Spinach, a.k.a. Spinacia oleracea
Who am I?
- Plant family: Amaranthaceae, sub-family Chenopodiaceae, also known as the "Goose Foot" family
- Harvest season: April if overwintered, otherwise June for outdoor spinach. Greenhouse spinach can be found year round, but sometimes is only available in spurts.
- Botanical details: Spinach is related to beets, and chard.
- Great source of*: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, manganese, and, if that wasn't enough, iron!
*contains more than 10% of the recommended daily allowance for these nutrients
How to care for me:
- Keep me loosely wrapped in a paper towel inside a plastic bag, I am best if eaten in 5 days!
- I have a mild taste, and with a neutral palette there are endless options for pairings. Try matching with fish, lemon and garlic; eggs, mushrooms and cheese; or even ricotta filled ravioli! Try me raw, steamed, sautéed, or baked into a variety of dishes.
How to cook me:
- In the 1930’s spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in the domestic consumption of spinach.
- Medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint.
- Catherine de' Medici -- who was from Florence, Italy -- was said to love spinach. That's why dishes that are served on a bed of spinach are referred to as "Florentine."
- California produces 74-percent of the fresh spinach grown in the United States.
- Two U.S. cities claim to be the ‘spinach capital of the world’: Crystal City, Texas and Alma, Arkansas. Each April in Alma, there’s a spinach festival.