What a relief that spring seems to be properly here now and with it, we’ve been doing mass sowing and today, in the sun, it’s the turn of the salads to look good. They’ve all germinated well, direct sown in our greenhouse beds, or sown into gutters, ready to be transplanted onto the south-facing bank outside. It’s still truly cold in the wind and out of the sun, but all the things we’ve sown are hardy annuals, so they’ll be fine whatever the weather does to us now.
I’m so pleased with our Spinach ‘Medania’. That’s looking as lush as a cabbage, and its truly delicious, eaten ripped raw into a mixed leaf salad, or wilted in a tablespoon of Tamari and cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Spinach is one of the vegetables which is shown in tests, again and again, to carry the highest pesticide load when conventionally grown, so it’s advisable to buy organic, or better still, grow your own. At this time of year, that’s dead easy to do. It loves it quite cool, but not too wet, so now is exactly the time.
It’s super good for us too. As I’ve just found out while researching stuff for my new book, spinach is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. As we all know, it’s a good source of iron, and so improves the quality of our blood, and it’s packed with vitamin K, the bone-protecting vitamin, and the mineral calcium, both of which help to prevent osteoporosis. That’s a good thing for all of us, but particularly women of advancing age…..
Its dark green leaves also contain lots of chlorophyll, as well as the carotenoid lutein. This is especially important for healthy eyes, helping to prevent macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of sight loss in the elderly, so — there’s plenty of reasons to eat plenty of it. There is one downside: it is high in oxalates, so avoid eating large amounts if you have a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones or gall bladder problems.
As well as spinach, our bed of mixed mustards are starting to look and taste good, as are our two tip-top lettuces, excellent for this time of year, ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ and the dark-leaved ‘Solix’.
With those four ingredients to pick on your doorstep for a salad, who could want more? Just top them with dry-fried pumpkin seeds and a few finely sliced radish.
Thanks for reading!