Posted by admin | Posted in Spinach | Posted on 01-06-2016

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Spinach can help prevent macular degeneration.  Good thing I like it.  http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/spinach-helps-protect-eyes-macular-degeneration

Spinacia oleracea
[spin-AH-see-ah   awl-lur-RAY-see-uh]

Family: Chenopodiaceae

Names: Ch’Ih Ken Ts’Ai, Epinard, Espinaca, Ispanak, Ispinakh, Po Leng Ts’Ai, Po Ssu Ts’Ao, Po Ts’Ai, Spinagh, Spinazie; Spenat (Swedish); Spinat (norwegian); Spinat (Danish); Pinaatti (Finnish); Spinat (German); Epinard (French)

Description: Well-known vegetable, with broad sharp-pointed leaves and spikes of tiny green flowers

Cultivation: Plants grow best and produce their heaviest crop of leaves on a nitrogen-rich soil. They dislike very heavy or very light soils. They also dislike acid soils, preferring a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Plants require plenty of moisture in the growing season, dry summers causing the plants to quickly run to seed. Summer crops do best in light shade to encourage more leaf production before the plant goes to seed, winter crops require a warm dry sunny position. Young plants are hardy to about 16°F.  Most new cultivars are of the round seeded variety and these have been developed to be more resistant to bolting in hot weather, more cold tolerant, to produce more leaves and also to be lower in calcium oxalate which causes bitterness and also has negative nutritional effects upon the body.  Some modern varieties have been developed that are low in oxalic acid. Edible leaves can be obtained all year round from successional sowings. The summer varieties tend to run to seed fairly quickly, especially in hot dry summers and so you need to make successional sowings every few weeks if a constant supply is required. Winter varieties provide leaves for a longer period, though they soon run to seed when the weather warms up.  Spinach grows well with strawberries. It also grows well with cabbages, onions, peas and celery. A fast-growing plant, the summer crop can be interplanted between rows of slower growing plants such as Brussels sprouts. The spinach would have been harvested before the other crop needs the extra space. Spinach is a bad companion for grapes and hyssop. Sow seed in situ from March to June for a summer crop. Make successional sowings, perhaps once a month, to ensure a continuity of supply. The seed germinates within about 2 weeks and the first leaves can be harvested about 6 weeks later. Seed is sown in situ during August and September for a winter crop.

Properties: Carminative; Febrifuge; Hypoglycaemic; Laxative.

Constituents: The plant contains saponin, especially in the roots.  The leaves are rich in calcium and contain iron, iodine and chlorophyll, flavonoids, quantities of Vitamins C and K, folic acid and Provitamin A.

Medicinal Uses: Still used mainly for food.  The leaves are rich in minerals, particularly iron and calcium, and are recommended for anemic persons.  It also supplies vitamins A, C, and K and folic acid.  It is best grown organically, as chemical fertilizers tend to lower the vitamin content. A food for convalescence and for growing children.  In experiments it has been shown to have hypoglycemic properties. It has been used in the treatment of urinary calculi.  The leaves have been used in the treatment of febrile conditions, inflammation of the lungs and the bowels. The seeds are laxative and cooling. They have been used in the treatment of difficult breathing, inflammation of the liver and jaundice.  The folate in spinach can reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by almost 33%.
Spinach protects the eyes’ macular pigment from age related macular degeneration.  It does this by using its own healthy yellow macular pigment as a protection from blue light.   This macular pigment is made up of three yellow carotenoids, specifically lutein, zeaxanthin and meso-zeaxanthin.  Towards the middle of the macula, zeaxanthin is more concentrated, reaching 75 percent. Away from the middle, the dominant component is  lutein, with 65 percent or more of the total. Among all tissues, the macula contains the highest concentration of these carotenoids.  When our consumption of these important carotenoids runs low, the macular pigment shield of the macula thins. This can progressively happen with age, but it can also run low among those with low levels of these nutrients – lutein and zeaxanthin – in the diet.  Most blindness is a result of macular degeneration.  A thicker macular pigment density also can significantly improve our vision. It can help prevent photosensitivity for example. Thicker pigment can also help us view natural environments and see at night.  Our diet can significantly change the pigment.  Spinach consumption increases macular pigment.  Researchers in Japan, Germany and Britain have confirmed this.  Maybe  Popeye WAS right.

