Spinach

Spinach is originally from Iran, but made it’s way through to China in the 7th century, introduced to Spain in the 7th, and then spread throughout Europe and Britain in the 1300s. By the 19th century it was being cultivated in North America. Spinach thrives in temperate climates, making Canada and the United States well suited for its cultivation.

There are three types of spinach generally available: savoy, smooth-leaf, and medium-leafed. Savoy has crispy, creased curly leaves with a springy texture. Smooth-leaf has flat, unwrinkled, spade-shaped leaved. Medium-leafed in similar in texture to savoy, but is not as crinkled in appearance.

Varieties:

  • Long Standing Bloomsdate
  • Tyee
  • Cold Resistant Savoy
  • Olympia
  • Melody
  • Wobli
  • Tarantella
  • Mazurka
  • Norveto
  • Estivato
  • Symphony
  • Melody
Spinach is a excellent source of vitamin A and folacin, and contains fibre, potassium, and vitamin C.
Look for vivid, dark green spinach with firm leaves and stems and no signs of yellowing. Avoid those with thick, tough or woody stem ends. Avoid those that have a slimy coating as this is a sign of decay.

Smooth-leaf spinach if often sold in bunches, while Medium and Savoy varieties are found loose or washed and partly stemmed in plastic packages.

Do not wash spinach before storing, as the exposure to water will encourage decay and spoilage.

Store spinach in a plastic bag; be sure to wrap the bag tightly around the spinach, squeezing out as much of the air as possible.

Store in the high humidity drawer of your refrigerator, and keep for up to 5 days.

Wash the spinach in cold water before cooking to remove any residual sand or soil, and gently dry. You may need to change the water several times. Do not soak, as the nutrients in spinach of water-soluble.

Cook spinach gently, over low to moderate heat.

Boiling will free up acids, and will bring out a sweeter taste from the spinach. Add the spinach to a pot of boiling water and only boil for 1 minute.

Spinach is also great eaten raw in various salads.

bunch of spinach
Seasonal Availability
May to October

Nutrition per 250 mL spinach (32 g), raw:

Nutrient Value
Calories 7
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrates 1 g
Total Dietary Fibre 0.7 g
Calcium 31 mg
Iron 0.9 mg
Sodium 25 mg
Potassium 177 mg
Magnesium 25 mg
Vitamin C 9 mg

Provided by Health Canada