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Popeye could’ve had even bigger muscles if instead of popping open a can of spinach, he bought some from his local farmer.

Whether you prepare the leafy green simply by adding it to a salad, wilting it into an omelette, or get fancy and make spinach fettuccine, the veggies are colorful enough to brighten up any dish.

Hellenic Snack Bar and Restaurant in East Marion first added the classic Mediterranean pie featuring spinach to its menu in 1978. 

“Spanakopita is a mixture of feta, eggs, spinach, onions and dill that is baked in between layers of filo dough,” said chef and owner George Giannaris. “When it is baked, you have a flaky, buttery crust on the top and the bottom of the dish, and we serve it shaped like a rectangle.”

According to Giannaris, the key is to drain as much of the water from the spinach as possible to prevent the filo dough from getting soggy. To get the perfect spanakopita, the right ratio of all the ingredients must be there.

“The mixture is fluffy. There is a gentle balance between the saltiness of the feta and the sweetness of the sautéed onions. The proper proportion of eggs is necessary,” Giannaris said. “You don’t want it to be like a quiche and you definitely don’t want it to taste eggy. The eggs behave more like a binder.”

To make your own version, head to Bayview Market and Farms in Aquebogue or look out for them at farm stands across the North Fork.

Spinach Fun Facts

• Raw spinach is over 90 percent water.

• California is the U.S.’s largest spinach producer, taking up about three-quarters of the market.

• The fame of Popeye the Sailor led to a 33 percent increase in spinach consumption in the 1930s.

• In medieval times, spinach’s green pigment was extracted for ink.

Courtesy of the fact site

Five Health Benefits of Spinach

• High in vitamins A, C and folate

• Good source of magnesium

• Can boost your immune system

• Can prevent vision-related and heart disease

• Full of antioxidants

Courtesy of the Mayo Clinic