Why do we love National Spinach Day (March 26th)?
Because it may be one of the healthiest food-related holidays of the year! Just check out some fun facts about it:
- Spinach is an edible, flowering plant native to central and western Asia. It is thought to have originated in Persia (modern day Iran) and was later introduced to India and ancient China and then to Sicily, Germany, England and France.
- Dishes served on a bed of spinach are known called Florentine. This is because it is believed to have been the favorite vegetable of Catherine de Medici, who was born in Florence. Who knew?
- There are three different types of spinach. Savory spinach is dark and has crinkly leaves. This is typically what you buy at the super market. Flat- or smooth-leaf spinach has smooth leaves and is typically used for frozen or canned spinach, soups, baby food, and processed food. Semi-savory spinach is a hybrid that’s sold fresh or processed.
- Spinach is famous due to the 1930’s cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man, who became stronger after eating a can of spinach. Popeye’s popularity increased consumption of spinach in the U.S. by 33% in the 1930’s. There’s even a statue of Popeye in the spinach-growing town of Crystal City, Texas.
- Spinach is one of the most versatile vegetables. It can be eaten raw, cooked, boiled or sauteed. It is best to consume spinach fresh to get the most nutritional benefits.