Written By Admin
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Spinach is an edible flowering plant in the Amaranthaceae family. This is the same family that beets and Swiss chard are a part of, greens also known for being full of nutrients. This botanical bloodline is one of the many reasons spinach is also considered a superfood.
The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular-based, and come in a variety of sizes. Spinach does flower, but the flowers are inconspicuous and typically a yellow-green color. When the flowers have matured, they are small, hard, lumpy, and dry.
There are three basic types of spinach: savoy, semi-savoy, and flat. Savoy has dark green leaves that are crinkly and curly. This is the type of spinach typically found in fresh bunches in supermarkets across the US. One heirloom variety, Bloomsdale, is somewhat resistant to bolting (bolting is when a plant flowers or seeds prematurely, changing the flavor of the plant).
The second main variety is semi-savoy spinach. This type has the same texture as savoy and also has crinkled leaves, but it is easier to clean. Semi-savoy is grown for both fresh market and processing.
Flat spinach is also known as smooth-leaf spinach. This type has broad, smooth leaves, making it easier to clean. This variety is grown mostly for canned or frozen spinach and is great when making soups and baby food.
15 NUTRIENTS IN SPINACH
KNOW WHEN TO GROW
This annual plant is sturdy yet sensitive went it comes to planting and growing. Spinach can survive winter, but only in temperate regions. If exposed to higher temperatures, spinach will begin to bolt rather quickly—it is thus considered a spring and a fall crop. Even though spinach is picky when it comes to temperature, it is easy to grow and maintain, and extremely affordable.
When selecting, choose spinach with vibrant green leaves and stems with no sign of yellowing. Make sure to avoid leaves with slimy coating; this is a sign of decay. Do not wash spinach before storing, because this will make it spoil quicker.
To store, place in a plastic bag and wrap the bag tightly around it, squeezing out as much air as possible. It should continue to be fresh for about five days. Also remember not to store cooked spinach.
Unfortunately a lot of the nutritional value is lost within a few days, including folate and carotenoids, so it’s best to use it sooner than later.
Spinach is probably one of the only vegetables that is recommended to be boiled when eaten. Boiling the leaves frees up acids and leaches them into the water, giving the spinach a sweeter taste.
Not sure how to use spinach? Well, spinach is tremendously versatile: it tastes great raw, cooked, or in smoothies. Green smoothies have been a craze for the past few years, and this would be a good time to hop on the bandwagon. They make great snacks, breakfasts, or even meal replacements, and drinking them will ensure you are receiving more vegetables in your diet. Adding fruit will take away the bitter taste and will help ease you into this new trend.
For other simple ways to use spinach, try it in your salads, lasagna, soups, omelets, or even a stir-fry. Spinach is hearty enough to be great in any form you can buy it in, whether it is loose, packaged, canned, or frozen.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Spinach is one of the “dirty dozen” identified by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The dirty dozen is a list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide exposure. Because of this, the EWG suggests that spinach be purchased organically—so make sure to find out where your spinach is coming from.
With that said, eat up and let spinach do your body wonders…even if it won’t make you Popeye strong.