A Pound Is A Pound Is A Pound
December 23, 2010 9:24 PM   Subscribe

How many pounds fresh spinach do I need to yield 1 pound cooked spinach? I can't believe how difficult this is to find: most of the Google search results are "x lbs spinach = x cups" or "how many ounces of fresh spinach in a pound" (groan). My recipe doesn't care about volume, it cares about weight!
posted by sfkiddo to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Probably about 4# (this is a guess, but an educated one). Spinach cooks down a lot. Conversely, you could just buy frozen. Nobody would know.
posted by Gilbert at 9:36 PM on December 23, 2010

Shouldn't it be 1:1? That's just a guess, but I doubt it changes in weight.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:36 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you lightly sauté the spinach and don't squeeze any water off, a pound of fresh will yield a pound of cooked. It would only change if you steam the water out of it (not likely as the spinach would end up way overcooked) or squeeze the water out.
posted by zinfandel at 9:50 PM on December 23, 2010

Response by poster: @J. Wilson: it would seem like it, but apparently spinach contains so much water that when it cooks off, it changes the weight.

@Gilbert: Uh oh, I bought 4 lbs to yield 2 lbs. Might be going to the store again tomorrow...
posted by sfkiddo at 9:51 PM on December 23, 2010

I think the mass ratio would be nearly 1:1. Obviously fresh spinach takes up a lot more volume than cooked spinach, but you're interested in mass.

According to this USDA tool, fresh spinach is 91.40% water by mass. Boiled and drained spinach is 91.21% water. It doesn't look like the spinach is losing much water by being cooked.
posted by rancidchickn at 9:53 PM on December 23, 2010

Response by poster: @Zin: I need to squeeze the water out. Phooey, this is complicated.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:54 PM on December 23, 2010

Sure it changes in weight, the water in the leaves evaporates as it cooks down. How much, I don't know for sure. I found references that says 1 lb fresh spinach will cook down to 1 cup (~8 oz) cooked spinach, which seems about right. But that depends how watery your cooked spinach will be.
posted by buckaroo_benzai at 9:55 PM on December 23, 2010

Best answer: I just realized that I did the math once to figure out how much when the water is squeezed out and I looked up an old recipe to make sure - 1 pound of spinach will give you 7 - 8 ounces (my kitchen scales aren't great). But I think you bought the right amount.
posted by zinfandel at 9:58 PM on December 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

buckaroo_benzai and zinfandel are correct: if you buy 1 lb of fresh spinach and cook it down, you'll have approximately 8 ounces of cooked spinach. So if you need a pound of cooked, you'll want to buy 2 pounds of fresh.
posted by trip and a half at 10:08 PM on December 23, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for researching, zinfandel. I've moved past apprehension on to anticipation about my creamed spinach!
posted by sfkiddo at 10:10 PM on December 23, 2010

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