How many times have you purchased a big bag of spinach with the intention of eating a healthy diet just to leave it in the fridge and forget about it?
You are not alone if you have already done this, though.
But how can you know if the spinach is still OK to eat or if it’s expired? How may spinach be stored to extend its shelf life?
Continue reading to learn more about the shelf life of spinach, how to store it properly, and how to determine when it has gone bad.
How To Store The Spinach?
According to the Institute of Agriculture at the University of Tennessee, the best storage practice for spinach is to keep it in a plastic bag without washing it in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin.
The plastic will help protect the fresh spinach from ethylene from the other vegetables and fruits in the fridge. This will ensure that it remains fresh and edible for longer.
The reason for storing it unwashed is that once you wet the spinach leaves, they will start spoiling and become slimy much faster. If you have purchased pre-washed spinach, it is ok to store it because the manufacturer has dried the leaves.
Once you cook the spinach, you should store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, just like you would with other cooked veggies and foods.
What Is The Shelf Life of Spinach?
Spinach is a very healthy green, but just like kale, it has a short shelf life.
While it is impossible to say exactly how long you can store the spinach, on average, you can expect it to last for only about 3-5 days after its best-by date.
Fresh spinach from your garden or the farmer’s market can maintain its texture and nutritional qualities for up to two weeks.
If your goal is to take advantage of the nutritional benefits of spinach, then the earlier you eat it – the better. The reason is that the quality of spinach will begin degrading pretty quickly.
As for cooked spinach, you can expect it to last for about 3 to 5 days when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you want to store your spinach smoothie, you should keep it in the fridge and will need to drink it within the next 1-2 days. For longer-term storage, you can freeze and store the smoothie for up to three months.
To prevent food wastage and save money, always aim to buy as much spinach as you plan to use soon.
If you are not certain that you can use up the whole bag of spinach before it starts deteriorating and going bad, you can switch to buying and stocking up on frozen spinach instead.
Or, if you want to preserve your fresh spinach for longer, you can freeze it yourself. Just keep in mind that it will be wilted and watery when it thaws, so frozen spinach is more suitable for cooked or blended foods than for salads and direct consumption.
What Are The Signs That The Spinach Has Gone Bad?
Spinach that has been stored for too long or has not been stored properly will start showing obvious signs of deterioration.
The leaves will start becoming slimy and moldy, which is a clear sign that you must throw them away.
If you notice wilting or yellowing leaves, then the spinach may still be good to use. But if all of them have turned yellow, then the spinach is too old to be used.
You can use yellowing spinach as an ingredient in a dish. This way, its deteriorating quality, and taste will be less noticeable.
As a rule of thumb, if the spinach doesn’t look ok, or you have your suspicions that it has gone bad, it is probably time to throw it away.