References to Popeye the Sailorman might be a little outdated in the 21st century but those who remember the mid 20th century will remember him – and the miraculous effect that spinach had on his strength! While those effects might be a little exaggerated, there is still lots to love about spinach.
Spinach is available all year round but is in season during the spring and early summer – which is fantastic here in Scotland as there is little else growing so early in the season.
It has long been valued as a plant that can restore energy levels, increase vitality and improve the quality of the blood.
It is rich in iron, which plays a central role in the function of red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body.
Spinach is also an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2. Vitamin K is important for maintaining bone health and it is difficult to find vegetables richer in vitamin K than spinach.
And it is really easy to grow, just sow seeds 2.5cm deep in rows 30cm apart, or spinach can be grown in a large container. Sow seeds every few weeks from mid-March to the end of May.
The leaves will be ready to pick in just a few weeks, you can pick-and-come-again on individual plants and by regular sowing, you will have tasty green leaves throughout the summer.
The leaves can be eaten raw in salads, added to soups and stews or cooked as a vegetable. There are lots of great recipes here
Here is a really quick idea, Spinach and Blue Cheese Salad.
Mash some blue cheese, crème fraîche and seasoning in a bowl. Add water until it is smooth and pourable. Put some washed spinach onto a plate, scatter over some walnut pieces and then drizzle with the blue cheese dressing. EASY PEASY!