to use it at any time of the year
Please note: the product cannot be re-frozen, therefore it should be frozen in portions.
Frozen spinach can be stored for up to 6 months without losing its beneficial qualities. Before using it, you don't even need to completely defrost it, just soften it a little. Frozen greens can be used to make soups, vegetable side dishes and stews, salads, omelets, sauces.
Video: 2 ways to freeze spinach
To prepare it for 1 kg of green leaves, you will need about 100 g of salt:
- Greens are washed, thick stalks are cut off, allowed to dry.
- Dry leaves are folded in layers in washed jars, sprinkling each layer with salt, tamping slightly or keeping under oppression.
- As the leaves settle, new salted layers of greenery are added.
- The filled jar is closed with a lid and stored in the refrigerator.
Salting is a way to preserve spinach leaves until next season.
It is very convenient and easy to store dried spinach. The procedure can be carried out in an oven or electric dryer. It is important that the drying process takes place at a temperature not higher than + 30-35 degrees.
The thermostat of the electric dryer will allow you to set the required temperature
If drying spinach leaves is carried out in a natural mode, then it is important to carry out the procedure in a dry, well-ventilated, shaded place and periodically turn the leaves.
It is necessary to store dried leaves in a glass container under a lid.
You can preserve spinach with whole or cut leaves, separately or with the addition of sorrel, which gives future dishes a slight sourness and piquant taste. For canning, prepared spinach leaves must be blanched in hot water for five minutes and then tightly packed into jars. The released liquid is drained, and salted boiling brine (50 g of salt per 1 liter of water) is poured in its place. After that, the banks are sealed.
Canned spinach has nearly the same health benefits as fresh plant greens
Dried, canned and frozen spinach can be purchased in the retail network and used to prepare various dishes, but it is much safer to make such blanks yourself.
So that the efforts spent on growing magical spinach leaves are not wasted, do not neglect the rules of harvesting the plant, spend a little time organizing the storage of the greens of this wonderful culture and you will provide yourself with spinach delicacies for a whole year.
My name is Ludmila. Higher education, graduated from the Minsk Institute of Culture. I live in Belarus.
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When to harvest spinach
Spinach is not as popular among garden plants as, for example, sorrel or radish, but its beneficial qualities are great, so it is worth paying attention to those who care about their health.
After all, spinach is a storehouse of vitamins and minerals.
- Spinach is rich in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins C, B, carotene.
- Spinach leaves contain spinach-secretin, which has a beneficial effect on the stomach and pancreas.
- Spinach leaves are rich in iron, chlorophyll and folic acid, therefore it has a beneficial effect on the circulatory system.
- Spinach has a laxative effect, for which it received the nickname "stomach broom".
But there are contraindications... Due to the large amount of oxalic acid, spinach should not be consumed by people with impaired uric acid metabolism, as well as by the elderly.
Spinach is an early ripening crop, and in early spring you can get a good harvest of vitamin greens. But this was not the end of his valuable qualities.
Under favorable conditions the spinach crop can be harvested several times throughout the year... But for this you need to know some of the features of its cultivation and care for it.
- Spinach loves soil rich in fertilizers, so in the fall, the area prepared for sowing this vegetable is fertilized with manure. This should not be done in the spring, as the taste of spinach from such an additive will significantly deteriorate. Also, spinach responds well to nitrogen fertilization of the soil.
- Spinach is a very moisture-loving plant. With poor watering, spinach leaves will be tough and tasteless.
- Spinach, like mimosa, does not like to be touched often. If you touch it less during growth, then the leaves will be much softer and tastier.
- To harvest during the spring, summer and fall, spinach seeds are sown at intervals of two to three weeks.
- But in summer it is very difficult to get a high-quality harvest due to the high temperature and minimal amount of rain, so at such a time the spinach is watered especially carefully: at least 20 liters of water per week per 1 m2.
- To get the harvest already in April, they use winter spinach, which is planted in August-September. In October, the formed rosettes are sheltered from the cold, constructing shelters over them, and they winter safely under the snow. And already in early spring (in April), when the earth is filled with moisture, they quickly grow back. But this method is suitable only for areas with a mild climate and relatively warm winters.
Spinach loves light soils, but at the same time, rich in nutrients. On sandy loam soil, it grows weakly, so the ideal option is black soil. If your plot is poor but light, try adding compost to the furrows and stirring it with the soil before sowing. In such a nutrient mixture, greens will grow well.
When considering planting, you also need to find the right place for the greenery. Spinach grows best in open sunny areas - in the shade, the leaves develop poorly and all the plant's strength goes to the stem.
It will also not be superfluous to prepare additional material for the bed with spinach - spunbond. White is useful for protecting the sprouts from the cold (they should cover the garden immediately after sowing the seeds and do not remove until the sprouts are 5 cm in height). And black will help reduce the amount of light if you are sowing spinach in the summer (this plant loves short daylight hours, so after 10 hours of light, the garden should be covered with dark material).