Spinach is a leafy green of the dark variety that is usually added in salads or mixed in other dishes. Spinach originates from central and southwestern Asia but can now be grown almost anywhere around the world. The plant’s flowers are not very noticeable, forming small clusters that contain many seeds, on short stalks just under 11 inches tall. This plant can survive in cold winter conditions.
How much does spinach cost?
Loose, organic baby spinach will usually cost around $7 to $11 per one pound or 16-ounce batch. In contrast, a “bunch” of spinach can be found at the local grocery stores or farmer’s markets for anywhere from $2 to $5.50 and can usually weigh about five ounces.
Loose spinach that is not organic will typically sell for about $3 to $5 per pound. A bag of washed and processed baby spinach can cost anywhere from $2 and up, depending on the size or weight. Organic produce tends to be more expensive than conventional vegetables at around $1 extra per eight ounces.
Spinach can be found in many forms, including frozen and chopped. Frozen spinach is best used when cooking or baking into something as opposed to fresh whole leaves which are better suited for salads. Prices on a box of eight ounces may vary from $1-$3 depending on what brand you buy.
Trader Joe’s offers a six-ounce bag of organic baby spinach that sells for $2.50 per bag, while Walmart’s store-branded 10-ounce bags retail for close to $3 per bag.
You can find a variety of spinach at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Some will be packaged in plastic bags with snap-on lids, and others may just be loose for you to take as much as you need, similar to any other produce. It will usually be labeled as organic by the USDA if it is already processed, and even though it will usually be prewashed, it isn’t a bad idea to also wash it before cooking, just to stay on the safe side.
Three different types of spinach can be found at your local grocery store: Savoy, flat or smooth, and semi-savoy. Of these three varieties, savoys are the most common type sold fresh in markets. They can be identified by their dark green color with a crinkled texture. Flat or smooth spinach on the hand has smoother leaves so it’s often used as a frozen product instead. The flat type is also easier to clean than other kinds, due to its smooth surface.
The last type of spinach you may not know about is semi-savoy, which has leaves that have a little bit more crinkles than smooth leafed varieties but are still easier to clean than their savoy counterpart, which means they are right in the middle between the other two types. Spinach is the original superfood. Full of beta-carotene and vitamins A, C, and K, spinach has been in our diet since ancient times.
Important things to consider
There are many factors that will determine the shelf life of spinach. Fresh unopened spinach can last close to seven days if it is refrigerated, while opened but not refrigerated it could only be good for about five days. To know if your greens have gone bad you should always smell them and check out their color because they may turn darker in color or become more unpleasant smelling when going rancid. It’s also important to refrigerate spinach as soon as possible and only store it for short periods of time. It’s always better to wash the leaves of the spinach only right before you intend to eat it to have it last longer.
Any way to save some money?
If you’re buying spinach frozen or by the bag, consider going to the store-branded options.
Many major brands offer coupons online and in stores so it’s worth checking out their prices before purchasing something.
Farmers’ markets are a great way to save money and get fresh, healthy food. I’ll admit that it does take more time but the convenience of going directly from the farmer’s stall or stand makes this worth every penny saved. Plus, you’re almost sure to get the freshest produce possible, directly from the fields of farmers.
If you consider buying in bulk at wholesale clubs such as Costco or Sam’s Club for instance, where 16-ounce containers can retail anywhere between $3-$4, then you are sure to get the best deals.