Spinach originally came from Persia (now Iran), and then the green, leafy vegetable made its way to China in the 7th century, when the king of Nepal sent it as a gift.

Spinach was eventually brought to Europe in the 11th century when it was introduced to Spain by the Moors (Muslims).

Spinach is thought to have originated about 2000 years ago in ancient Persia, from which it was introduced to India and ancient China in 647 AD.

Spinach became a popular vegetable in the Arab Mediterranean and arrived in Spain by the latter part of the 12th century.

Spinach first appeared in England and France in the 14th century, probably via Spain, and gained common use because it appeared in early spring when fresh local vegetables were unavailable.


Spinach began being cultivated in North America by the early 19th century.

It has been popularized by the cartoon character Popeye, who attributes his extraordinary strength to a daily diet of the green, leafy vegetables. When Popeye made his debut on January 17, 1929, spinach became the third most popular vegetable.

According to USDA’s Economic Research Service figures, annual consumption of all kinds of spinach (fresh, frozen and canned) jumped 66 per cent in the decade between 1992 and 2002, primarily due to the availability of pre-cut, bagged spinach.

In 2018, world production of spinach was 26.3 million tonnes, with China alone accounting for 90% of the total.