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Cooking with Types of Greens - Spinach and its Health Benefits

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 can overcome.


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 health benefit.


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.
 

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