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9 Different Varieties of Spinach

Everywhere you look, from cartoons to well-known recipes, spinach is being hailed as a superfood that not only provides you energy but also has nutrients that are beneficial to your overall health. Spinach has been a staple in human diets for countless generations. There are several species of this wild green that may reach a height of 30 centimeters and with leaves that are 15-30 centimeters across. Spinach begins growing as a tiny fruit with a 10mm radius. These fruits emerge from small flowers that measure only 5mm.

Persia, which is now Iran and a number of other neighboring nations, is where spinach originated from. Many think that this tasty green comes from an edible plant called Spinacia Tetranda, which may still be located in Anatolia to this day. It was nicknamed “Persian vegetable” due to its roots originating in Persia around 647, after which it moved to India and China.

Literature written by Al-Razi (Rhazes), Ibn Wahshiya, and Qustus-al-Rumi contains the first documented reference of spinach in the Mediterranean region in the 10th century. Mathematician and translator Ibn Hajjaj wrote about spinach in the 11th century. In the 12th century, Europeans brought green vegetables to the Middle East, and there it quickly formed as a part of the region’s cuisine. The Germans first discovered it, after which the Spanish did. In Spain, Spinach became a necessity during Springtime as no other vegetable grew there at that time. The Spanish then introduced Spinach to France and England in the 1500s. It was referred to as “the chieftain of leafy greens” by the famous Arab agronomist and horticulture, Ibn al-Awwam, meaning “the captain of leafy greens.”

By the 14th century, Spanish spinach variants had spread over most of England and France.

Fun Fact: Spinach’s popularity increased when Catherine de’ Medici became France’s new queen in 1533. This edible plant was included with every meal she had since she loved it so much while growing up in Florence. Spinach is a staple in several cuisines. These cuisines are dubbed “Florentine.”

There is no doubt that spinach variants that were introduced by Catherine de’ Medici during her reign have become a staple in many households worldwide. It’s understandable that you would question, “What are the most common types of Spinach?” Continue reading to learn more.

Spinach Comes in Many Forms

Spinach cultivars with flat leaves, semi-savoy leaves, and savoy leaves are all readily available. Each of these cultivars has a variety of subtypes that flourish in varied climates and seasons.

Varieties of spinach are discussed in further detail in the next section.

1. Spinach Variety: Savoy Spinach

Savoy spinach on a wood plank table.

The scientific name for savoy spinach is Spinacia oleracea, and the term “curly-leaf spinach” refers to the shape of the leaves. Crisp and brittle, the leaves of the wrinkly plant are a dark green color and have curled edges. When compared to conventional spinach, the flavor and texture of savoy spinach are quite different.

Because of the harsh taste, it’s usually cooked rather than eaten raw. Savoy spinach may be purchased fresh, frozen, or canned in a variety of different ways at any grocery store.

Savoy spinach is used in salads because of its distinctive look due to its length. Beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folate abound in Savoy spinach, making it a great food source. Two cups of raw, chopped savoy spinach have just 13 calories for those on a low-calorie diet.

This type of spinach can be cooked for a long amount of time without losing its shape or texture, making it ideal for making meals with spinach. As an alternative for collards, chards, and kale, savoy spinach is popular. There are several common combinations of garlic, dried fruit, onion, meat, and poultry. Spaghetti with spinach is a common element in many different cuisines throughout the world. Flavorful ingredients to use in the preparation of savoy spinach include various kinds of cheese and nuts as well as eggs.

Remember that spinach is a cool-season vegetable from the goosefoot family. You should cultivate it in temperate climes instead of harvesting it in hotter ones. The coast of California is the most typical location for growing this vegetable.

Savoy Spinach is further subdivided into the following categories:

The Regiment Spinach

Spring and October are ideal times to cultivate this cultivar’s wide-leaved hybrid. Spinach seedlings sprout in about 37 days, maturing into dark green arrows with a rich taste. Savoy spinach may be cooked in a variety of ways since it has a strong flavor.

When eaten raw and fresh, the flavor and texture are delicate and crisp. You may also cook it in creamy pasta sauces, soups, and spaghetti.

The Bloomsdale Spinach

Bloomsdale spinach growing on a planter.

Long, curling dark-green leaves make Bloomsdale spinach one of the oldest varieties. As soon as the weather warms up, it’s ideal to bring your plants outside so they can get lots of sunlight and water.

During the growth season, it may need 1-1/2 inches of water every week. A rain gauge is usually the best method for determining how much rain has fallen in a particular area. When the leaves are approximately 3 inches long, snip off the little ones.

Popeye has a serious addiction to Bloomsdale spinach, in case you didn’t know.

2. The Semi-Savoy Spinach Variety

Semi-savoy spinach with pale green leaves growing in a summer garden.

The texture and flavor of this spinach are comparable to those of savoy spinach. The leaves are simpler to detach off stems since it is less crinkly than savoy spinach.

Because of its anti-disease properties, this is the best option for growing at home. Vitamins A and C, and E, as well as beta-carotene and glutathione, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, are all found in this spinach, which is a good source of these nutrients.

There are four fundamental types of this crispy spinach that you can see in the images below.

Tyee

Thicker and less-crunchy leaves of Tyee spinach can be found in comparison to savoy spinach. Raw or cooked, Tyee spinach, a semi-savoy spinach relative, has a great flavor.

Tyee is best planted in the fall and harvested in the early spring when the temperature rises to 40 degrees. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, Tyee seeds may be planted any time of year, even in the cooler months of late spring.

