- 23 calories in 100 grams!
- Low in calories but high in nutrition, the superfood has a lot in store apart from its culinary delights.
A bowl of spinach leaves
Through the traces of time
- The leaves of the annual edible flowering plant have been used for nourishment since ancient times. The leafy green vegetable is said to be of Persian origin. The Chinese claim to have received it from regions of Nepal while several written records mention spinach.
- It seems that the superfood was well known across the globe for its medicinal properties in ancient and medieval times. The medieval era saw spinach as a source of green color extract used for artwork. Medical texts by Rhazes(west) and agricultural texts by Ibn Wahshiyah and Qustus -al – Rumi talk about spinach.[superfood]
- The famous Arab agronomist, Ibn-al-awwam called it “the chieftain of leafy greens”, and it is said to have come to England via Spain in the fourteenth century.
- The form of cury – first English cookbook also mentions spinach. The queen of France, Catherine de’ Medici simply loved the superfood. She ordered it prepared for each meal and this was the reason for the popularity of spinach in 1553. Being born in Florence, Catherine de Medici left the name florentine for the cuisines made with spinach.
- Later during the first world war, french soldiers suffering from hemorrhage were treated with spinach juice for a speedy recovery. However, the oldest written records of spinach date back to 4th century A.D Mesopotamia.
SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION of superfood
- Kingdom – Plantae
- Division- Magnoliophyta
- Class – Magnoliopsida
- Order- Caryophyllales
- Family- Chenopodiaceae
- Genus- Spinacia
- Species – Oleracea
Varieties of the versatile plant
- Spinach isn’t a difficult plant to grow. It’s a versatile plant – easy to grow with multiple uses.
There are three basic variants of spinach –
- Savoy spinach
- semi-savoy spinach
- smooth leafed spinach
- With dark green, crinkly and curly leaves, the savoy spinach continues to delight us with its savory flavor. It is colder resistant than the other two. Bloomsdale and regiment are a few examples.
- Semi savoy spinach on the other hand stands upright as compared to the low-lying savoy spinach. with less crinkly leaves, the plant is bolt resistant. Space spinach and red carnival are examples of this variety.
- Apart from this the New Zealand spinach and the Malabar spinach are alternate spinach varieties.
Superfood – a plethora of nutrients
- The superfood, spinach, has a high nutritional value.it is a source of vital antioxidants and vitamins. Opioid peptides like rubiscolins have also been found in spinach. Apart from being a rich source of iron and fibers, spinach is laden with vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, Vitamin E, riboflavin, and elements like magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
- The vitamin, folic acid was first extracted from spinach. Steamed spinach is folate-rich.
- Apart from the above vitamins, spinach is rich in plant compounds like lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin, and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are excellent for the eye while kaempferol is effective for cancer, nitrates are good for heart health and quercetin provides immunity against infections and inflammations.
- Spinach is the richest source of quercetin.
The cool-season crop
- Spinach is an annual edible flowering plant and is profoundly called the cool season crop.[superfood] The hardy crop can withstand low temperatures and sandy soil is preferred for cultivation since it drains early and warms quicker. A balance of light and shade is ideal for the crop. moist soil is required for germination and it is harvested within 45-60 days.
- The leaves are sold loose, bunched, canned, or frozen.On a global scale, China, the USA, Japan, Turkey, and Indonesia are the major producers of spinach.[superfood] In India, spinach is grown in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
The taste – place in Indian cuisines
a recipe of spinach, spinach egg potato
- The mild, slightly sweet taste of spinach is often savored in salads and the flavor becomes more acidic and robust on cooking. Spinach finds a significant place in Indian cuisines. From palak paratha made of whole wheat flour and spinach puree to the nutty spinach curry and spinach warp- we savor spinach in the best ways.
- Other delicacies include spinach omelet, palak pakoras, Hara- bhara kebab, palak paneer, palak rice, aloo palak, and daal palak.[superfood]