Table of content A-Z

 

spinach

 

Botanical name: Spinacia oleracea


Spinat

 

Spinach is probably native to the Orient. The Arabs brought it to Spain, and from there it spread in the 16th century to Germany via France and Holland. Today, spinach is grown everywhere in the world, except in the tropics.


Availability


Spinach is available all year. From March to May and from August to November it is more abundant and domestic produce is sold.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


Spinach forms a rosette of tender, green, partially serrated fleshy leaves.

Young spinach tastes mild.

Spinach is differentiated according to seedtime (spring and summer spinach, winter spinach) and harvesting procedure (leaf spinach, root spinach).

Sowing from spring until August or September produces the fine-leaved spring and summer spinach; sowing later in the autumn (second half of September) produces the coarser winter spinach that overwinters until the harvest in the spring.

For leaf spinach only the individual outer leaves with stem are harvested. This is sold chiefly fresh at the market. Root spinach is obtained by cutting off the entire leaf rosette at the root crown. Root spinach is used mainly for processing by the food industry.


Ingredients


Spinach is a valuable vegetable in terms of nutritional physiology.

100 g contain:

Spinach, fresh
Spinach, cooked
Energie (kcal)
17
19
Wasser (g)
92
91
Eiweiß (g)
3
3
Fett (g)
< 1
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
1
1
Ballaststoffe (g)
3
3
Vitamin C (mg)
52
29
Vitamin A (RÄ) (µg)
795
550
Vitamin E (mg)
1,4
0,6
Vitamin B2 (mg)
0,2
0,2
Vitamin B6 (mg)
0,1
0,2
Biotin (µg)
6
6
Folsäure (µg)
78
48
Kalium (mg)
633
393
Natrium (mg)
65
61
Calcium (mg)
126
149
Magnesium (mg)
58
43
Mangan (mg)
0,5
0,5
Eisen (mg)
4,1
3,8



Harmful substances


Spinach is one of the cultivated plants that store nitrate, and high contents between 1000 and 4000 mg per kilogram fresh weight can be found. However, a large portion of the in itself harmless nitrate – 40–70% – is leached out by blanching the spinach.

If cooked spinach is left at room temperature or raw spinach is kept for 1–2 days a considerable amount of nitrite may form.

The oxalic acid content may be as much as 800 mg per 100 g.


Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions


Buy only fresh, green spinach leaves. Spots or yellow areas are a sign of incorrect storage. Fresh spinach should be eaten quickly, as it loses ingredients and aroma even after only a short time.


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


Only a small part of the spinach harvest arrives fresh at the market. Root spinach and leaf spinach require different amounts of work prior to cooking. With leaf spinach it suffices to sort out any unattractive leaves and remove the stems. With root spinach the entire root parts must be cut off.

As fresh spinach is usually very sandy, it should be washed thoroughly.

Spinach is good prepared as a salad, or cooked of blanched as a vegetable side dish. Try a few recipes such as spinach lasagne, stuffed spinach rolls, or spinach sauce on noodles. The greater part of the spinach harvest ends up in the food industry. Particularly frozen spinach and jars of spinach for baby food sell well. Further, you can buy spinach juice and dried spinach leaves.

In addition, spinach is used to colour green noodles or as a filling for tortellini or Maultaschen (pasta squares filled with meat and spinach).


Seasoning tip


Spinach can be seasoned in various ways:

* Classic: onions and nutmeg

* Indian: curry

* Mediterranean: garlic, olive oil and lemon

 

 

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