Spinach is a vegetable mainly used as an ingredient in many recipes. It is a plant variety and consists of dark green leaves. This green leafy vegetable is considered one of the healthiest vegetables available to mankind. In botanical terms it is called 'spinacia oleracea', and is a flowering plant in the family of Amaranthaceae.
It can be eaten raw or cooked as an ingredient in various spinach dishes. It is available throughout the year and can be bought fresh, canned or in frozen form.
Origin Of Spinach
This green leafy vegetable originated in Iran. In 64 A.D. it was found in China and by 1100 A.D in Spain. The colonists brought this vegetable to America. In Asia, these greens have been used for many centuries. It reached Europe in the eighth century.
The Spinach Plant And Its Types
Spinach plants are grown in moderate climate. The leaves of the plant are consumed in various forms. The flowers of these plants are yellow in color.
Many varieties of spinach are grown in different parts of world. The three main types are savoy, semi savoy and flat/ smooth leaf.
Popular Spinach Recipes
Spinach dishes are popular all over the world and can be consumed both in raw and cooked form. The vegetable is used in preparation of many spinach recipes.
Some of the known spinach recipes are Baked Creamed Spinach, Creamy Spinach Salad, Cheese Spinach Bake, Chicken and Spinach Soup.
Some popular Indian spinach dishes are spinach dal, spinach tikkas, and spinach with cottage cheese.
Precautions To Be Taken While Cooking Spinach Dishes
The dishes made from spinach are healthy and taste good. However,prior to cooking, the leaves should be washed well and dry and damaged leaves should be discarded. While using these leaves in various spinach recipes, overcooking should be avoided as it will lead to loss of nutrients and texture of spinach.
Nutritional Value Of Spinach Recipes
Spinach dishes are mostly low in calories. These leaves are rich source of minerals and vitamins. Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese are present in high levels in this vegetable. It also has high calcium content and contains dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, and Folate. These greens are also a potential source of phytonutrients and many antioxidants. The level of cholesterol and saturated fats is low in spinach recipes.
A famous cartoon character, Popeye eats spinach as a power boosting tonic in the television series.