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I heard tale of people using vinegar to break down or concentrate the digestible iron in spinach. Is this true?

If it's true, the key things to know would be:

  • What vinegar do you use?
  • How do you prepare it?
  • Does it impair the flavour?
  • Is the benefit measurable and significant?

My thoughts are there is something in it in a similar manner to this question.

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2 Answers 2

You know, I have always liked to eat spinach with vinegar. Just steamed and with a splash of plain white vinegar. It is a very common way to eat spinach around here.

Anyway, I suppose it could have some affect on iron absorption. Large amounts of vitamin C can increase non-heme iron absorption by as much as 200%. This article, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0203040, seems to indicate that acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, may also increase iron absorption.

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Perhaps the vitamin C content in the vinegar is making the iron in cooked spinach more digestible?

There are quite a few recipes online that simply combine sauteed spinach and balsamic vinegar- evidently it's a popular side dish. I see some people use other types of vinegar as well. You can also make a wilted spinach salad with a bacon dripping-and-vinegar dressing. That makes a delicious lunch if you add grilled chicken, red onions, and some bits of bacon.

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