Nitrates in Spinach?

rlv4(7)March 11, 2009

Anybody have knowledge regarding nitrates in spinach they want to share? I stumbled across some information recently that surprised me. I was reading up on making your own baby food, since I want to start our baby girl out right, and it warned about using homegrown veggies because of high nitrate levels in them. Being an organic gardener I assumed they were referring to the fact home gardeners use a lot of synthetic fertilizers. However I've found a lot of discussions suggesting even organically grown veggies (especially spinach and lettuce) can be high in nitrates. What's the scoop?

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the_gurgler(DFW TX 7b Sunset 33)

My wild guess would be that the nitrate level is tied to how much manure you use in your garden.

Just a guess.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:09AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

All green leafy vegetables will have relatively high levels of Nitrogen and that can be influenced by soil nutrients, somewhat, but this Nitrogen must be converted to nitrites. The levels normally found in food will not adversly affect you or anyone else. The major problem is nitrites in soil that leach into the ground water and become part of your drinking water and this is one of the reasons why you are starting to hear that you shold not pour a lot of Nitrogen fertilizer on your lawn and garden.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 10:12AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

it warned about using homegrown veggies because of high nitrate levels in them.

Feh. Hopefully you see now this assertion is balderdash, and you will take the information on that site with a grain of salt from now on.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 2:13PM
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Michael

Infants do not tolerate nitrates in their diets as well as adults. A very serious condition called, "blue baby syndrome" can develop in infants up to 6 months of age as a result of consuming excess nitrates be they from foods or water. Please refer to the link below and thoroughly research the subject before making your own baby foods using veggies. Ask your baby's doctor first!

Here is a link that might be useful: A resource

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 4:52PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

The link provided above by michael also says: It is important to note that the odds of your baby getting "Blue Baby Syndrome" nitrate poisoning from Carrots or other veggies is about 0%.

Now.

The topic is homegrown veggies.

Unless your organic practices include overfertilizing with nitrogen or poor cultural practices that cause your spinach to be frequently underwatered and not utilizing N, this is not an issue.

The link provided above reinforces this fact.

That is: nitrate poisoning is just not a problem from organic. It is a very, very small problem in industrial ag; when it is, it is from groundwater contamination. Synthetic fert does not cause nitrate poisoning.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:18PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Take your original question to your pediatrician.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2009 at 5:49PM
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busylizzy(z5 PA)

I agree with taking the original question to the peds doctor.
I made all my kids baby food,but strictly breast milk till 6 months, she is now 15, healthy as a horse.
I didn't include the gassy veggies until she was older. Spinach, I think an infant would have a tough time digesting it.
Don't forget what goes in goes out, feeding beets might scare with blood red urine and stool.
If your looking for iron, a simple cereal is toasted wheat germ with mashed up blueberries, there is also iron enhanced rice, common in tropical countries use rice and mangos for a simple food. Too much iron and that will constipate also.

For your own garden,get a soil sample done.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 6:44AM
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rlv4(7)

Thanks to all who answered. Michael357, that was a big help. Makes a lot more sense now. For clarification, I should have mentioned our daughter is 6 months old now and we are only starting to introduce solid foods (only organics of course). I was actually thinking it would be another couple of months before we even try any of our homegrown stuff. I guess when I came across the information I was thinking not only of her but the rest of my family as well.

I will discuss this with my pediatrician as well, but I can already see her confused look when I say to her "So, what do you think about the nitrate level in spinach, carrots, etc? Should I be picking it in the morning or afternoon? Or should I wait until a cloudy day? What about organic fertilizers? Is manure bad if it's composted well?...well?"

Don't get me wrong she's a great doctor, but I just can't imagine her being up to speed on the subject. She'll probably say, "you know the internet can be a good thing, but sometimes I think there's such a thing as too much information!

Thanks all!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 9:22AM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You wrote that you might overwhelm the pediatrician with all the questions, among them ""So, what do you think about the nitrate level in spinach, carrots, etc? Should I be picking it in the morning or afternoon? Or should I wait until a cloudy day? What about organic fertilizers? Is manure bad if it's composted well?...well?"

The basic question you need to ask, is "Is spinach a safe food for my child at this age? If not, when, and in what amounts will it be?"

So forget about time of day to pick and ferts and all the rest. Just ask the basic question.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 7:23PM
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farkee(Florida)

Sorry to chime in with incomplete information--but I remember reading something about too high of nitrate levels in greens grown in greenhouses in the winter. Lack of light played a role in it but I don't remember the specifics. I believe the study was done in Europe. Anyway, I will try and find the original reference.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 12:03AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Anyway, I will try and find the original reference.

Hopefully it will be germane to the issue.

The issue is that unless you screw it up completely and in addition irrigate with tainted groundwater, this is not an issue. Please folks.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 12:09AM
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farkee(Florida)

http://www.vsb.cape.com/~nature/greencenter/q33/nitrate.htm

((For those that are curious,
this explains why regulations involving nitrate exposure in food and water were enacted
http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FBJN%2FBJN81_05%2FS0007114599000616a.pdf&code=8bdc9b4025a9e72be6bbfbf916a408e1))

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 1:05AM
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albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)

I was fed homemade baby food and now I curmudgeonly, showing signs of senility and have stiff joints in the morning.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 11:42AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Thank you farkee. That first link (the only one that works) reinforces what I wrote above.

Organic gardeners gardening properly should have a risk factor for nitrates in spinach approaching zero.

Dan

    Bookmark   April 3, 2009 at 11:43AM
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