National Spinach Day
Spinach is a vegetable that’s not only packed with nutrients but can also be used in an almost endless number of different dishes. Unfortunately, too many people think of it as a vegetable that they would rather not eat, or they think of it as only something that’s eaten by the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor. That’s slowly changing, luckily, partially due to more chefs using spinach in their dishes and partially due to its profile being raised by holidays such as National Spinach Day—a holiday that’s celebrated on March 26th every year.
The History of Spinach
No one is really sure about the history of National Spinach Day, so we decided to delve into the history of the plant represented by this holiday. Spinach is a plant that was originally known as “aspanakh” and originally came from Persia. During the seventh century, spinach was brought to China—the result of a gift sent by the King of Nepal. After completing its rounds in Asia, spinach then made its way to Medieval Europe during the eleventh century when the Moors introduced it to Spain.
From Spain, spinach traveled all over Europe, and when it entered England, it was first known as the Spanish vegetable. It traveled to Italy during this time and became the favorite vegetable of Catherine de Medici of Florence, Italy. She would take her love of spinach, along with a cook skilled at preparing it, when she married King Henry II of France. This had such a profound influence that even today dishes prepared on a bed of spinach are known as à la Florentine.
During the 19th century, spinach made its way to North America, but it didn’t gain widespread popularity until Popeye appeared in the King Features comic strip entitled Thimble Theater during January of 1929. Popeye was a spinach-guzzling sailor that was popular and would become a series of theatrical cartoons produced by Paramount Pictures during the 1930s.
Facts About Spinach
Below are some of the fun facts that we found about spinach that we would like to share with all of you right now. We hope these facts will inspire more people to enjoy this vegetable more often.
- The first company to advertise frozen spinach was Bird’s Eye in 1949.
- During the Middle Ages, the green pigment was extracted from spinach for use as a paint or ink.
- During the 1930s, Popeye increased spinach sales by 33%.
- There’s a Popeye statue at Segar Park in Chester, Illinois.
- There’s also a Popeye statue on top of a water fountain in Popeye Park in Alma, Arkansas.
Celebrating National Spinach Day
National Spinach Day is a holiday that can be celebrated by taking the time to work spinach into your day, even if you think that you don’t like it. Spinach can be prepared in any number of different ways, and sometimes the difference between great-tasting and poor-tasting spinach is how it was prepared. If you do make a delicious dish using spinach, be sure to take a picture of it and post it on your social media accounts using the hashtag #NationalSpinachDay.