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Space spinach: Getting your greens on the ISS

Proper nutrition is just as important in space as on Earth. Astronaut Chris Hadfield shows how he cooks up a nice side of spinach for space snacking.

Space spinach
Eat your greens.
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield has been giving us Earthlings behind-the-scenes peeks into life on the space station. He already showed us how he makes a peanut butter sandwich and how he clips his fingernails without inhaling them.

Now, he turns his attention to the sometimes controversial subject of spinach. Love it or hate it, it's packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. Hadfield posted a video demonstrating how to eat spinach in space.

When you're on the ISS, you can't just pop down to the local space grocery and pick up a nice bag of fresh baby spinach. It first has to be processed into a form that can handle traveling 220 miles from Earth to the International Space Station and not end up flying all over the place in zero gravity once it gets there.

The spinach starts out in a tight package of dried greenery. If you already have a dislike for the leafy substance, this will further fuel your nightmares. Hadfield attaches the pouch to a water distributor, dials in a certain quantity of water, and pushes a button to fill up the packet.

It's not quite fit for human consumption just yet. Hadfield gives the package a thorough massage before opening it up and chowing down with a space spoon (really, can't we afford to give astronauts some space sporks?). The resulting green goop is wet enough to stay on the spoon and not gum up all the expensive machinery around it.

As a kid, I used to think the culinary life of an astronaut was all about freeze-dried ice cream and Tang. As an adult, I can appreciate the more varied cuisine enjoyed by the denizens of the International Space Station. What I would really like to see next is "Top Chef: Space."