Popeye's favourite vegetable, spinach comes in perennial (winter) and annual (summer) forms.
Sow seeds directly in their final growing position.
- Late spring - midsummer in sub arctic areas
- Spring - summer in areas with cold winters
- Late summer - late winter in areas with cool winters
- Late summer - early winter in temperate areas
- Mid autumn - mid winter in warm arid, subtropical and tropical areas
Spinach may be harvested as soon as it is large enough - usually between 8 and 10 weeks after seed germination.
Spinach can be eaten raw in salads although it does contain some oxalic acid so those with kidney or gallbladder problems may want to want to avoid that. The leaves can be 'wilted' and served with a variety of foods, especially ricotta. They can also be used to make savoury snacks such as spinach triangles.
Spinach contains iron but unless the leaves are boiled or steamed (not commonly done) to remove a substantial amount of the oxalic acid, the iron cannot be absorbed. The leaves do however, also contain high levels of vitamins K, A, C, B2, folate and E as well as manganese, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Spinach also contains a range of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) which have been shown to reduce the risk of a variety of cancers, prevent heart disease and which are also anti-inflammatory.