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spinach beet

 

Synonyms: beet spinach, chard, Swiss chard

Botanical name: Beta vulgaris ssps. cicla


Mangold

 

Spinach beet, or chard, is commonly found growing wild on the coasts of the Mediterranean region. As early as the second century b.c., it was a popular vegetable among the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.

Around the turn of the 20th century, a great deal of spinach beet was eaten in Germany, until it was superseded by spinach. Then it was almost totally forgotten for a long period. However, in recent years it has become popular again. In Germany it is grown only regionally.


Availability


Spinach beet is available from April until November. It is most abundant from the middle of June to September.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Were you aware that spinach beet is related to beetroot? We eat the stems and leaves of spinach beet, however, and not the root as with the red beet. Spinach beet can be divided into two groups:

1) Leaf spinach beet (Beta vulgaris var. vulgaris) – Smaller leaves than stem spinach beet, but larger compared with spinach – Yellow or green leaves – Thin, fibrous stalks 2) Stem spinach beet (Beta vulgaris var. flavescens)

– Large leaves
– Thick, fleshy, white or red stalks

There is no great difference in taste between leaf and stem spinach beet. Its flavor resembles that of spinach, but it is stronger, more bitter, and somewhat earthy. The stalks taste nutty.


Ingredients


With spinach beet, the contents of provitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin C are worth mentioning. 100 g contain:

Spinach beet, fresh
Spinach beet, cooked
Energie (kcal)
25
26
Wasser (g)
90
89
Eiweiß (g)
2
2
Fett (g)
< 1
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
3
3
Ballaststoffe (g)
3
3
Vitamin C (mg)
39
22
Vitamin A (RÄ) (µg)
588
658
Carotin (mg)
3,5
3,5
Folsäure (µg)
30
19
Kalium (mg)
376
234
Natrium (mg)
90
85
Calcium (mg)
103
122
Magnesium (mg)
81
61
Eisen (mg)
2,7
2,5



Harmful substances


At 1000–4000 mg per kilogram, the nitrate content is quite high, and spinach beet may contain up to 800 mg of oxalic acid per 100 g.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


When you buy spinach beet, the leaves and stems should not be wilted but should look crisp and green. Spinach beet wilts quickly after being harvested, and it can therefore be kept in the refrigerator for only 2 days.


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


Both the leaves and the stalks of spinach beet are edible. Remove the root crown and any brown spots. Before preparing it further you should wash spinach beet thoroughly.

The leaves are suitable as a vegetable accompaniment to meat and fish dishes. They may also be puréed and prepared as a soup.

The stalks must be peeled and cut to a given length as needed. Then they can be cooked al dente and used like black salsify or kohlrabi.

 

 

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