Spinach



Spinach

Spinach is thought to have originated in ancient Persia (modern Iran and neighboring countries). Arab traders carried spinach into India, and then the plant was introduced into ancient China. The first written evidence of spinach in the Mediterranean was recorded in three 10th-century works. It first appeared in England and France in the 14th century, probably via Spain. In 1533, Catherine de' Medici became queen of France; she insisted it be served at every meal. To this day, dishes made with spinach are known as "Florentine", reflecting Catherine's birth in Florence.

It is related to beets, chard, and quinoa. Winter spinach is extra sweet. Sugar doesn’t freeze, so spinach produces extra sugars in the winter to protect itself from frost. So be sure to use up those stems where it is the sweetest.

Availabilty

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Availability may vary by variety and with weather conditions.

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Storage Tips

  • Do not wash spinach before storing as the exposure to water encourages spoilage;

  • Place spinach in a plastic storage bag and wrap the bag tightly around the spinach, squeezing out as much of the air as possible;

  • Place in refrigerator where it will keep fresh for up to 5 days.

  • Avoid storing cooked spinach as it will not keep very well.

Preparation Tips

  • Place the spinach in a large bowl of tepid water and swish the leaves around with your hands as this will allow any dirt to become dislodged;

  • Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill with clean water and repeat this process until no dirt remains in the water;

  • Add layers of steamed spinach to your next lasagna recipe;

  • Pine nuts are a great addition to cooked spinach;

  • Spinach salads are a classic easy and delicious meal or side dish;

  • Blanch and freeze for up to 8 months.

Attribution

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinach

  • http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=43

  • http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2009/12/16/planting-winter-garden