Spinach is a popular vegetable that can be enjoyed raw in salads and sandwiches, cooked in soups, or sautéed as a side. Spinach, best grown in mild climates with an abundance of fertile, high-quality soil and water, put Crystal City, Texas on the map in 1917. This southern area of Texas is best known as the Wintergarden region and is recognized by farmers for its long growing seasons. From 1930-50, the Wintergarden region experienced a “spinach boom,” making Texas the top spinach producing state in the US. Over time, consumer demands influenced production in Texas, leading to varieties such as “baby” and “teen” flat-leaf spinach, according to Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Horticulturist. From 2006-16, Texas experienced a 29 percent increase in spinach production, jumping from 32,025 tons of spinach produced to 41,215.
Other than being a popular commodity in Texas, spinach has many nutritional benefits, including its high vitamin and mineral counts, caloric density, and its contributions to heart health. Nutritional facts for 100g (or 3 ⅓ cups) of spinach:
- 2.86g of protein
- 3.63g of carbs
- 0.39g of fat
- 28.1mg of Vitamin C
- 469μg of Vitamin A
- 482.9μg of Vitamin K
- 194μg of Folate
Spinach is also very low in calories; one cup of raw greens contains roughly 7 calories (USDA).
While spinach is often served raw in salads, it can also be enjoyed in soups, pasta and dips. AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight has developed a plethora of recipes to incorporate spinach into your meals as the main ingredient, including Chicken and Spinach Lasagna, Spinach Quiche, Black bean and Spinach Quesadillas, and Spinach Pasta Toss. To find more nutritious spinach recipes, visit dinnertonight.tamu.edu/.
As always, if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to call (903) 455-9885, email Sarah.Latham@ag.tamu.edu, or come by the Hunt County Extension office, 2217 Washington Street, Greenville, Texas, 75401. You can also read more about this and many more topics on my blog, http://agentsarah.blogspot.com/
Sources: USDA. (2019). Spinach. SNAP-Ed Connection. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/spinach.
Written by: Sarah Latham, County Extension Agent, FCH