Spinach

Spinach originated in Asia and was introduced to Europe by Arab traders during the 13th century.

When cooked and chopped, the taste is similar to silverbeet, however, spinach has a milder flavour. Spinach and silverbeet can be interchanged in recipes.

Varieties of spinach

Baby spinach

Young spinach leaves are often included in salad mixes and sold with other salad greens. Baby spinach has round to oblong leaves with a mild flavour.

New Zealand spinach

This is a native that grows wild, has triangular leaves and trails over the ground. It is generally cooked as the leaves are coarse and slightly furry when raw. The flavour is similar to standard spinach.

What to look for

Choose crisp green leaves with no signs of wilting or blemishes.

Availability

All year.

Store

Refrigerate in plastic bags and use promptly.

How to prepare

Trim stalks and wash. Cook spinach without additional water; the water that clings to the spinach after washing should be enough. Remove the stems only if eating raw, otherwise slice and cook with the leaves.

Ways to eat

Spinach can be eaten raw in cold or warm salads or cooked abd used as a side dish, in soups or pasta sauces. It is popular in egg dishes such as soufflés, omelettes or quiches. The classic dish, Eggs Benedict, includes spinach.

Cooking Methods

Boil, microwave, steam, stir fry.

Nutrition

SPINACH
Boiled, drained
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup 75g
  Average
Quantity
per serving 
% Daily
intake per
serve 
Average
Quantity
per 100g 
 
Energy (kJ/Cal) 61/14 0.70% 81/19  
Protein (g) 2.1 4.20% 2.81  
Fat, total (g) 0.3 0.40% 0.4  
 - saturated (g) 0.035 0.10% 0.047  
Carbohydrate (g) 0 0 0  
 - sugars (g) 0 0 0  
Dietary fibre (g) 1.73 5.80% 2.3  
Sodium (mg) 3.68 0.10% 4.9  
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.98 61.3% RDI* 0.13 A good source of vitamin B6
Folate (µg) 99 49.5% RDI* 132 A good source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 298.73 39.8% RDI* 398.3 A good source of vitamin A Equiv.
Iron (mg) 1.36 11.3% RDI* 1.81 A source of iron
Potassium (mg) 255   340 Contains potassium
Calcium (mg) 66 8.3% RDI* 88  
Riboflavin (mg) 0.11 6.5% RDI* 0.14  
Niacin (mg) 0.495 4.9% RDI* 0.66  
Zinc (mg) 0.31 2.6% RDI* 0.41  
Vitamin C (mg) 0.9 2.3% RDI* 1.2  
Vitamin E (mg) 0 0% RDI* 0  
Selenium (µg) 0 0% RDI* 0  
Thiamin (mg) 0 0% RDI* 0  

Percentage Daily Intakes are based on an average adult diet of 8700 kJ
Your daily Intakes may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.
*Recommended Dietary Intake (Average Adult)

Source: The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables, 10th Edition, Plant & Food Research - 2014

Spinach deserves its reputation as a health enhancing vegetable, being a good source of both nutrients and phytonutrients. It is a good source of vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), B6 and folate. Spinach is also a source of iron plus contains potassium.  Spinach is also low in energy (kilojoules). The phytonutrients of most importance are the carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin), flavonoids and other phenolic compounds. It should also be noted that spinach contains oxalic acid which can decrease the body’s absorption of calcium and iron from spinach. Cooking can reduce the effect of oxalic acid.

Retailing

Spinach is highly perishable so correct storage is essential to prolong life. Display on refrigerated shelving. Packing in plastic bags helps to retain moisture and therefore quality. Ensure spinach is kept moist. Use QR code on labels.

Store at 2-5°C with a relative humidity of 90-100%. The optimum storage temperature is 0°C, but because of the risk of the product freezing a slightly higher temperature is recommended. Spinach is ethylene sensitive so store separately from ethylene producing products.

Purchase spinach with the New Zealand GAP logo.

Recipes

Bacon and egg salad
Bacon and egg salad

This will be a favourite for bacon and egg lovers. View Recipe

Greens galore
Greens galore

This is a great way to present green vegetables, hot or as a chilled salad. View Recipe

Spring vegetable soup
Spring vegetable soup

The vegetables in this soup are very lightly cooked and taste juicy and succulent. View Recipe

View more Recipes

Images

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