Spinach isn’t just for Popeye Anymore! Spinach, the leafy green vegetable best known in the United States and made popular by the cartoon character Popeye, originated in Persia, (modern day Iran). Earliest records of this vegetable go back at least 2,000 years. It was introduced to China in the 600’s and still to this day is referred to Persian Greens. It was next transported to Spain sometime in the 1100’s. By mid 16th century it was well established in Europe. The Spaniards are credited for bringing Spinach to America. Although the first real documentation of the use of spinach in the United States was not until 1806 in regions of California and Texas and are still considered the states with the majority growers for commercial use.
Spinach was the first vegetable frozen and sold commercially in Springfield, Massachusetts by Clarence Birdseye in 1930.
This dark leafy green vegetable has many nutritional benefits. It contains vitamins A, C,K, as well as folic acid, magnesium and potassium. Spinach is high in carotenoids, all considered essential to fight cancer and prevent other blood and heart conditions.
There are 2 main and mostly sold types of spinach.
Flat or Smooth-Leaf: is just as the name says,
Baby: a smaller Flat-Leaf version that is very tender and desirable for salads.
Choose spinach with crisp and vibrantly green leaves. Avoid specimens that are limp or discolored. Store it in the fridge in a bag for three days at best but never more than seven days. Spinach, due to being grown in sandy soil, can be very gritty and must be rinsed thoroughly, even the so-called “pre-washed” type sold in packages will still possible have some sand remain behind and should be well washed before being eaten or added to dishes being cooked.
Cooking spinach will give the greens a more acidic flavor, hence many recipes will call for butter or cream added to the recipe to counteract the spinach flavor. Spinach may be steamed, sautéed or braised. Please note that when cooked, spinach will shrink by 90%! Therefore use this formula when using spinach:
1 lb. fresh = 10 cups and becomes approximately 1 1/2 cups. cooked.
10 oz. frozen = 1 1/2 cups thawed and then becomes 1 cup when cooked and drained.
Spinach is excellent fresh in salads. Using younger spinach, which is smaller, will make for a more tender leaf.
Although the reason behind it is not completely known, spinach has long been linked to prosperity. Eat a large tablespoon of spinach on New Year’s Day will bring wealth and happiness to your life! Many will mix spinach with other greens such as kale, mustard leaves, and collard greens into a sauce pan and wilt them down and season them to bring prosperity and luck to them and their family for the next year.
The French term “a la florentine” in the name of recipes indicates that spinach is a main ingredient in the dish.
And best of all, spinach is considered low on calories and contains per serving 3 grams of protein. So next time your at the store buy some fresh, frozen or canned spinach and add it to your scrambled eggs, tomato sauces to pour over spaghetti or use in lasagna or any pasta dish, toss a few into your salad, onto a sandwich or even just into a bowl to munch on along with any other raw vegetable you like!
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about spinach please let us know by commenting below! Also, be sure to share this with your friends and family. I am Stephen Rummey from http://HomeCookingSecrets.com and I would like to thank my partner and the COO, Pam Upton, for providing this amazing content.