Anywhere you go in the world. Spinach is bound to be enormously popular. But it has a long back story before it ever reached the US in the 17th century. The word spinach comes from the French word ‘epinard’ – dating back to the 14th century. The plant, although discovered much earlier, was named ‘Persian vegetable’ by ancient Chinese who got it from India through Nepal in 647 AD. It became popular relatively quickly around the world due to its year-round availability.
China produced over 92% of the world’s spinach produce in 2017. 25.6 million tonnes out of 27.9 million. The US followed at 2 producing 332,060 tonnes. Accounting for just over 1% of the world’s total.
Spinach is surely on every ‘top 10 superfoods’ list ever written. After all, where would our famous Popeye be without it? Because of its very high nutrient content and low-calorie count makes it one of the greats of any diet – from extreme to light.
There are many varieties of spinach, though they mostly fall into three distinct groups: Savoy (Dark green, crinkly and curly leaves. Commonly found in supermarkets.), Flat/smooth leaf spinach (Most commonly used for canned and processed spinach products, though “baby spinach” also fits in this group. Easier to wash and clean than Savoy.), and Semi-savoy (Hybrid variety with slightly wrinkled leaves. It has the same texture as savoy, but it is not as difficult to clean.)
In addition to the nutrient richness of spinach in terms of these conventional nutrients, spinach also provides the carotenoids lutein, neoxanthin, and violaxanthin; the flavonoids spinacetin, patuletin, and jaceidin; and naturally occurring nitrates.
Species: S. Oleracea
Binomial Name: Spinacia Oleracea