Baby Red Okame Spinach
Inventory, lb : 0
Red Okame spinach produces rich green, multiple-lobed, spear-shaped leaves with contrasting red stems and veins. At full maturity, the leaves can measure an average of 25 to 30 centimeters long, though they are often harvested at a smaller size. The leaves are thick and large, offering a mild mineral flavor and succulent texture. Harvested in the baby stage, Red Okame spinach has a texture and taste more like baby spoon spinach.
Red Okame spinach available in the late spring and through the summer months.
Red Okame is a cultivar of Japanese spinach, sometimes referred to as arrowhead spinach. Botanically known as Spinacia oleracea, Red Okame spinach is often referred to as Red Asian-leaf spinach or Red Arrowhead spinach. This variety is often harvested when young, when the leaves are more tender and delicate. There is also a second Okame cultivar with green stems. Red Okame spinach is not as common in the United States as it is in Japan and Europe.
Red Okame spinach is an excellent source of antioxidants, in the form of carotene. The leaves are high in lutein and contain carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, calcium, iron and folic acid. They also contain high amounts of magnesium, potassium, and small amounts of B-complex vitamins. For optimum nutritional value, eat Red Okame spinach raw or lightly cooked.
Red Okame spinach can be used raw or cooked. Young leaves are used as a salad ingredient for both their flavor and their color. The raw leaves can be used for sandwiches or added at the last minute to hot pastas or grains. Pair with fresh citrus and berries, nuts, strong cheeses, and vegetables like peas, corn, tomatoes, and asparagus. Baby Red Okame spinach is complimented with vinaigrettes, fresh herbs, garlic, toasted bread, and beans. Mature leaves hold up against the heat and are well-suited for sauté, stir-fry or adding to soups and stews. Store Red Okame spinach in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Blanched leaves can be frozen and kept for up to 6 months.
Seeds for Red Okame spinach are grown in Denmark, the world’s largest producer of spinach seeds. Denmark’s geographical location and climate lend well to the development of seeds for different types of growing conditions. Since the 1970s, Denmark has proven to be an important partner for spinach breeders. Japan is one of their primary partners.
Red Okame spinach is native to Japan. It was developed by the Takii Seed Company during the 1980s as a warm season variety. It is a prolific variety that appeals to home gardeners because it grows quickly and can be harvested at any stage. The Asian-leaf spinach cultivar is popular in Japan and Europe. Only a few farms in the United States grow Red Okame spinach and tend to specialize in Japanese greens or Asian vegetables. Red Okame spinach is most likely spotted in home gardens, at farmer’s markets or specialty Asian markets.