Leaf spinach usually becomes available in the Spring in the UK. It is nutritious and versatile with a distinct flavour.
Don’t wash spinach until you are going to use it but store it, loosely wrapped, in the fridge until you need it.
The downside is that spinach is usually quite muddy and so needs lots of careful washing – the slightest bit of grit will spoil the eating experience. Remove the tough stalks and wash the leaves in plenty of water until you are sure they are clean – you will need to change the water at least twice but probably three times.
Cook older, larger leaves in their own steam in a covered pan over low heat and let them wilt for a few minutes. Add a little salt, freshly ground black pepper or freshly grated nutmeg before eating.
Use young leaves raw and washed as above, in salads or cut them into fine shreds and stir them into hot foods like risottos, soups or stews or layer them in a lasagne. There are lots of uses for cooked leaves – with poached eggs, bacon, or smoked haddock for example.
If you have lots of spinach, cook it as above, then divide and pile individual portions into a muffin tin. Put the tin in the freezer until the spinach is frozen (about 2 hours) then use a blunt knife to pop the individual spinach portions out of the tin and into a bag and put the sealed and labelled bag back in the freezer. The spinach portions will remain separate, rather than form a large spinach ice block, and so will be easy to use as you need them.