Spinach is an herb of the Amaranthaceae family with many useful properties and a pleasant taste, used both as a medicine and as an additive to various dishes. You will learn the Benefits and recipes for spinach in the thumbgarden.com article.
Characteristics of Spinach
Spinach is a 14-16 inches (35.5-40.5 cm) tall annual vegetable herb with leaves of various shapes – round, emarginate or pinnate lip, in various shades of green. Spinach matures very early, one month after the first buds appear. Spinach seeds take 3 months to mature and pollination is done by the wind.
There are several varieties of spinach. The most common is garden spinach, which has the most varieties.
New Zealand Spinach, or Tetragonia tetragonioides, which is characterized by exceptionally thick leaves, even during flowering, is a flowering plant of the fig-marigold family. It is usually grown as a leafy vegetable. It is a widely distributed species, native to East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Leafy Goosefoot (Blitum virgatum) – A 32 inches (81 cm) tall plant with raspberry-like berries.
Malabar spinach (Basella alba) Spinach can reach a height of 120 inches (3 meters) and it occurs as a vine.
History of Spinach
Spinach has been known to man since ancient times: it was grown in ancient Persia before Christ! That’s the beauty of spinach. But it didn’t reach Europe until the Middle Ages, thanks to the Crusades.
Spinach was most popular in Spain; monasteries had entire plantations of this plant. In Russia, it became known only in the 19th century.
Today, spinach can be found in almost every recipe in the world and is especially popular with health-conscious dieters. By the way, 98% of the world’s spinach is grown in China.
Special Qualities of Spinach
Spinach is a frost-resistant plant, so it is not difficult to grow in Europe. It has a neutral flavor, so it can be used as an additive in various dishes. It is best to use young spinach leaves, as older ones are more bitter.
Among all vegetables, spinach is a true champion of vitamins, as well as the micro and macro nutrients it contains. Spinach is also used as a food coloring, for example in Easter eggs.
Spinach: Health Benefits and Hazards
Spinach should be included in the diet, especially for pregnant women and children – it has a large number of useful substances: it is calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamins A, B, C, E, H, K, PP, choline.
The plant has a tonic effect and has a diuretic and laxative effect on the body. Spinach is an excellent anti-inflammatory and a plant that can help you cope with stress and recover easily.
However, you must also be careful with spinach: fresh spinach should be added to food immediately – it should not be stored for long periods of time as it accumulates harmful nitrogen salts.
When cooking, be sure to drain the first course of water which will get rid of nitrates. Be aware that spinach contains harmful oxalic acid, which can be neutralized. To do this, add a little milk to the water while cooking the plant.
Spinach is not recommended for people with kidney or urinary tract problems because it contains high amounts of oxalic acid. It is also prohibited for gout, rheumatism, and duodenal disease.
How to Choose Spinach
Buy only fresh spinach that is bright green in color. Make sure there are no black spots on the leaves and that they become crisp when pressed. Store the plants in a container of water in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days without washing them first. However, spinach leaves can be frozen – in this case, they will retain their useful properties in the refrigerator for several months.
How to Make Your Own Dressing
If you decide to make your own spinach spice, do the following: pick fresh leaves before the plant blooms, rinse and dry them. Keep the temperature at 113 °F (45°C). Then place the dried leaves in a glass container and seal tightly. Store the herbs in a dark place and crush them before use.
Calories and Nutritional Value of Spinach
Spinach is a dietary food: 100 g of fresh leaves of this plant contains only 22 kcal, in heat-treated – 23 kcal.
The same amount of the plant – 2.9 g of protein, 0.3 g of fat, 2 g of carbohydrates, 91.6 g of water, 1.3 g of dietary fiber, 0.1 g of organic acids, the same amount of unsaturated fatty acids, as well as 1.9 g of mono- and disaccharides, 0.1 g of starch, 0.1 g of unsaturated fatty acids.
More Related Information About Growing Spinach
Uses of Spinach in Cooking
Spinach is a great addition to canned foods, a delicious filling for pies, and a healthy side dish for meat and fish dishes. The plant is added to vegetable salads, snacks, or sauces, to mashed potatoes, various desserts, and pastries for a nice green hue.
Spinach can be added to meat steaks to help the body digest the meat and make it juicier. Spinach juice is very useful: it cleanses the body, relieves fatigue, is good for the gastrointestinal tract, helps to beat asthma and dry cough, inflammation of the tonsils and gums.
If you lead a sedentary life, consider this drink. To fill your body with vitamins and tone it up, drink 1-2 glasses of spinach juice per week. Children can also go without medication: it is recommended that they eat spinach-almond oil-green apple smoothies, which you can prepare in a blender.
A. A healthy breakfast
You can start your day with a vitamin breakfast with spinach: just add it to parmesan or put it in a cheese sandwich – it will give you energy all day long.
B. Spinach puree soup
The list of ingredients is as follows.
