pile of spinach on a cutting board
Beef,  Container Gardening,  Edible Gardening,  Food For Better Health,  Healthy Eating,  How Food Works,  Main Course,  Meals For Two,  Recipes,  Vegetables

Spinach Health Benefits and Easy to Grow

Spinach has incredible health benefits and it is very easy to grow.

Several of my followers diagnosed with COVID-19 told me, doctors prescribed a regimen of vitamins C, D, and Zinc to combat their “mild-cases.”

So this week I decided to write about a vegetable full of vitamins C, D, and zinc – SPINACH!

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pile of spinach leavesSpinach is a member of the beet family domesticated in central Asia.

In the late Middle Ages, the Arabs brought it to Europe.

Spaniards grew it as early as the eighth-century and eventually brought it to the United States.

Known to be rich in the aforementioned nutrients, some consider it the most important leaf vegetable apart from lettuce.

Valued for its rapid growth, mild flavor, and tender texture when briefly cooked.

How to grow your own spinach

As with most leafy greens, it is best grown in the spring and fall.

Don’t grow spinach in the direct sun – a shady area will work better.

Watering is very important as it grows best in a loam-based, moisture-retentive potting mix.

Soil should maintain an optimum pH level between 5.8 and 6.5.

Use a small to medium container if you are growing in a pot.

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Growing from seeds:

Plant seeds to a depth approximately twice the thickness of the seed, water and tamp the soil firmly.

Cover the pot with a clear plastic container or plastic wrap and wait for germination.

Keep soil moist but not saturated, and keep the pot out of direct sunlight to avoid overheating.

Remove the plastic at the first sign of sprouts.

Eventually, thin to approximately one plant per six square inches.

Growing from seedlings or transplants:

Place in a hole no deeper than the original root ball and tamp around stem firmly with your fingers.

Aphids can become a major problem for spinach, as they transmit viruses to the plants.

Spray for aphids with a biologically friendly non-detergent soap mixed with water, 1-Tablespoon per one gallon of water – I use BT. {Bonide Thuricide is an organic pesticide for controlling caterpillars, larva, and other pests.}  BUY SOME BY CLICKING HERE 

New Zealand spinach

Make sure to spray on the underneath side of the leaves as well.

To avoid disease problems, never water at night. Damp leaves can result in mildew or “white rust”.

Spinach can usually withstand a light frost.

It can be planted with peas and beans as they provide a source of natural shade for the leaves.

Also grows well with other cool-weather vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, celery, onions, and radishes.

My New Zealand Spinach from Botanical Interest is heat tolerant and did very well for me.


Harvesting leaves

Spinach has dark green leaves, depending upon the variety, may either be curled or smooth.

When leaves are large enough to enjoy, they are ready for harvesting.

Pick young tender leaves for salads, but if you want to cook the spinach, then let the plants grow bushier before harvesting.




Make sure to wash spinach well.

You can allow spinach to soak in cool water so sediment settles to the bottom of the container.

Use a salad spinner to dry the leaves then refrigerate in a closed plastic bag lined with paper towels.

Use it within 3 days for optimum flavor.

If you want to freeze it, blanch the leaves for 30-50 seconds. Squeeze or press the leaves to remove excess moisture and freeze in an air-tight container.

Spinach can also be pressure canned (that is for another post, still working on my canning skills).


green circle did you know spinachWhen in the supermarket, choose leaves that are crisp and dark green with a fresh fragrance.

Fresh spinach is available year-round in most places.

Avoid leaves that are limp, damaged, or discolored.

Frozen spinach is also available, which I use in the recipe below.

Honestly, I have never used canned spinach before.  If you have, tell me what you think in the comments.

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Obviously, it is great in salads raw, but there are other ways to serve it, just make sure to remove any tough stems.

  • Boiled – 30-60 seconds
  • Steamed – 3- 5 minutes
  • Saute or stir-fry – 4-6 minutes
  • Braised – 5 minutes

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Health benefits of spinach

Spinach is one of the healthiest of all vegetables.

spinach is loaded in


Research says spinach contains remarkable protective qualities to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, arthritis, colon, and other cancers.

Science has identified at least 13 flavonoid compounds in spinach working together as antioxidants and anticancer agents (From Container to Kitchen, by D.J. Herda)

Studies show these compounds slow down cell division in stomach cancer cells, which reduces the occurrence of skin cancers and lowers the chances of breast cancer in women.

In addition to being a powerful anti-carcinogenic, vitamin K in spinach promotes healthy bones.

Vitamins C and A levels make it good for your heart.

 Other health benefits include 
  •  lowering blood pressure 
  •  anti-inflammatory 
  •  promoting gastrointestinal health 
  •  protection against eye disease and cataracts (kale and broccoli do this too) 

Weight loss

As you already know by now, spinach is very low in calories.

A cup contains only 20 calories!

Most leafy greens do not use their leaves to store starch or sugars, so no hidden calories.

Vegetarians eat spinach for is rich iron levels.

However, the iron is what is called the “non-heme” form, like found in animal meat.

Because of this, vegetarians should compliment spinach by adding vitamin C to a meal.

This will increase the non-heme absorption up to six-fold, raising the iron absorption!

The bottom line is spinach is one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

Want an easy weeknight meal for two and get your spinach serving for the day?

I highly recommend using Amore’s Sun-Dried Tomatoes for this recipe.

These are in a dried pouch, no liquid, no oil. Rehydrate them according to the recipe for a burst of flavor!

Amore Ready-to-Eat Herb Infused Vegetables, 4.4 oz. Resealable Bags




Spinach Stuffed Flank Steak

The rehydrated dried tomatoes add a burst of flavor to the steak. Make sure to keep your flank steak as even as possible for easy rolling to make the pinwheels.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beef, cooking for two, spinach
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Resting time 5 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 195kcal
Author Dr. Timothy S. Harlan, aka, Dr. Gourmet
Cost $5


  • 1/4 cup Amore sun-dried tomatoes NOT oil-packed
  • 1/2 lb beef flank steak
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 10 oz. package of frozen chopped spinach thawed, drained, squeeze to remove moisture
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped


  • Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Soak in boiling water, just enough to cover the tomatoes, for 10 minutes. Drain. Cut into small pieces.
  • Place flank steak on a layer of plastic wrap, on top of a cutting board.
  • Score the flank steak, making shallow diagonal cuts in 1-inch intervals in a diamond pattern on both sides of the meat.
  • Place another sheet of plastic wrap on top of the steak. Working from the center to the edges, use a meat mallet to pound the steak into a rectangle, or the best you can.
  • Remove the top plastic wrap. Sprinkle the steak with the salt and pepper.
  • Spread the spinach over the meat. (I just used my hands)
  • Sprinkle on the tomatoes. Top with the Parmesan cheese and basil.
  • Starting from the short side, roll up the meat into a spiral. Secure with wooden toothpicks at 3/4" to 1" intervals. Cut between the toothpicks into slices. Mine made 5 slices.
  • Place slices, cut sides down, on an unheated rack of a broiler pan, sprayed with cooking oil (do not use olive oil). Line the bottom of the broiler pan with foil for easy cleanup.
  • Broil from 4-5-inches from heat for about 3-4 minutes.
  • Flip. Broil an additional 3-4 minutes or until desired doneness is reached.
  • Allow meat to rest for 5 minutes, then remove toothpicks before serving.


One Comment

  • Marylou

    Will Doug actually eat spinach? LOL! I have a great book if you would like to borrow in canning!! I took several classes at Clemson Extension and they called this book “the Bible of canning”… thank you for the recipe! I want to eat meat but can’t bring myself to do it!

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