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Produce Facts: Spinach

Jan 29, 2016
Spinach is filled with nutrients such as iron, calcium and vitamin K. Spinach is best eaten fresh, because it loses nutritional properties with each passing day. Although refrigeration slows the deterioration, half of the major nutrients are lost about a week after harvest.

Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these minerals. To improve absorption, it should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods.

In the 1930’s, U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption –  a welcome boost to an industry during the depression era. In 1937 growers erected a statue in honor of Popeye the comic strip sailor.

Birds Eye was the first company to advertise frozen spinach. It did so in Life magazine in 1949. It was the first frozen vegetable to be sold.

Spinach grows best in cool (not freezing) moist conditions, such as spring and autumn, and grows well in sandy soils.

Important Facts

  • Fresh spinach should be loosely packed in sealed plastic and refrigerated.
  • Good-quality spinach will have broad, thick, and crisp dark green leaves. The stems will be unblemished and free of mud.
  • Avoid product with thin, limp leaves that are pale-green or yellow.    

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