The etiquette rules on how to serve and eat spinach. Tips to be the ideal host or the perfect guest and avoid any embarrassment.

What spinach etiquette is

Spinach etiquette is the set of rules to properly serve and eat spinach. Such rules help avoid behaviors that can disrespect your hosts or guests, or make you look unpolite.

If you are hosting, follow the etiquette to serve spinach to your guests appropriately.

As a guest, respect the etiquette rules to properly eat spinach at the dining table and avoid offending your hosts or embarrassing yourself.

how to serve and eat spinach

What you should know about spinach

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable.

Spinach leaves are green in color and tender in texture. Their taste is mild and slightly sweet.

Etiquette rules to serve and eat spinach

1) How to store spinach

You can store spinach in the pantry at room temperature. Keep it in a dry and cool place, away from sources of heat and direct light. If you keep spinach outside of the fridge, you should eat them within 1 day.

However, it is best to keep spinach in the fridge. The ideal temperature for storing spinach is between 0°C and 4°C (32°F and 40°F). Store them in a perforated plastic bag. They will last for up to 5 days.

It is possible to freeze spinach. You can freeze them raw or cooked. Frozen spinach can last for up to 8 months.

Store cooked spinach in the fridge. Place them in an airtight container. They will last for up to 3 days.

2) How to clean spinach

To clean spinach, place them in a bowl of cold water. Wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Rinse them under cold running water. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen cloth or with paper towels.

Signs that spinach has gone bad include yellowing leaves, a slimy texture, or a sour smell. You should discard rotten leaves.

3) How to cook spinach

You can serve and eat spinach raw or cooked.

Raw spinach is a common ingredient in salads and sandwiches. Cooked spinach is a versatile ingredient for a wide variety of dishes. The most common ways to cook spinach include sautéing, boiling, or steaming. You can also add spinach to soups and stews. Popular dishes with spinach include quiches, stuffed chicken, and spinach lasagna.

4) How to serve & present spinach

Spinach is appropriate for any occasion. You can serve them at formal or informal meals. They are most common at lunch and dinner, while they are unusual for breakfast and as a snack.

You can serve spinach as a side dish or complement. Before serving it, make sure that the spinach is clean and free of any dirt or debris. The ideal serving temperature depends on the recipe. Typically, it is best to serve spinach at a slightly cool or room temperature.

Serve cooked spinach in a serving shallow bowl or on a serving plate. Raw spinach should go in a salad bowl. Present them with serving utensils.

Accompany spinach with seasonings, such as olive oil, salt, and lemon juice.

5) Food and wine to pair spinach with

Spinach pairs well with a variety of flavors, such as garlic, lemon, and nutmeg. It also goes well with vegetables like tomatoes and mushrooms.

You can serve spinach to accompany meat, such as chicken or hamburger. Spinach can go well with many fish, such as salmon or branzino. Cooked spinach can accompany eggs too.

It is best to avoid pairing spinach with strong flavors that may overpower its mild taste. In particular, avoid spicy or overly acidic dishes. Raw spinach does not match well with dairy and cheese.

Spinach pairs well with light and crisp white wines. Such as Pinot Grigio, Gewürztraminer, or Sauvignon Blanc. It is best to avoid pairing spinach with heavy and full-bodied red wines.

6) How to eat spinach

The most polite etiquette for eating spinach is to use a fork and knife. Use the knife to cut spinach into bite-sized pieces. Eating spinach with your fingers is generally impolite. You can eat the whole spinach leaf including the stem.

Spinach etiquette: the worst mistakes

The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors. 

A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. Read more about the Rude Index and its methodology here.  

Avoid the most common spinach etiquette mistakes:

  • 9/10. Serving spinach that has gone bad.
  • 8/10. Serving spinach that is not clean and free of dirt and debris

Additional information for properly serving spinach

How many calories per serving?

Counting calories is important to stay healthy and correctly plan a menu.

Raw spinach contains about 23 calories per 100 grams, while a single leaf contains only a few calories. An individual serving of cooked spinach contains around 41 calories.

How to buy the best spinach

A crucial factor in spinach etiquette is serving your guests the best product possible.

Season and availability 

Spinach is typically in season from March to May and in the fall.

Choose the best

Spinach can be found in commerce in various forms. The most common ones are fresh, canned, frozen, or dehydrated.

The most popular varieties of spinach in commerce are savoy spinach, flat-leaf spinach, and baby spinach. Baby spinach is perhaps the most prized variety due to its small leaves, tender texture, and delicate flavor.

When buying spinach, look for leaves that are crisp in texture and bright green in color. Avoid spinach leaves that are moldy, saggy, or yellowing.

Alternatives to spinach

As a substitute for spinach, try other leaves such as arugula or butterhead lettuce.