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It is an annual plant (rarely biennial) growing as tall as one foot. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate regions.
In a 100 g (3.5 oz) serving provides only 23 calories, Spinach has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh, frozen, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, iron, and folate. Spinach is a good source of the B-vitamins riboflavin and vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.
The three basic types of spinach are:
'Savoy' has dark green, crinkly and curly leaves. It is the type sold in fresh bunches in most supermarkets in the United States. One heirloom variety of Savoy is 'Bloomsdale,' which is somewhat resistant to bolting. Other common heirloom varieties are 'Merlo Nero' (a mild variety from Italy) and 'Viroflay' (a very large spinach with great yields).
Flat- or smooth-leaf spinach has broad, smooth leaves that are easier to clean than 'Savoy'. This type is often grown for canned and frozen spinach, as well as soups, baby foods, and processed foods. 'Giant Noble' is an example variety.
Semi-savoy is a hybrid variety with slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture as 'Savoy', but it is not as difficult to clean. It is grown for both fresh market and processing. 'Tyee Hybrid' is a common semi-savoy.