Catalina

Catalina spinach, also known as baby leaf spinach, is a beautiful, oval-shaped green vegetable. Fast-growing vegetables that can withstand high temperatures take no more than 40 days to reach maturity. You may start planting now, even if it’s still too early for the dog days of summer. Specialists propose that Catalina be cultivated between 45- and 75-degrees Fahrenheit in spring or fall, according to their guidelines. Catalina’s gorgeous green foliage won’t be harmed by a little frost or summer shade. Compared to other semi-savoy spinach, the leaves of this spinach are believed to be tastier and smoother.

Teton

Teton’s leaves are dark green, delicate, fast-growing, and upright as a highly healthy hybrid plant.

Because Teton lacks the ability to bolt, it is less able to survive the warm summer months. Because of this, it is best to sow Teton seeds during the colder months. If this continues, they may no longer be able to produce Teton spinach. Tender Teton spinach has a high concentration of vitamin A, C, and B-complex vitamins, which are present in abundance when it is fully developed and plucked. Seeds of Teton need to be sown every two inches and fully covered with soil.

Indian Summer

Close-up of Indian summer spinach with bright yellow green leaves and tiny pinkish flowers.

A kind of semi-soy spinach, Indian summer produces dark green and crisp leaves between 10 and 12 inches long, making it simple to cultivate. As temperatures drop, Indian summer is ideal for growing. It takes around 35 to 40 days for spinach to be ready for harvest. If you’ve ever grown a plant before, you’ll have an edge when it comes to keeping Indian Summer. Watch out for bugs and pesticides in the soil.

3. The Smooth Leaf Variety of Spinach

Top view of fresh, smooth leaf spinach in a bowl against concrete.

Unlike savoy or semi-savoy spinach, the leaves of this spinach are broad and flat, making it easier to clean. Flat-leaf spinach is preferred by home gardeners and gourmet alike for these reasons. Availability in supermarkets has increased due to the fact that it may be preserved in a can or frozen for extended periods of time. It is often served in a single serving because it is so delicate and sweet. Among the many benefits of flat-leaf spinach are weight loss support and a variety of health benefits, including bone and eye health and a reduction in hypertension.

The Flat-leaf Spinach Variety may be divided into two categories based on the qualities of the spinach:

The Space Spinach

Space spinach with green foliage growing in a garden.

Spinacio oleracea, the space spinach, can thrive in a variety of soil situations. Due to its acid sensitivity, the pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Sprouting space spinach seeds as soon as the earth thaws in spring is the optimal time for the best germination outcomes. When it comes to seed germination, the summer months can be a challenge. During the hottest months of the year, irrigation can aid in the germination of crops and keep the soil cool. Spinach should be sown in late summer for an autumn crop. Make sure your plants get enough nitrogen and water on a regular basis. If you want to grow it properly, you need to plant rows of seeds every 10 to 14 days.

The Red Cardinal Spinach

Red Cardinal spinach with yellow green leaf lined with a red hue against white background.

Red cardinal spinach contains red veins in its leaves and red stems resembling beet leaves, as its name suggests. If you like red cardinal spinach in your salads, you’ll have to pick it quickly since it bolts more quickly than any other spinach. In spring/summer, red cardinals mature in 21 to 32 days, while in fall/winter, they grow in 25 to 35 days. It is best to grow red cardinals at temperatures ranging from 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit with at least six hours of direct sunshine and a moderate amount of water. If you want to raise your own red cardinal and have a tiny garden, start spreading its seeds. You don’t need a large garden to get the best out of red cardinal since it can thrive in even the smallest of spaces.

Other Varieties of Spinach

Spinach from New Zealand

Close-up of New Zealand spinach with bright green leaves.

As the technical name for New Zealand spinach indicates, Tetragonia expansa is a good container vegetable as well as a vegetable for hot climates. New Zealand spinach, in contrast to other varieties, thrives in the early summer months. The fig-marigold family includes this flowering spinach (Aizoaceae). On sandy beaches, it grows only in eastern Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. To reach its mature state, it must first climb up other plants before it may dangle precariously from them.

Picking a plant is recommended after it has reached a length of 3 inches to 15 centimeters. New Zealand spinach is ready to be harvested when a thick, triangular leaf is dripping with water. A yellow flower and capsule-shaped fruit with small horns adorn the plant when it is in bloom. New Zealand Spinach tastes and feels exactly like any other sort of spinach. Oxalates in the soil must be removed by irrigation, much as they are with spinach. If you live in a different part of the country, you may know this historical vegetable by several names. Hence, the names “Cook’s Cabbage” and “Kokihi,” respectively.

The Malabar Variety of Spinach

Malabar spinach with green foliage clustered on red stalks.

Despite its resemblance to spinach in flavor, Malabar spinach is not a member of the spinach family. Malabar spinach, a member of the basellaceae family, may be found in the Northeastern US. This crop may have originated in India or Indonesia, depending on who you ask. These plants, Basella Alba and Basella ruba, are suitable for growing throughout the hottest months of the year because of their thick green stems and reddish-brown stems. Malabar spinach, like other forms of spinach, thrives in dry circumstances, much like other spinach. Plant Malabar spinach seeds one-inch deep and one-inch apart in rows.

Harvesting Malabar spinach takes between 55 and 70 days after seeding. When the stem reaches about six to eight inches in length, it’s done. There are a variety of names for Malabar spinach, just like New Zealand spinach, based on where it’s cultivated. Known in English as Vietnamese spinach, Malabar spinach is native to India. Many additional names exist in China, including Shan Tsoi, Shy Chieh, Lo Kwai, and Luo Kai. In Indonesia, Paag-Prung in Thailand, and Mong-Toi in Vietnam, Jingga is known as Gendola and Genjerot.

So from the above-listed categories of spinach you have not tried yet, do buy it when you get the chance – you won’t regret it!