Monday, August 24, 2015

Trader Joe's Heirloom Red Spinach

My results with this product were mixed. On the good side, it's very pretty, and really punches up the appearance of what might otherwise be a dreary-looking salad. And as spinach, it's entirely fine, even if nothing special in terms of flavor.

On the bad side, this was the last bag on the shelf, and it was nearing its expiration date. It was tired-looking enough that it even caught the cashier's attention. He had somebody go look for a fresher bag, but there were none to be had. I bought it anyway, taking my chances. Perhaps I shouldn't have.

There was a residue of red liquid on the outside of the bag, which stained everything it came into contact with. Inside, at least a quarter of the spinach leaves were blackening and completely dead. It took a long time to sort through them. I mixed what I thought was salvageable with some butter lettuce for an easy salad, and the result was, I thought, very pleasing--except for still finding some wilted spinach leaves even after the initial pick-through.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. I don't blame the store for this one sad bag. After all, I bought it knowing it was already on its last legs, and despite store personnel gently trying to tell me I probably shouldn't. I'd like to try it again when I can get a fresher sample.


I did try it again, and it was much better: tender and flavorful, not limp and dying. My main complaint about the second bag--and I don't yet know if it was an anomaly or pervasive problem--was the large number of spinach stems and twigs left in:

There were lots of these in that bag, not just this one.

Despite that, this spinach tossed with TJ's butter lettuce made for a tasty, pretty, and exceptionally simple salad. Yes, I will buy it again.


  1. I love this but yes the stems are common in every bag.

  2. I saw this stuff. This isn't true spinach (Spinacea oleracea). Instead it's either a red-leaved form of vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) or Orach (Atriplex hortensis). Given the texture, I'm pretty sure it's the former rather than the latter.

  3. it is Atriplex Hortensis...and I just cannot grow enough of this myself...not enough land...i will grow fields of it when i get my land as i simply love it! Sadly Trader Joe's in Monterey, Ca no longer carries it...PEOPLE Just need to be educated about this delicious 'Spinach' it us referred to as Mt. Spinach ....i stumbled upon a bag of its seeds in a arts & craft cooperative boutique store downtown Pacific Grove, Ca in 2013 and Have been growing it ever since....IF ANYONE KNOWS OF ANOTHER STORE THAT CARRIES THIS AMAZING GREEN (IT does come out green as well...) please let me know, i simple cannot grow it fast enough!!!