Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
Spinach hails from southwestern Asia; it was given to China as a gift from Nepal in the first years of the T'ang Dynasty (early seventh century A.D.). Spinach spread slowly, finally reaching Europe with the invading Moors. It was popular on the Continent because it grew well in the early spring, when other fresh vegetables are still scarce. Popeye (who made his cartoon appearance in 1929) inspired a 33% increase in spinach consumption among children. Indeed, it is rich in beta-carotene, calcium, folacin, and various minerals.
- Store spinach in a damp towel or plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- For longer term storage, spinach may be frozen. Blanch for 1-2 minutes, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain well and pack into airtight containers, such as zip-lock freezer bags.