Perpertual Spinach or Baby Beets
Perpetual spinach, also called “leaf beet” has a slightly bitter taste but is milder than spinach. Fresh young leaves can be used raw in salads. Mature leaves and stalks are typically cooked or sautéed as their bitterness fades with cooking, leaving a gentler flavour which is more delicate than that of cooked spinach. Perpetual spinach is high in vitamin A and C and dietary fibre.
Storage: Store perpetual spinach loosely in a plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper for about 5 days. Do not wash before storing. Avoid storing cooked spinach as it does not keep very well.
General Use: Perpetual spinach should be washed very well before use. Trim off the roots and separate the leaves to wash. Blanched perpetual spinach can be frozen for later use.
Salad: In a small jar mix runny honey, rice wine vinegar, finely grated lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper until combined. Mix a variety of young leaves including perpetual spinach, endive, red beet, chicory, red Russian kale, cos or freckles lettuce and rocket in a large bowl. Add your favourite fresh herbs and pour over the dressing.
Sautéed: In wok heat olive oil and add chopped garlic and sauté until golden. Add perpetual spinach, sea salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
Stir Fried: Wash the stems and leaves, cut the stems into manageable pieces and then cook slowly in a generous splash of olive oil and a little chopped garlic. As the stems begin to soften add the chopped leaves and season generously with sea salt and pepper. A squeeze of fresh lemon works wonders here just prior to serving.
Braised: Fry chopped onions, garlic, ginger, turmeric, sea salt and pepper in olive oil. Shred the spinach and add. Put on the lid and cook for 30 minutes or until liquid absorbed.
Baked: Chop perpetual spinach, onion, bread, bacon, strong cheese and mushrooms in a food processor. Add eggs and mix through. Pat into round cakes and coat with flour. Bake in the oven until browned.