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From the botanical point of view, spinach can be distinguished, due to the shape of the seed, in two large groups or varieties: the round-seeded inermis, or the spiny with pointed and angular seeds. According to the shape of the leaf, which is curly, there are also numerous varieties of cultivation: the Asti hedgehog and the Giuliana; the Viking and the Nobel with broad and round leaves; Holland and Amsterdam appreciated by canneries and suitable for greenhouse crops. Due to their good production, even recent varieties such as the triumph, the winter giant, the spinach with lettuce leaves and the green summer one are still on the market. However, the taste and content of all these varieties, grown for edible purposes, do not have significant differences. The best production of this tasty vegetable is obtained from sowing carried out between July and September and from those done in February in the regions that are not very cold. The spinach leaves have a characteristic appearance and have very pronounced hump and roughness and must be harvested before the floriferous stem appears. They are a deep green color that represents the edible part of the vegetable. If not collected, the plant produces unisexual flowers that appear in May-June with irregular, smooth, thorny and angular seeds.
Spinach is usually sown directly in the garden intended for this cultivation; the most suitable soil is the loose and very fertile one; the most suitable fertilizations are those with nitrogen or with phosphorus and potassium. Excessive nitrogen, however, removes part of their food value from plants. To obtain better results it is advisable to sprinkle on the ground, on the surface, a good finely shredded and well mixed with the earth which will therefore be softer and soft; the best time to do this is to sow the previous few days. During the cultivation phase it is necessary to intervene with accurate weeding or chemical herbicides (which is more convenient if the plants are quite thick); the harvest is usually prolonged over time, also because it is often preferred to sow in different stages a few days away. Finally, it should be remembered that if the irrigations are not sufficient, the spinach can get sick, presenting the so-called "bubbling." the leaves when they are sufficiently developed; in this way, if the winter climate is relatively mild, the plants can produce another crop.
Spinach is not a real medicinal herb but it can be talked about for its qualities and to know if it contains or not contraindications for health. This vegetable is rich in mineral salts including iron, sodium, potassium and calcium. Also present are excellent amounts of vitamins A, B, C, D, and chlorophyll. Because of these characteristics, it is therefore useful for those who suffer from anemia and especially for young people who practice sports. Those who suffer from stomach acidity should refrain from the consumption of these herbs as well as those with kidney and bladder problems as it contains a high amount of oxalic acid. Spinach is widely used to wash black wool clothing, in fact, just boil a good amount of leaves and then soak the garment, wring it out and dry it.
Rich in iron and mineral salts, the spinach must be washed in running water so it can be consumed boiled in salad or sautéed with garlic and butter, or simply seasoned with oil and grated Parmesan. An unusual recipe is the one prepared with raisins and pine nuts; or the famous one of the best French restaurants ie spinach with cream. In this case you have to boil them after having thoroughly cleaned the soil and adding sea salt. When cooked, they should be squeezed and shredded and seasoned in a saucepan with the addition of pepper and cream. When they have taken on the appearance of a puree they become an excellent and refined side dish to be served hot with boiled or barbecued meat. With this vegetable you can also prepare excellent drinks, rich in vitamins and refreshing. It is sufficient to boil the leaves in plenty of water and the juice obtained is added to a glass of cold milk. We also advise you not to cook these herbs for a long time because in this case, there is a considerable dispersion of the nutrients so it is better to consume them raw.