When asked to think of a leafy green vegetable that is good for your health, many think of spinach!
However, do you know that spinach actually belongs to a different food family than a lot of other leafy green vegetables?
While leafy green vegetables such as kale, mustard, turnip greens, bok choy, arugula and collard green all belong to the cruciferous family, spinach falls into another family called the chenopod or amaranth family. The chenopod or amaranth family, also scientifically known as the Chenopodiaceae or the Amaranthaceae, contains not only vegetables but grains amaranth and quinoa as well.
Within the Spinacia oleracea species, there are a lot of different varieties of spinach. The most popular varieties are the savoy, semi-savoy, and the flat-leafed. The savoy are varieties of spinach that have curly leaves, while the flat-leafed spinach often has smoother and wider leaves.
Spinach originated from and has been cultivated for thousand years in the Middle East. With increased trading over time, spinach has migrated and now gained popularity around the world. Currently, China produces the greatest amount of spinach in the world.