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Where Does Spinach Come From

Spinach is an edible green leafy plant that can be eaten both raw and cooked. It is used in a variety of recipes and is well known for its high nutritional value. It contains a number of important vitamins, minerals (such as iron) and antioxidants. The spinach plant only grows to about 30 cm (12 in) and the edible leaves are usually oval to triangular in shape to a maximum of 30 cm (12 in) long and 15 cm (6 in) wide. There are many varieties of spinach, but the most common variety is known as Spinacia oleracea (called common spinach). Let’s find out where spinach comes from and where it is grown today.

Where does spinach originate from?
The wild ancestor to modern spinach is native to the Middle East along with central and western Asia. It is believed that spinach was domesticated in Persia (modern day Iran) and spread into India and China (about 650 A.D.) from here. It was introduced to Sicily in 827 and Spain in the 12th century. It spread to Germany, England and France a few hundred years later. Today, it is grown around the world.

Where is spinach grown today?
The largest producer of this vegetable is China and significant amounts are also grown in the United States, Japan and Turkey. Spinach is grown on all continents (apart from Antarctica), although commercial spinach production is usually restricted to cool and temperate climates.

Did you know?
Spinach was known as “Persian vegetable” in China.

Spinach has been responsible for a number of well known cases of E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks. Many spinach producers now use radiation to kill any harmful microorganisms. This is harmless to humans and does not negatively affect the nutritional value of this vegetable.

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