Hindi Name: Palak
It is a bright and vibrant green leafy vegetable which is native to central and southwest Asia. It is said to have originated in Persia. It is sold loose, bunched, canned or frozen. Fresh spinach is preferred over canned spinach due to loss of nutrients. It is mostly used to make savory dishes consumed for main course. It is considered to be one of the best green leaf vegetable for consumption.
You can either make a vegetable dish out of it or use it to make burgers, sandwiches and rolls. It may be used in salads. It finds mentions among the world’s healthiest vegetables and is known for its nutrient richness. It is commonly used in a variety of pastas. Steamed spinach may be used in lasagna recipes. Spinach soup is often consumed during sickness, for the strength it provides.
Savoy spinach is dark green and has curly leaves; flat leaf spinach has smooth leaves and is easier to clean. This is the variety that is canned or frozen.
Semi-savoy spinach is a hybrid that has a savoy like structure and is not difficult to clean.
1. It is an excellent source of beta carotene which is a precursor of vitamin A, which is good for a healthy immune system, vision, skin and mucus membrane.
2. Spinach contains almost 200% of the daily value of vitamin K and is considered very good to maintain bone health.
3. Spinach is very rich in Iron that plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells. It is therefore very helpful to prevent anemia.
4. It is very rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and manganese. Thus it helps the body keep away from the damage caused by the free radicals.
5. Due to the presence of phytonutrients, it has anti-inflammatory properties. It also reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
How to Choose:
Spinach is available all year round. Choose leaves which are crisp and dark green in shade. Avoid leaves which are turning yellow. Thick stems indicate that the spinach has been overgrown, thin stems are preferable.
How to Store:
It must be wrapped in a plastic bag for storage. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Did you know?
In the 1930's U.S. spinach producers credited Popeye (the cartoon) with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.