Culinary Uses: Tender young leaves can be added to salads, older leaves are used as greens or added to soups etc. The leaves contain oxalic acid (6 – 8% in young leaves, 23 – 27% in the cotyledons).  The seeds can be sprouted and added to salads.  Chlorophyll extracted from the leaves is used as an edible green dye.

Other Uses: A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves.

Sunflower Spinach

2 lbs fresh spinach
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp oil

½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
½ tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp water
3 tbsp seedless sultanas (golden raisins)
2 oz sunflower seeds
Wash the spinach and remove any tough stalks or discolored leaves.  Chop coarsely.  Fry the onion in 2 Tbsp of the oil until lightly colored.  Add the spices and fry for a further minute, stirring well. Add the spinach, water and sultanas and stir until well coated, then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, by which time the liquid will have been absorbed and the spinach cooked. Fry the sunflower seeds in Spi remaining oil until golden, stir into the spinach and serve immediately.  (The Hot and Spicy Cookbook)

Sorrel Soup with Potherb Dumplings
For the soup:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 leeks, trimmed, split, rinsed, and finely diced
¼ lb sorrel (about 3 cups)
2 quarts water or vegetable stock
lb spinach (about 4 cups packed)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the olive oil in a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent but not colored, about 12 minutes.  Stir in the sorrel and cook until it begins to break apart, about 5 minutes. Add the water, spinach, lemon juice, and zest and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Process with a handheld blender or in a food processor or blender until just pureed

1 ½ cups chives (cut in 1-inch lengths)
2/3 cup tarragon leaves
6 cups parsley leaves
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish, if desired
pinch of grated nutmeg
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ cup flour
1 ½ cups matzo meal
Put the chives, tarragon, and parsley in a food processor and mince. Add the ricotta, eggs, egg whites, Parmesan, nutmeg, salt, pepper, flour, and matzo meal and process until well mixed.  Shape into 1- by ½-inch ovals with your hands. Place on a sheet pan and refrigerate about ½ hour.  Bring a 1-quart saucepan of salted water to just under a boil and cook the dumplings in batches until cooked through, about 5 minutes each batch.  Divide them among 6-8 soup bowls and ladle the sorrel soup over the top.  The dumplings are best eaten immediately.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan, if desired.  (The Greenmarket Cookbook)

Mushroom, Spinach & Walnut Paté
¼ cup olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 lb chopped mushrooms
1 minced garlic clove
3 Tbsp sherry
¾ tsp crushed rosemary
2 Cups spinach
1 1/3 cup walnuts
1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs
1/3 cup parsley
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
Heat oil and sauté the onion, mushrooms and garlic until soft. Add sherry and rosemary and simmer until liquid is absorbed.  Put mixture in processor and process with chopped spinach and walnuts until chunky.  Add cheese, eggs, chopped parsley and nutmeg. Put into an oiled loaf pan; cover with foil and cook in a pan of water at 375F for 1 ½ hours. Let cool for 1/3 hour, then weight down with a plate for 1 hour. Room from pan and slice; cool. Serve at room temperature. Serve on crackers.  (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Mine)

Quinoa with Lemon, Greens and Spring Herbs
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 to 4 cups fresh spinach or kale (1 bunch), chopped
2 lemons
½ cup fresh mint leaves or 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
Sea salt to taste
Pour quinoa into a strainer and rinse. In a medium pot, bring broth to boil. Stir in quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering about 15 minutes, until quinoa expands and absorbs all liquid. Fluff with a fork. Stir in coriander. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add pepper flakes and chopped greens, stirring until greens are just wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add quinoa and stir gently to combine. Grate in the zest of both lemons, squeeze in juice and add chopped mint. Stir in sea salt to taste. May be served hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Per serving: 218 calories (25 percent from fat), 7 g fat (1 g saturated, 3.5 g monounsaturated), 0 cholesterol, 8.8 g protein, 36.4 g carbohydrates, 6.4 g fiber, 629 mg sodium.

Excellent article: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/spinach-helps-protect-eyes-macular-degeneration 
The Greenmarket Cookbook, Joel Patraker & Joan Schwartz, Viking, 2000; ISBN: 0-670-88134-1
The Hot and Spicy Cookbook, Sophie Hale, Quintet Publishing, 1987; ISBN: 1-55521-060-0
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Mine, Susan A. McCreary, 11597 Strawberry Patchworks Book, 1991; ISBN: 0-9608428-5-3
Southern Herb Growing, Gwen Barclay, Madalene Hill, Shearer Publishing, 1987; ISBN: 0-940672-41-3

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