In honor of yesterday being National Spinach Day (who knew there was a National Spinach Day??), I’m highlighting the green powerhouse veggie a bit early. It’s pretty chilly here in Western New York (despite our summer-like weather last week), so we’re still in a holding pattern for the start of farmers’ markets, unlike other areas of the country. Spinach is definitely one of my ‘must-have-at-all-times’ items (along with nuts butters, yogurt and bananas), and it should be one of yours’, too.
-Spinach is native to Asia, and is thought to have originated in ancient Persia
-The US produces about 3%, of the world’s consumption of spinach, following second to China, which produces a whopping 85%
-In 1533, Catherine de’ Medici became queen of France; she so fancied spinach that 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 (from Wikipedia)
-During WWI, wine fortified with spinach juice was given to French soldiers weakened by hemorrhage (from Wikipedia)
-Spinach is a cold-weather crop, and is in-season around here closer to May
-Purchase dark green undamaged leaves from the bulk bin, or choose bags/plastic tubs without bruised leaves; they should last about a week in the refrigerator
-The brighter green the better! Leaves that are bright and dark green have more Vitamin C than their less-green counterparts
-Spinach is LOADED with Vitamin K (1000% of your RDA!), Vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium and iron
-Spinach contains more than 12 flavonoid compounds (a type of phytonutrient), which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties
-Lutein (a carotenoid) found in spinach has eye-health properties, and the excessive Vitamin K count contributes to bone heath
-Substitute spinach for your lettuce blend in salads–before long, you’ll be going 100% spinach
-Toss into an omelette or soups for added nutrients and color
-Saute just until wilted with garlic
-Throw a handful into a morning smoothie–a little to add to fruit, or a lot to make a truly “green” drink
-Don’t forget creamed spinach!
I would be remiss if I didn’t use this as an opportunity to supply you with the most amazing salad recipe of all time. This salad is from Cafe Patachou/Petite Chou, which has locations in and around Indianapolis, IN. Andrew’s family lives there and his aunt is a HUGE FAN of the French bistro and eventually begged the chef for the dressing recipe to get it ‘just right.’ To my knowledge, he fessed-up to the ingredients, but didn’t provide a complete recipe. Click above for the link to our closest rendering. You will not be disappointed!
Holly R. Layer received a B. A. in Journalism from Penn State and served four years in the U. S. Air Force before deciding to go back to school to become a Registered Dietician. She loves running, reading, fine stationery, colorful kitchen gadgets and ALL things food-related. An avid cook and baker, you can find her in the kitchen most days whipping up something yummy. Too bad her husband, Andrew (an East Aurora native) is the pickiest man alive! You can find her at www.thefrozenpineapple.com.