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 and 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.

Suggested cooking methods

Boil, microwave, steam, stir fry.

Nutrition

Spinach deserves its reputation as a health enhancing vegetable, being a good source of both nutrients and phytonutrients. It is a good source of folate, vitamin K, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a source of iron, magnesium, and contains a dietary significant amount of potassium. It 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 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.

SPINACH- ENGLISH Raw      
Nutrition Information        
Serving Size: 1 cup chopped = 50g  
  Average Quantity % Daily Intake per serve Average Quantity  
per serving per 100g  
Energy (kJ/Cal) 37/9 0% 75/18  
Protein (g) 1.3 3% 2.5  
Fat, total (g) 0.2 0% 0.4  
 - saturated (g) 0.02 0% 0.05  
Available carbohydrate (g) 0.0 0% 0.0  
 - sugars (g) 0.0 0% 0.0  
Dietary Fibre (g) 1.1 4% 2.2  
Sodium (mg) 5.3 0% 10.6  
Folate (µg) 100 50% RDI* 199 A good source of folate
Vitamin A Equiv. (µg) 202 27% RDI* 403 A good source of vitamin A
Vitamin K (µg) 57 72% ESADDI** 115 A good source of vitamin K
Iron (mg) 2.2 18% RDI* 4.4 A source of iron
Magnesium (mg) 37 12% 74 A source of magnesium
Potassium (mg) 355   710 Contains potassium
Niacin (mg) 0.5 5% RDI* 1  
Riboflavin (mg) 0.12 7% RDI* 0.24  
Thiamin (mg) 0.0 0% RDI* 0.0  
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.08 5% RDI* 0.16  
Vitamin C (mg) 1 4% RDI* 3  
Vitamin E (mg) 0.0 0% RDI* 0.0  
Calcium (mg) 35 4% RDI* 69  
Selenium (µg) 0.0 0% RDI* 0.0  
Zinc (mg) 0.3 3% RDI* 0.6  
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)
**Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake
 
Source: FOODfiles 2016        

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

For these images and many more please visit our image library.