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I used raw spinach in salads. I use it well cooked in soups, pies, and sauteed by itself. For some recipes (mostly in omelettes) I like it flash-fried, just to the point it starts wilting. And in those recipes, it leaves me with a dry mouth for an hour after I eat it. Any clues?

If it is of any relevance, I only buy fresh pre-washed baby spinach so I cannot compare to other kinds, or to frozen, or to spinach I wash myself.

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Oxalates most likely.

Cooking doesn't change the oxalates but I reckon how it is chewed, more vrs less, might be the reason. Wilted seems the chewiest to me.

"Spinach contains a high amount of oxalic acids which contain small crystals that do not dissolve in water. These oxalate crystals are released from spinach as you chew, coating the teeth, resulting in that chalky or gritty feeling"

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  • Some further reading, after this answer, provides at least a theory. Recipes with dairy provide calcium for the formation of calcium oxalate crystals as you suggest. Salads don't. Some types of cooking apparently break down oxalic acid. I wonder if heavy boiling (soup) or high temp baking for 45 minutes or more (pies etc) destroy the compound, whereas wilting in a pan simply makes it more available to bind with calcium in the recipe? I emphasize this is just an idea from some hasty reading.
    – jay613
    May 10, 2021 at 12:24

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