One of my favorite varieties of spinach is just now ready for harvest here in mid March. ‘Giant Winter’ spinach (aka ‘Gigante d’Inverno’) is a lovely open pollinated heirloom Italian variety that was selected for its cold hardiness as well as its large, tender semi-savoyed leaves.
In my garden, ‘Giant Winter’ is a dependable performer for planting in fall and overwintering for early spring harvests. I like to cover it with a cold frame, which increases the odds of me harvesting those lovely green leaves as early as possible. The cold frame also keeps the wind and weather off the leaves, keeping them tender and free of wind and frost burn.
Last fall I planted the seeds in mid-October, which gave the plants time to size up a little before short days and cold weather arrived. ‘Giant Winter’ also does well for extra early spring plantings, and I just now planted a little more this week. The spring planting will extend the harvest for a few weeks after the overwintered plants start bolting. The season for fresh spinach here is pretty short, and I like to keep the harvest going for as long as possible.
The leaves of ‘Giant Winter’ get quite large, bigger than my hand when full sized. But they stay tender and mild tasting, and are good for salads as well as for cooking. Spinach is one of my favorite greens in the kitchen, where it can star in frittatas and pasta dishes as well as go on a pizza or in some fresh made spinach noodles. One of the easiest ways to prepare it is to quickly saute it in a little butter. It also freezes well, and the frozen spinach can be used in many of the same dishes I just mentioned.
But my favorite spinach dish has to be spinach salad. My recipe for Wilted Spinach Salad is one of my favorites, and something I enjoy every spring when fresh spinach is available from the garden. This time I prepared it with strawberries instead of oranges. It was a nice treat for my lunch earlier this week, and I enjoyed every bite of it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Saturday Spotlight, and I’ll be back soon with another variety. Until then, Happy Growing from Happy Acres!
To see my other Saturday Spotlights, visit the Variety Spotlights page.