A lovely, leafy harbinger of spring, spinach comes in three basic varieties: curly, smooth, and baby leaf. All should be dark green, crisp, and fresh smelling. Wash with extra care; spinach tends to harbor grit. Refrigerate in an airtight container, but use as quickly as possible. And when cooking spinach, start with a lot; raw spinach shrinks to a fraction of its size when heated.

Gently tear spinach leaves into a salad bowl; toss with sliced cremini mushrooms and slivered red onion. Sauté minced garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil; when tender, add 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and heat through. Drizzle over salad and toss.

Stir chopped spinach leaves into your favorite vegetable or bean soup during the last ten minutes of cooking. Layer into lasagna, or mix into pasta sauces.

In a large pot, sauté chopped garlic and ginger in sesame oil. Add leaves from a large bunch of washed spinach (leave water clinging to leaves). Stir to coat, then cover and cook until leaves wilt. Toss with soy or fish sauce to taste.