Food facts, Spinach

Spinach Nutrition, Selection, Storage & Availability Fresh spinach is high in Vitamins A and C and is a good source of iron.  Cooked spinach is an excellent source of the carotinoids carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  Spinach can be purchased loose or bagged.  To select the best loose spinach, look for small leaves with a bright, deep green color, and avoid leaves that are yellow or leathery.  There are different types of spinach, including crinkled-leaf, hybrid crinkled, plain-leaf and plain-leaf hybrid.  Do not wash spinach until just prior to eating—unwashed spinach can be stored in the refrigerator up to one week in a plastic bag.  Spinach can be frozen with special preparation for long-term storage.  Before eating or cooking with spinach, rinse the spinach leaves carefully.  Fresh spinach is available in Wisconsin from mid-June through July.

Spinach Extras A close relative to Swiss chard and beets, spinach is considered a cool season vegetable, grown in spring and fall.  The first spinach was cultivated 2000 years ago in Persia and during the Middle Ages became popular in Italian and French cooking.  People in North America were using it by the beginning of the 19th century.  In addition, spinach was the first frozen vegetable sold.  Since spinach is one of the first vegetables harvested, it is a sign of spring to many.

Information from the Wisconsin Fresh Market Vegetable Growers Association, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection and the University of Wisconsin-Extension.