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Volume 27 Issue 1
May/June 2021

Be a Medical Tourist in Your Own Backyard

Spring Greens – Spinach

Here, Look in the Garden Bed…

Emotional Intelligence: The Ability to Know Ourselves and How to Interact With Others

Let’s Hold Hands and Space Together

Rhythms of Wellbeing

What is Sho-Tai®?

Challenges with Allergies

Editorial

Spring Greens – Spinach
Stacey Tressby Stacey Tress

One of my favourite garden memories from when we lived in Yorkton was when the snow had just melted and with just a little heat on the soil, the spinach would be up. It was always one of our first yard forages, along with baby dandelion greens and asparagus. Spinach is an annual crop here (although originating in the Middle East where wild varieties still grow today) and typically is a heavy seed producer. In the fall, I like to just leave a few of the spinach stalks intact so that it can self-seed for spring harvest.

Things I love about spinach: it is nutritionally valuable, freezes well, it is recipe versatile (cooked lightly it absorbs any seasoning agent and doesn’t impart its flavour to other food), holds its own as a cooked side dish, and is a great addition to a smoothie.

I use spinach fresh or frozen. It’s one of the greens that I’ll buy through the winter as we prefer it over lettuce (and nutritionally speaking, it packs quite a punch). Cut fresh spinach chiffonade and you can add it at the end of cooking rice, couscous, soups/stews, and egg dishes. Spinach freezes well too, I just pick the fresh leaves when they are abundant and bag them up and use all winter/spring.

Spinach contains carotin, vitamin C, calcium, and phosphorus, and is higher in protein than most other vegetables. Spinach does contain large amounts of oxalic acid, so people prone to kidney stones or gallstones are advised to eat spinach sparingly. An Ayurvedic remedy for a chronic cough is to eat spinach soup seasoned with ginger two times a day on an empty stomach. Spinach reduces kapha.


RECIPES


Middle Eastern Moose with Spinach and Dried Fruit

This recipe is adapted from Joy of Cooking’s simple “Casseroled Beef with Fruit.”

Ingredients

The Marinade
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
3 lbs (1.4 kg) moose stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, chopped

Combine spices and rub into the meat. Whisk wine and oil, add garlic and stir into meat, mixing well. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.

Next day, take the meat out an hour before you’re ready to cook and let warm to room temperature. Just before adding meat to the casserole to brown, drain the meat, pat dry, and discard the marinade.

While the meat is coming to room temperature, prepare the dried fruit.

Ingredients

The Dried Fruit
3 cups dried fruit, a mix of prunes, apricots, and apples or pears
2 cups beef stock
Juice and zest of one lemon

Chop the fruit into pieces the size of a nickel, then combine with the stock and lemon and soak until soft, about an hour.

Assemble the Stew
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander
2 lbs spinach, washed (chopped if the leaves are big)

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed, oven-proof casserole over medium-low heat, add the meat in batches and saute briefly until browned. Remove each batch as it is done and reserve on the side. When the meat is all browned, add onion to the casserole, adding more oil if necessary, and saute until softened. Add garlic, saute another couple of minutes, then add spices and stir, so that onion and garlic are thoroughly coated.

Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC). Add the meat back to the casserole along with the fruit and stock mixture. Bring to a simmer, cover, and place in the oven. Cook covered for 2 1/2 hours. Every now and then, check to make sure the liquid has not evaporated, and if necessary, add a bit more stock or a splash of red wine, just enough to produce a small amount of broth but not so much that the meat and fruit start to swim. (The spinach will add more liquid.)

Add spinach and cook for another half-hour and remove from oven. There should be just enough sauce to hold the stew loosely together, but if not, add another splash of red wine, stir, and let cook over medium-low for a couple of minutes.

Serve with quinoa, bulghur, or couscous flavoured with saffron butter.

Saffron Butter

For each cup (250 mL) rice use 1 tbsp butter and 2 or 3 threads of saffron. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, add saffron, cook for a couple of minutes, pour over rice and mix well, fluffing with a fork.

Minty Sweet Spinach Smoothie

1 bunch of spinach
1 sprig of mint
1 pint of strawberries
3 ripe bananas
2 cups water

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Yields 2 quarts of smoothie.

Recipes
Middle Eastern Moose with Spinach and Dried Fruit from The Boreal Gourmet, Adventures in Northern Cooking by Michele Genest
Minty Sweet Spinach from Raw Family Signature Dishes by Victoria Boutenko

References
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood

Stacey Tress has an educational background in Horticulture, Holistic Nutritional Therapy (HNT), and Permaculture Design. She lives in Rhein, SK, with her husband and two daughters. Owner of Garden Therapy Bliss (formerly Garden Therapy Yorkton), she sells culture kits like sourdough, milk kefir, and kombucha. She teaches a variety of workshops including fermentation, offers Permaculture Design, and nutritional consulting across the Prairies. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most services have moved online. To learn more, call 306-641-4239, email stacey.gardentherapy@gmail.com, Facebook “Garden Therapy Bliss” or visit www.gardentherapybliss.ca.

 

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