Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Screaming of the Spinach

Ever since my astute & helpful friend Ron clued me into the easy & delicious method of sauteing baby spinach leaves that had gone "soggy" instead of throwing them out, I've been adding large handfuls of micro-nutrient rich organic baby spinach to breakfast skillets, breakfast omelets, and all sorts of sauteed vegetables, wasting none of what we'd previously been throwing out.  Much more than a 'tip of the hat' to Ron, a tip of the whole fridge to him!
Trader Joe's organic yellow onions, organic red peppers, Horizon organic butter, and Costco organic baby spinach. Yum!

One strange phenomenon that I've noticed in all of this sauteing... is the Screaming of the Spinach.  I melt some organic butter, and get the pan nice and hot, and then add un-chopped baby spinach to the pan, and it literally SCREAMS.  As the heat from the stove transmits through the pan & butter into the cell walls of the baby spinach, the proteins within the plant material rapidly denature & carbohydrates begin to break down into sugars and release gases, all of which start to build up substantial pressures within the quickly collapsing plant structure, and those escaping gases funneled through the un-chopped stems SCREAM in 2 to 4 second long "death throes".  There's the sizzling of the hot liquefied butter, accompanied by very high pitched screams - similar to what you can hear at a camp fire when burning sap-rich pine, and the recently heated gases try to force their way through truncated xylem & phylum with increasing entropy (and exothermic energy and pressure and temperature all building as well).

I'd heard of people saying they could hear "lobsters scream", but it's really just the inner moisture of the lobster whistling & screaming out of small fissures in the exoskeleton.  Similar concept here, except for the fact that the plant wall is breaking down faster than a hardened exoskeleton breaks down.  Both lobsters and baby spinach are delicious after heating, but baby spinach is much cheaper, by a factor of about 500X.  And being in the desert SW, getting local organic spinach is much easier and more practical than fishing for lobster.

Come over and visit some time, and I'll make you saute up some screaming baby spinach for you.  We'll turn down the stereo that Dr Desert Flower often has cranked up so you can hear the spinach scream.  =)


  1. Also gotta love the green color it gets to.

  2. Indeed! That is one of the things that struck me in the photo above. Bright reds on the peppers, brilliant greens on the spinach, delicious light browns on the now-translucent onions.

    Fire, good!


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