Green and leafy - spinach is one of our more common Future 50 Foods. Discover the origins of spinach, the nutritional value it can add to your diet and different ways of how it can be prepared.
Spinach is known to have originated in Central and South-Western Asia. It stems from the Spinacia tetranda plant – a wild edible green still gathered and eaten in Anatolia. Spinach was unknown to the ancient Mediterranean world and the diffusion of spinach into the Mediterranean was almost certainly the result of Arab ingenuity.
Spinach, which does not grow well in hot weather, was successfully cultivated in the arid Mediterranean climate by Arab agronomists through the use of sophisticated irrigation techniques, reportedly as early as the eighth century A.D.
There are 3 main varieties of spinach: savoy, semi-savoy and flat/smooth-leaved. The savoy has dark green, curly leaves while the semi-savoy is slightly less curly. The smooth-leaved variety has flat, rounded leaves and is most often used in soups, baby foods or as frozen or canned vegetables.
Raw spinach has 5 times more folate, 94 times more vitamin A and almost 6x more iron than green cabbage. A portion of raw spinach provides up to a third of natural vitamin A and vitamin C that adults need for general health and wellbeing. It’s also packed with B-vitamins like niacin and folate as well as magnesium and manganese.
As one of our Future 50s Foods, you can trust that spinach is not only good for you but also better for the planet.