Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia (Iran). Spinach is a leafy green vegetable with delicate texture and jade green colour provide more nutrients than any other food. Although spinach is available throughout the year their season runs from March through May and from September through October when it is the freshest, has the best flavour and is most readily available. Spinach grows well in temperate climates. Spinach can have either flat or slightly crinkled leaves. Spinach grows well on well manured soil. It is an annual plant. It is a reasonably priced vegetable and is affordable by people across all status.
It is often available as baby spinach, which is especially useful for salads. Spinach can be purchased fresh, frozen, or canned. Fresh spinach is sold in bunches or already washed and sealed in plastic bags. Spinach is usually very sandy and needs thorough washing. Trim the roots and then swish the leaves in a large bowl of water. A number of other greens that are similar to spinach are often sold in specialty stores. These include New Zealand spinach, which comes from a different plant family. There are three varieties of spinach Savoy, Flat spinach and Semi Savoy spinach.
Spinach can be consumed cooked or raw. Baby spinach leaves are especially good in salads with cheese, walnuts, red onions, and a vinaigrette dressing. Spinach still has a large nutritional value, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. Spinach cooks very quickly, and doesn’t need added water. Just place it in a pan, cover, and simmer for two to four minutes. Spinach is a good addition to stews and to soups that contain beans, pasta, or potatoes, or to any kind of curry dish. Spinach can also be creamed. Cook the spinach, then purée in a food processor, adding your choice of ricotta cheese, cream sauce, or soft tofu. Add herbs, salt, and pepper, and use as a stuffing for lasagna or pasta shells, or toss with pasta or rice. Creamed spinach can also be thinned with broth or milk to make soup. Good seasonings for spinach include fresh lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, dill, parsley, basil, nutmeg, and mushrooms.
Cooked spinach is an excellent source of iron and calcium. It’s more important for menstruating women, who are more at risk for iron deficiency. Pregnant women are advised to include Spinach in their diet in the first three months for its folic acid contents. Spinach can also help prevent colon cancer. In addition, spinach is a very good source of magnesium, a mineral that can help to lower high blood pressure and protect against heart disease as well. It is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, folic acid, Beta-carotene and several other antioxidants. The Flavonoids in spinach help prevent age related diminishing memory. The Lutein present in spinach helps prevent cataracts. It is low in calories and high in oxalate content. Spinach contains insoluble fiber which protects the heart and other vital organs in the body.