Here's Why We Love Spinach
Who avoided spinach as a kid? We think most people did. It was often served as boiled, blubbery slop and left areal bitter taste in your mouth. Yuck, but how times have changed!
We can't get enough of it these days, whether it's eaten raw in a salad or blended to make a pesto, we're obsessed. Not only does it taste fresh, but you won't believe just how good it us for our bodies, and we're here to tell you all about it.
Now we get why Popeye was a fan!
When Can We Eat Spinach?
Spinach is in season from March to November, but can theoretically be grown all year round. Mild and aromatic, spring and summer varieties taste light and fresh with their tender leaves, while fall and winter varieties have a fuller flavor.
No matter what time of the year spinach is harvested, it's a power veggie that contains not only B and C vitamins, but also calcium, magnesium, potassium, iodine and, of course, iron. In addition, there is beta-carotene (a pigment found in plants and veggies that gives them their color), carbohydrates, and fiber.
This means that spinach really is a superfood. Not only does it increase your energy levels, it keeps your skin and eyes in top shape, and also has a positive effect on muscle growth.
The History of Spinach
It's believed that spinach originally hails from Asia and to date, China produces the most most spinach in the world. From Asia, spinach travelled via the Arab countries before reaching Spain, where it gained popularity and spread across Europe. Since spinach isn't fussy, and likes moist soil and both sun and shade, it grows well in many different countries.
Has Spinach Always Been a Superfood?
Well, in 1890, physiologist Gustav von Bunge studied this leafy veggie and found an iron value of 35mg per 100g. Sounds a lot, right? Upon hearing this news, people were munching it bunch after bunch, believing it would solve all alleviate all sorts of illness.
However, it was soon found out that von Bunge had studied dried spinach, which had a more concentrated iron content due to its form. Fresh spinach only contains 3mg of iron per 100g, and as most people were eating it in fresh, they felt misled and spinach fell out of favor.
Even with just 3mg per 100g however, it still has a much higher iron content compared to its veggie counterparts and is packed full of vitamins.
How Can You Buy Spinach?
Depending on the harvesting method, spinach is available as root or leaf spinach. Root spinach is harvested in its entirety, while leaf spinach is harvested individually. The latter is great in a salad and is best used on the day of purchase (although it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days).
Frozen spinach is also a great way of incorporating this green veggie into your diet, and contains the same amount of vitamins as spinach that comes in other forms.
Our Fave Spinach Recipe: Creamed Spinach Casserole
Creamed spinach reaches a special level of deliciousness, and it's even better when baked! Super simple and quick, it makes for a tasty and healthy week night dinner.
Ingredients (for 4 people):
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 5.2 oz. packages herb-and-garlic soft cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 12 oz. packages frozen spinach (thawed and squeezed dry)
- 2 oz. Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 16 round, buttery crackers (crushed into fine crumbs).
- Rinse spinach, blanch in salted water for 5 min. and drain in colander. Let cool.
- Finely chop onion and drained spinach.
- Melt butter and sauté onions until translucent. Add spinach.
- Stir in flour, and add the milk and cream.
- Let it boil down and season with the nutmeg and a pinch of salt.
Hungry for more? Try these Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
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Chef Tips and Tricks
Bursting with cheese and wrapped up in bacon, these stuffed chicken breasts are totally irresistible!
- Chicken breast
- 6 -8 bacon slices
- 1 cup spinach leaves
- 1 small jar semi-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Carefully slice the chicken breasts, forming a pocket, without cutting right through.
- Fry the breasts until golden brown on both sides.
- Layer bacon slices on a chopping board.
- Place the chicken breast on the far left, and top with spinach leaves, semi-dried tomatoes and cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roll the chicken breast in the bacon slices, folding it closed as you go.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 375°F.
- Serve, and enjoy!