So, let’s see a show of hands – who knew today was National Spinach Day? That leafy wonder of wonders that was made famous by Popeye the Sailor is loved by many people. Whether you love it or well, don’t love it, you thing to know about spinach is that it’s’ very good for you. No, your mom didn’t just say that to make you eat it. It may not make you instantly strong like Popeye, but it has lots of great nutrients in it.
So, to celebrate National Spinach Day, we’re going to look at some fun facts.
It’s still widely known in China as what’s called “the Persian Green”.
- It’s native to Iran, formerly known as Persia. In 600 A.D., it came to China. It probably came to Europe around 1,100 A.D. It didn’t arrive in the United States until 1806.
- It’s best eaten fresh. The leaves lose their nutritional properties each day. Even though refrigeration will help with slowing down this deterioration, half of its nutrients are lost by the 8th day following harvest. If you are storing it for the long term, freeze it while it’s fresh. When it’s fresh, the leaves are crisp. As the leaves deteriorate, they become limp.
- There’s a lot of varieties, although they fall mostly into three groups:
- Savoy – dark green with curly and crinkly leaves. This is what you commonly find in grocery stores.
- Smooth/Flat Leaf – This is used commonly for processed and canned spinach products, although what’s called ‘baby spinach’ is also a member of this group. It’s easier to clean and wash when compared with Savoy.
- Semi-Savoy – This is a hybrid that has leaves that are slightly crinkled. It has Savoy’s texture but it’s easier to clean.
- Florentine is often found in the recipe names where spinach’s one of the main ingredients. Catherine de Medici lived in Florence, Italy. She loved spinach and she married King Henry II on October 28, 1533.
- During the 1930s, spinach growers in the United States gave credit to Popeye for the 33% increase in spinach consumption. This was a very welcome boost since it
- In 1937, Crystal City, TX, a town known for growing spinach, put up a Popeye statue.
- In 1949, Birds Eye became the very first company to advertise their frozen spinach. The advertisement ran in the popular magazine “Life”.
- Today, California’s the #1 supplier/grower. It accounts for nearly 3/4 of the production nationwide. Other states known for their spinach are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas.
- There’s an annual spinach festival each year in April in Alma, AR. This is organized by Alma’s Chamber of Commerce. They’ve proclaimed that they’re the world’s spinach capital, a claim that Crystal City, TX also makes. Allen Canning Company also is found in Alma, which cans and ships this leafy green veggie.
Aren’t those some fun facts? Here are some nutritional facts about this wonder vegetable and why it’s so good for you.
In Just 3.5 oz of Raw Spinach, There are
- 23 calories
- 91% water
- 2.9 grams of protein
- 3.6 grams of carbs
- 0.4 grams of sugar
- 2.2 grams of fiber
- 0.4 grams of fat
Vitamins & Minerals in Spinach
There are many nutritional benefits of eating spinach. Some of the good stuff that spinach contains are:
- Vitamin A- There are high levels of carotenoids in spinach, which is turned into Vitamin A by your body.
- Vitamin C – Along with helping you stay healthy, this promotes skin health.
- Spinach is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including (3):
- Vitamin K1 – Essential for clotting your blood. One single leaf contains more than 50% of what your body needs each day.
- Folic acid – This is also called vitamin B9 or folate. It’s vital for normal tissue growth and cellular function. It’s also a vital vitamin for women who are pregnant.
- Iron – If you’re anemic, eat your spinach. It helps with creating hemoglobin, and this brings the oxygen to the tissues in your body.
- Calcium – Essential for healthy bones and for your muscles, heart and nervous system.
We hope you enjoyed today’s fun facts about spinach on National Spinach Day. If you love it and you want some new recipes to try out, here’s a link with 40 that you can try for yourself. Have a great weekend and we’ll be back with another blog on Monday. In the meantime, check out our other blogs on our site.