Potatoes – 1.
Onion – 1.
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon.
Salt – to taste
Chicken stock – 250-350 ml
Ginger – cut a piece about 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Black pepper – moderate amount
Frozen spinach – 400 g
Finely chopped garlic – 3 cloves
Olive oil – 2 tablespoons.
The procedure is as follows.
Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic, onion, and ginger and sauté for 3-5 minutes until softened. Put the spinach in and pour the lemon juice into the pan. Once the spinach has melted, add the stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes. Pour the soup into a blender or food processor and puree. Return the soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Serve with cilantro sprinkled over the soup.
Cooking time: 15 minutes. This recipe serves 2 people.
C. Fish tacos with spinach
The ingredient list is as follows.
Start cooking 3 hours before serving.
100 ml milk
2 tablespoons of flour
A pinch of nutmeg
1 egg yolk
50 grams of butter
300 g halibut or plaice fillet
200 ml double cream
500 g frozen spinach
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
500 g salmon fillet
Salt, freshly ground pepper
The operating procedure is as follows.
Heat the milk until it is almost boiling. Sift the flour into a bowl with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the egg yolks. Stir with a wire whisk and add the warm milk and melted butter.
Place the mixture in a saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it begins to separate from the sides of the pan. Set aside to cool.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Chop the white fish fillets in a blender. Add the cooled milk and flour mixture. Then add the beaten egg whites. Alternatively, beat the cream with a mixer to a lush froth and gradually add it to the mixture. Place the mixture in the refrigerator.
Pour the spinach into a small amount of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Rinse in a colander, squeeze out the excess water with a spoon, and mash the spinach. Add the egg yolks, bread crumbs, and 2 tablespoons of the white fish and egg mixture. Stir and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Slice salmon fillets into thin slices. Butter a long baking sheet and cover it with parchment paper. Add half of the fish mixture. Score a notch along the length of the tin with the bottom side of a spoon. Cross the salmon fillets so they are slightly on top of each other.
Place the spinach filling along the line of the grooves. Shape it into a cylinder.
Wrap the edges of the salmon around the top of the stuffing. Place the rest of the white fish mixture on top. Cover with a piece of greased parchment paper. Cook in a preheated 356 °F (180°C) oven for 1 hour. Let stand in the oven for 1 hour, cool for 2 hours, and remove from the mold and fillet.
To gently remove the fish rolls from the mold, cover with an appropriately sized tray or cutting board. Flip quickly and wait for all the cooking juices to run out. Then remove the mold, wrap the rolls in plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for a few hours.
D. Chicken and spinach pie
The ingredient list is as follows.
For the filling.
Nutmeg – 1 teaspoon.
Chopped green onion – 2 tablespoons.
Egg yolk – 1.
Skinless chicken breast – 500 g.
Spinach – 250 g
Cottage cheese from the market – 250 g
Salt, black pepper
For the test.
12% cream – 3 tablespoons.
Flour – 350 g
Butter – 125 g
Salt – 0.3 teaspoon
leavening agent – 1.5 teaspoons.
Eggs – 2 pcs.
Step by step recipe
Prepare the dough. Soften the butter and beat it to make a crumbly crust. Add the eggs and cream. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a pile on the table. Make a well in the center of the cake pile and gradually pour in the cream and egg mixture. Knead into a soft dough, roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Roll out 2/3 of the dough into a thin layer on a lightly floured surface. Return the remaining dough to the refrigerator. Butter a rectangular baking dish (about 900 ml) and line it with pastry. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Wash the spinach, cut off the stems and cook in a saucepan, without adding water, over low heat until the leaves are tender. Place in a colander and press down with your hands to drain off all the liquid.
Mix the cottage cheese with the nutmeg and egg yolks. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Wash the breasts and cut them into thin strips. Place a third of the chicken pieces in the bottom of the pastry tin. Top with half of the curd and sprinkle with chopped green onion and spinach. Repeat the layers, ending with the chicken pieces.
Preheat the oven to 356 °F (180°C) Roll out the set piece of pastry and place it on top of the cake. Press the edges firmly together and cut off any excess dough. Prick the crust with a fork and bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cooking time – 2.5 hours. This recipe serves 8 people.
Medical Uses of Spinach
Spinach is good for constipation, sore throats, and anemia. To make it, pour 1 tablespoon of mashed plant leaves into 200 ml of boiling water, steep for an hour, and strain off. Take 50 ml before meals.
To get rid of hemorrhoids, take 100 ml of spinach juice and 100 g of almond oil. Mix the various ingredients and drink a little at a time during the day.
If you suffer from tuberculosis or tumors, take 10 grams of spinach leaves, pour 100 ml of boiling water, and steep for 2 hours. Take a 50 ml infusion three times a day.
To recover from an illness or surgery, mix 50 ml of fresh spinach juice with 200 ml of dry red wine. Drink 1 glass per day.