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Oct 9, 2011 02:24 PM

Spinach - bad mouth feel?

Sometimes, when you order something containing spinach - like an omelet for instance - the spinach will leave a gritty, sandpapery feel to your mouth. This can last for a couple of hours.

Anyone know what I'm talking about? Why does this happen?

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  1. I'm guessing that the spinach wasn't washed thoroughly enough, especially if the spinach used was fresh, not frozen. Perhaps others will have better ideas. But that is what popped into my mind when I read your question.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sueatmo

      I'm not talking about sandy dust from lack of washing. What I've experienced is more of a chemical thing.

      1. re: Sharuf

        Yes, little crystals arising on the leaves. I have no idea what they are, if I could guess it would be oxalaic acid. But i don't know.

    2. If you mean the dry feeling on your palate, it's from the tannins in the spinach, just like tea or red wine.

      Or it could be it wasn't washed properly -- spinach can actually be pretty sandy. (oops, composing the same time as Sue).

      1 Reply
      1. re: acgold7

        Um, yes, right, oxalic acid. Who said tannins? Certainly not me.

      2. There is a compound called oxalic acid in spinach leaves. When it comes in contact with calcium ions in your saliva, it forms an insoluble crystal that deposits on your teeth. It's not harmful or toxic, just annoying.

        3 Replies
        1. re: chococat

          I don't notice this at all. Is oxalic acid neutralized or ousted by freezing? Or by cooking in a pot of soup or beans? Or creaming? I don't notice it in raw baby spinach, either.

          1. re: sueatmo

            I have heard that younger spinach does not have as much oxalic acid, so you might be on to something with your baby spinach observations. I think that cooking spinach in a pot of soup or with a lot of other ingredients would dilute the oxalic acid to the point that it would not be a problem. I haven't thought much about the properties of calcium oxalate by I would guess that alcohol or acidic liquids might help to dissolve the crystals once they are on your teeth. Just a guess though.

          2. re: chococat

            However, if you're susceptible to kidney stones, oxalic acid is the culprit.

          3. I know exactly what you are talking about. It is caused by the oxalic acid in spinach. I also used to experience the same dry mouth from a few Entenmann's' baked products, but I haven't had any in quite a while.

            1. I know exactly what you're talking about. I hate that tooth feel.

              I wonder if blanching the spinach (fresh, obvy) helps -- I always blanch before I sauté, and it seems to me like it cuts down on the oxalic acid.