We eat a lot of baby spinach in our house. Recently I asked my 5 year old what his favorite food was and he said “baby spinach, bell peppers, and dessert”. I like to think that he wants to be healthy, eat nutrient-rich food and loves his veggies as much as I do. But it also could be that he’s just been conditioned to eat them before he gets his dessert… either way still makes his mom happy:) But even though we use it daily, I always seem to buy way too much baby spinach and have some in my fridge begging to be used that day or it will turn to that weird, slimy, green mush. Not appetizing. At. All.
To digress for a minute… did you ever notice how when you leave lettuce greens, spinach or cabbage in the fridge for too long it gets that sort slimy texture (almost bubbly sometimes!) and it’s not actually wet but feels like it?. Well, that slime you are seeing is actually a bacteria that starts to grow in the early breaking down stages of vegetables. That slimy material is none other than xanthan gum.
Obviously, scientists have figured out a way to make xanthan gum on a large scale and now, they do it by fermenting the Xanthomonas campestris bacteria with corn sugar and harvesting the weird slime. I would love to know the first person who thought to use this slime. Seriously! When I see it, I just want to toss the spinach away as fast as I can… but some genius scientist decided to dry up that slime and turn it into a powder which we now put in 100s and 1000s and 10,000s of foods where it serves as a stabilizer.
Didn’t know you were getting a science lesson today, huh?
Well, now back to the reason for my post today. My latest trick, and maybe I’m super behind and you all already do this, but to make sure I don’t let that precious baby spinach go to waste, I started making green “ice” cubes. I’m saving that baby spinach from turning into slimy mush (and getting tossed in my trash can) by giving it a quick spin in the blender so it can morph into baby spinach cubes.
And these little green cubes are the easiest way I’ve found to give your smoothie a little Vitamin K boost. Have any baby spinach laying around in your fridge? You should try this out today!
To make your own Green “Ice” Cubes you will need:
3 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons water
Here’s what you do:
Put the spinach leaves in your blender. Give it a few whirs, adding a little water as needed to get things moving. Once the leaves are all pureed (and before the mixture gets too foamy), pour the blended spinach into ice cube trays.
Freeze the spinach for about 4-6 hours and then pop the green spinach ice cubes out of the ice cube that and into ziplock bags. I put 3-4 in each back. These will laast for up to 1 month in the freezer.
When you’re ready to use one, throw 3-4 in your smoothie and blend. Or you can add a few to meat sauce. Or toss them into your soap. Or stir into some lemony risotto. I could go on and on – but you get the idea 😉
Hope you give this a try the next time you have some spinach you need to use up – you will be glad you did!
*For additional information on xanthan gum and more, check out PersonalCareTruth.com – they deliver scientific based information on all sorts of ingredients.