Spinach Health Benefits
The most completing reason for going to
all the trouble of preparing types of greens fresh spinach is, basically, flavor. The
difference between garden fresh spinach, cooked only hours after
picking, and the quick to fix, frozen, variety is enormous. Frozen
spinach is fine in cooked dished, especially if there is no fresh
spinach in the market, but if you plan to eat it plain, or simply
creamed, there is no substitute for fresh. Fresh spinach is truly a
sublime vegetable, well worth the effort it takes.
While spinach has been grown in Europe for several hundred years, it
was known in the Middle East long before it was brought west by Arab
traders. It is still a favorite vegetable in Iran, turkey, and Greece,
where it is baked into pastries, made into stews with lamb or beef,
combined with oranges, and eaten on its own, simply cooked with onions
and maybe a little chopped tomato.
There are tow major drawbacks to preparing types of greens fresh spinach: the
prodigious quantities needed for feeding more than two people, and its
maddening quality of carrying large amounts of dirt with it from the
garden to the kitchen. There is no shortcut for dealing with either of
these problems. Spinach wilts substantially when heated, and a large
kettle full of fresh leaves will produce hardly a cup of cooked
vegetable. It is a time consuming task to pull the stems from all the
leaves you will need, but I think spinach cooked with the stems ends up
being almost too stingy to eat. And if you have ever eaten inadequately
washed spinach and gotten a mouthful of grit, you know why it is
essential to clean it extremely carefully.
The leaves must be washed in quantities of water, changed several
times. After each washing, the leaves must be taken out of the water
and set aside. Do not let the water drain through the leaves or the
dirt and grit will simply settle back on them and you will be right
back where you started. Home grown spinach may need as many as three or
four water changes, especially if it rained jus t before it was picked.
Commercially packaged spinach has been pre-washed, but still should be
thoroughly rinsed before using.
You will find several kinds of spinach in the market. Savoy is the very
dark green, curly leaf variety that is often sold in the prepackaged
plastic bags. There is a slightly paler green, flat leaf variety, which
is increasingly more available and is a little easier to clean. New
Zealand spinach, or tetragonia, has light green, triangular leaves and
is not really spinach at all. It collect less grit, however has smaller
stems, is easier to clean and has a deliciously delicate flavor that I,
personally enjoyed very much.
While frozen spinach can have a good taste and is certainly easier to
use than fresh, especially if you are going to chop it finely, there is
absolutely nothing to recommend the canned version. It is overcooked,
salty and has a decidedly metallic flavor that no amount of doctoring
And regardless of what Popeye says, types of greens spinach is not the muscle building
paragon of a food that it might seem. Types of greens spinach health
benefits including large quantities
of oxalic acid that combine with the considerable amounts of calcium
and iron in the leaves. The combination cannot be absorbed by the body
and passes through almost virtually untouched. While types of greens spinach is also a
good source of protein, it should be eaten along with rice or other
grains, meat, or dairy products in order to derive maximum spinach
All is not lost, however. Spinach health benefits are very low in calories, has no
cholesterol, and contains large quantities of beta carotene as well as
vitamin C. The antioxidant qualities of the beta carotene could help in
preventing some kinds of cancer.