Spinach is an edible flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae. It is native to central and southwestern Asia. It is an annual plant (rarely biennial), which grows to a height of up to 30 cm. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions. The leaves are alternate, simple, ovate to triangular-based, very variable in size from about 2–30 cm long and 1–15 cm broad, with larger leaves at the base of the plant and small leaves higher on the flowering stem. The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, 3–4 mm diameter, maturing into a small, hard, dry, lumpy fruit cluster 5–10 mm across containing several seeds. (Wikipedia)
Five Fun Spinach Facts:
- This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- In the 1930's U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption - a welcome boost to an industry during the depression era.
- 'Birds Eye' was the first company to advertise frozen spinach. It did so in "Life" magazine in 1949.
- California is today the US's #1 grower/supplier of spinach, accounting for almost three quareters (3/4) of national production. Other spinach-growing states include Arizona, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Maryland and Arkansas.
- Spinach leaves are a mild diuretic and mild laxative.
Five Spinach Recipes:
- Leek and Baby Spinach Soup - This brightly colored creamy soup is perfect for a Passover lunch accompanied by a salad or as a first course for a festive dinner.
- Spinach with Chickpeas- Enjoy this vegetable-rich nibble as they do in Spain, spooned onto small rounds of fresh or lightly toasted bread.
- Mandarin Spinach Salad- You will need about 1 to 1 ½ pounds of chicken for this recipe. Bake, grill, sauté or prepare your chicken however you enjoy it best. You can also use leftover chicken for this slightly sweet citrusy salad.
- Spinach-Ricotta Quiche - A tasty, crust-less quiche that can be made ahead, this elegant dish is a crowd-pleaser.
- Crispy Phyllo Spinach Tartlets - Just one bite into the elaborate layers of phyllo, spinach and sun-dried tomato filling and you'll be hooked on these Mediterranean tarts.
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Nutrition information per cup of raw spinach:
Fat: 0.12 g
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 24 mg
Protein: 1 g