It is a low-growing fleshy-leafed annual that forms a heavy rosette of broad, crinkly tender leaves. The glabrous (non-hairy) leaves, which are the edible vegetable portion, are ovate (oval, but broader toward the base) to orbicular (round) in shape with the lower leaves being wider and the higher leaves being narrower. The leaves may be savoyed (puckered) or smooth.
Leaf stems are also edible, but less preferred because of toughness. The leaves are lobed at the base and sometimes lobed on their sides.
Check for following while buying:
Spinach plants should be well-developed and stocky. They should have fresh, crisp, clean leaves of good green color. Straggly, long-stemmed, overgrown plants or plants with seedstalks are undesirable. Plants with coarse leaf stems may be tough. Wilted spinach, or decaying spinach (with soft, slimy rot) is undesirable. Small, yellowish-green heart leaves are not objectionable. Most fresh market spinach is savoy type, but leaf type (whether savoy or smooth) is not an indicator of quality.
Thursday, January 12, 2006