Easy, tasty spinach quiche

Easy Spin­ach Quiche

Many con­sumers are con­fused about the nu­tri­tion­al qual­ity of or­gan­ics versus con­ven­tion­ally grown foods. The Amer­ic­an Academy of Pe­di­at­rics re­cently weighed in on the im­port­ance of or­gan­ic food for chil­dren, set­ting off a firestorm.

   The AAP re­leased a re­port in Oc­to­ber stat­ing that: “Cur­rent evid­ence does not sup­port any mean­ing­ful nu­tri­tion­al be­ne­fits or de­fi­cits from eat­ing or­gan­ic com­pared with con­ven­tion­ally grown foods, and there are no well-powered hu­man stud­ies that dir­ectly demon­strate health be­ne­fits or dis­ease pro­tec­tion as a res­ult of con­sum­ing an or­gan­ic diet.”

   It ap­pears that the con­fu­sion in the  minds of many con­sumers about the nu­tri­tion­al be­ne­fits of or­gan­ics is linked to the use, or lack there­of, of pesti­cides. Con­ven­tion­al food pro­du­cers ar­gue that pesti­cide residue is re­duced sub­stan­tially by routine and safe food hand­ling prac­tices such as wash­ing, peel­ing and cook­ing, and that there is no sig­ni­fic­ant dif­fer­ence in the nu­tri­tion­al qual­ity of or­gan­ic and con­ven­tion­ally grown foods.

   The lower pesti­cide levels in or­gan­ic foods do not im­pact the foods’ nu­tri­tion­al levels. In con­trast, high­er pesti­cide levels in con­ven­tion­al foods do not im­pact nu­tri­tion­al levels either. Even so, the amount of man-made pesti­cide residues found in con­ven­tion­al foods is still well be­low the level that the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency has deemed un­safe. The real is­sue is wheth­er these small doses, mul­ti­plied over years and dec­ades, might even­tu­ally add up to an in­creased health risk.   

   Dr. Mehmet Oz, a heart sur­geon and tele­vi­sion host, wrote about the sub­ject in a re­cent Time magazine art­icle en­titled “What to Eat Now, The Anti-Food-Snob Diet.” Dr. Oz stated that “nu­tri­tion­ally speak­ing, there is little dif­fer­ence between the farm­er’s mar­ket bounty and the humble brick (of frozen food) from the freez­er case. It’s true for many oth­er su­per­mar­ket foods, too.”

   Ad­vances in the frozen-food in­dustry — from pack­aging to tech­niques like high-pres­sure flash-freez­ing and freez­ing peeled, blanched and steamed foods — has im­proved the qual­ity of frozen pro­duce and products, and im­proved the re­ten­tion of their vit­am­in con­tent. Some food man­u­fac­tur­ers freeze and pack­age the har­ves­ted pro­duce im­me­di­ately and on-site, thereby in­creas­ing both qual­ity and pre­ser­va­tion of nu­tri­ents.

   In a study pub­lished in the Journ­al of the Sci­ence of Food and Ag­ri­cul­ture in 2007, Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia-Dav­is re­search­ers re­viewed the vari­able nu­tri­ent con­tent of fresh, frozen and canned ve­get­ables and fruits. Frozen spin­ach goes through a flash-freez­ing pro­cess that pre­serves it with­in hours after it leaves the soil, so it re­tains more of its vit­am­in C con­tent than fresh spin­ach. Both forms of spin­ach (fresh and frozen) re­tain their high vit­am­in A con­tent as well.

   The nu­tri­tion­al su­peri­or­ity of or­gan­ic versus con­ven­tion­ally pro­duced meats is an­oth­er mis­con­cep­tion. Re­search­ers have found that there is not much dif­fer­ence in nu­tri­ent qual­ity between grass-feed or cage-free an­im­als and an­im­als that are raised in feed­lots or cages.

   The qual­ity and nu­tri­ent levels in mod­ern canned ve­get­ables and fruits and con­ven­tion­ally raised an­im­als have im­proved over time and are a good choice for con­sumers. Best of all, con­ven­tion­al foods are far lower in price than or­gan­ic products, mak­ing them af­ford­able for most shop­pers. Good food is avail­able for con­sumers of all eco­nom­ic levels. Shop smart and try both or­gan­ic and con­ven­tion­al canned and frozen products. This re­cipe for Easy Spin­ach Quiche is a de­li­cious way to use frozen spin­ach.

Easy Spin­ach Quiche 

1/4 cup all-pur­pose flour 

1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing powder

1 tea­spoon poultry season­ing 

1 tea­spoon salt 

1 tea­spoon ground black pep­per

1/2 tea­spoon nut­meg

6 large eggs 

1/2 (8-ounce) pack­age shred­ded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese 

1 cup small curd cot­tage cheese

1/2 (10-ounce) pack­age frozen chopped spin­ach, thawed and drained

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies 

1/4 cup melted but­ter 

1. Pre­heat oven to 400 de­grees F. Whisk flour, bak­ing powder, poultry season­ing, salt, pep­per and nut­meg to­geth­er in a small bowl and set aside.

2. Beat eggs in a mix­ing bowl un­til smooth. Stir flour mix­ture in­to the eggs un­til no lumps re­main. Stir in Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, cot­tage cheese, spin­ach, green chiles and melted but­ter un­til evenly blen­ded.

3. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick cook­ing spray. Spread the quiche mix­ture evenly in­to pan. Bake quiche in pre­heated oven for 15 minutes at 400 F, then re­duce tem­per­at­ure to 350 F. Con­tin­ue bak­ing un­til the quiche is lightly browned and a knife in­ser­ted in­to the cen­ter comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Makes one (9-inch) quiche. ••

   An­gela Shelf Medear­is is an award-win­ning chil­dren’s au­thor, culin­ary his­tor­i­an and au­thor of sev­en cook­books. Her new cook­book is “The Kit­chen Diva’s Dia­bet­ic Cook­book.” Her Web site is www.di­vapro.com

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