This green leafy vegetable, the subject of many articles, and the food children dislike, originated in the region of Iran millennia ago.

It arrived, through traders, in China via Nepal. The first recorded mention of spinach in China appeared in 647 AC. Approximately two centuries later Saracens brought the plant to Sicily (827 AD). By the 12th century, spinach was the favourite vegetable around the Mediterranean basin.

In the 13th century spinach appeared in Germany, then in France and England a century later.

We must be thankful to Catherine de Medici, Queen of France by marriage, who insisted by 1533 that she be served spinach every day, prepared in a different way. To this day, any French dish with the word Florentine contains spinach.

There are three types of spinach – Savoy dark, flat, smooth-leaf and semi Savoy.

To my palate Savoy, dark and curly, tastes best.

This delicate vegetable contains large quantities of oxidants, vitamins, and minerals including iron, magnesium, and calcium. Magnesium, according to researchers, lowers your risk of stroke, is important for bone growth, bone health, and healthy immune system.

Spinach also helps regulate blood pressure. Half a cup of cooked spinach contains 80 milligrams of magnesium and while you cannot get too much magnesium by eating it, you can by taking supplements. For this reason, doctors recommend that you not exceed a dosage of 350 milligrams daily trough magnesium supplements.

There are several ways to prepare spinach – stewing, steaming, sautéing, salads including chopped spinach in vegetable stews, mixing it with feta and layering the mixture between layers of phylo pastry, Greek style. Spanakopita, another Greek specialty, is also delicious.

Stewed spinach with sunny-side up fried eggs looks great and tastes delicious.

You can buy spinach by the bunch washed and packaged, or chopped and frozen. I prefer fresh, but it must be washed thoroughly to eliminate all soil and sand.



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