Spinach

2,938
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Joined Mar 4, 2000
Someone asked me this question today, and I'm not sure if there's an answer:

She asked why it is that sometimes cooked spinach leaves a dry-ish feeling on your teeth (kind of tannic), and other times it doesn't? Is there a chemical in the spinach that makes it that way? She aslo asked what she can add to reduce that sensation. My answer was to probably add fat, which would make it slippery, and hence less detectably dry. Any other insight?
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
According to 12th century writer Ibn-al-Awam, spinach originated in persia.

It's English name was derived from the Aribic word aspanakh ...Ok, sorry...

What your friend is tasting is indeed tannins, as well as very high levels of iron and oxalic acid.

Yes, fats will help to soften this mouth feel, as well as caramelized tomatoes, onions and the like. Veggies that have a good amount of natural sugars, when cooked down enough to reliese them will help.

Also, Try blanching the spinach first (if preparing a hot dish) or soaking in some salted ice water if using raw.

Baby spinach also carries a much lower level of tannin.

Hope this helps
cc
 
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Joined Mar 12, 2001
Now you've got me curious. I always understood that it was the oxalic acid in rhubarb leaves that made them poisonous. Have I got totally the wrong acid, or does spinach maybe have a minute amount?
 
4,508
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
Dear pollg...

You are right about oxalic acid being toxic.

Besides Spinach and Rhubarb, Sorrel and chocolate (yes chocolate) contian oxalic acid.

At large levels, it can become toxic to humans, but our eating pattern does not have us consuming oxalic acids at toxic levels.

I do want to urge anyone reading this, that rhubarb leaves if eaten can in fact deliver a harmful dose...

Please, please, please..do not eat rhubarb leaves.

I hope this helps polly.
cc
 
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Joined May 6, 2001
it decreases the body's ability to absorb iron. So all those people eating spinach because it's so high in iron aren't actually getting as much iron as they think.
 
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Joined Apr 24, 2001
Nor are we getting the calcium. I believe the oxalates formed lock up the iron and calcium in spinach so that our bodies cannot absorb more than trace amounts during digestion. What we do get is lots of fiber. Incidently, my friends and I refer to that gritty chalky feeling as spinach teeth.
 
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Joined Jul 24, 2001
Oh aspanakh. One of the few words, regarding food that they do not have a Greek origin.
Spinach was introduced very late in the gastronomy of Europe. According to Agapius it..ok sorry

Cape Chef thanks for the tip for raw spinach.

From what I have heard and from the posts I have read here, I assume that it must be true that the cartoon " Popaye, The Sailorman" was eating spinach by mistake !!!

The producer of the cartoon ordered a survey on the most rich food in iron . According to the survery lentils was this food but by a mistake of a secretary, Popaye ended up eating spinach , instead of lentils.

After what I read here, it makes sense to me

:)
 
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Joined May 6, 2001
My mother served us spinach all the time (nasty stuff from a can basicaly just heated thru) when we were little. I HATED it. She's a bit miffed that I eat it on a regular basis now. Granted, I wouldn't touch the canned stuff with a 10 foot pole.;)
 
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I love spinach! But rhubarb leaves? Eeeewwww CapeChef....I didn't need a warning on that one!

Hi!

Nancy
 
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Thank you Cape Chef, for your info on oxalic acid. You are, as always, a font of information.
 
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Joined Nov 20, 2000
I don't know what you're talking about CC. I'm having a big bowl of the stuff now and I don..
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