American consumption of this bittersweet, leafy vegetable jumped by a third during the 1930s. Spinach growers of the time credited this hike to Popeye, the cartoon character who was supposed to get his legendary strength from consuming cans of it.
Although the powers of spinach were highly overstated by Popeye, this tender vegetable does contain many important nutrients. It is particularly high in vitamins A, C and K, folate (B vitamin) and contains iron. A relative of beets, chard and quinoa, spinach is fast growing and suited to cooler climates where it can be cultivated all year round.