Once upon a time, you have considered stocking up more bags of spinach at home since you want to increase your vegetable intake as part of your total lifestyle change program.
A few days later, you got a few packs that have passed the date, and you’re scolding yourself for buying more than you need for the week.
You noticed that they look okay, but you’re wondering if you can still consume them.
Is this the situation you’re experiencing right now?
You might also be asking yourself: “Does spinach go bad?”
Unfortunately, leafy greens or vegetables, in general, are highly perishable foods, and spinach is no exception. The length of the spinach’s shelf life will depend on several factors, such as the expiration date, the preparation method, and the quality of food storage.
You’re not alone! Food situations like this happen, and we’re glad that you have stumbled across our post!
Let us help you understand all you need to know about your spinach concerns:
- What is the shelf life of spinach?
- How to tell if spinach is bad?
- How to store spinach to last longer?
What Is Spinach?
Spinach, of the Amaranthaceae family, is a leafy vegetable flowering plant that is native to western and central Asia. Its edible leaves are typically consumed raw in salads, cooked for main or side dishes, or preserved by canning, dehydration, and freezing.
We all know that including leafy greens such as spinach in our diet offers excellent health benefits. We can get a good dose of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and K and iron, potassium, and calcium.
How Long Does Spinach Last?
A pack of store-bought spinach usually comes with a “Best-by” date. However, If you buy them in the farmer’s market, you won’t see any expiration dates or “Best-by” dates at all. That’s kind of tricky to tell on how long you can keep your spinach as you’ll have to rely on your judgment, right?
The length of its shelf life and overall quality of the leafy spinach is generally affected by several factors such as harvest date, season, and storage condition.
1. Fresh spinach leaves
Thanks to its protective bubble pack, an unopened bag of fresh spinach can last for 5 to 7 days more after the best by printed date.
Once opened, this leafy green will be subjected to air and moisture exposure, hastening the deterioration. It will shorten your spinach’s shelf life, and it will only hold its freshness for up to three days (sometimes 5 days if stored properly).
Yes, you can still keep your fresh spinach a few days more after the date. However, the longer you keep it in storage, its nutrient content also diminishes.
2. Frozen spinach leaves
The shelf life of store-bought frozen spinach can apparently last from 10 to 12 months.
It’s good to have some frozen spinach around. However, it doesn’t taste as good as the fresh ones.
Tip: To better preserve the quality of your store-bought frozen spinach, bring an ice-filled cooler with you when you go to the store. That way, you won’t have to worry about your frozen spinach thawing on your way home.
3. Cooked Spinach
If you have cooked spinach, you can keep it for three to five days in the refrigerator.
How to Tell if Spinach Is Bad?
Now that you have an idea of spinach’s shelf life, let’s talk about spoilage.
You will need to rely on your senses to help you identify if your spinach has gone bad. To determine if your spinach is already spoiled, look for these signs:
- Darkened color or blackened edges on the leaves. Fresh spinach naturally get darker as it ages.
- Slimy, moldy, and moistened texture. As the leaves get darker, you’ll also notice that it becomes wet and slimy. That’s a sign that your spinach is letting go of its natural moisture. And take note that a moist environment invites molds to thrive.
- Rotten smell. When spinach loses its natural moisture, it will eventually produce a rotten smell – a musty and sour smell.
- Wilting and loss of crispness. Yellowing is a sign that your spinach leaves are wilting. Does it mean that you should throw it away? Some people may not need to discard a few yellowing leaves and just use them for cooking, and some prefer not to eat them. It’s generally up to you if you think you can still save a few pieces of slightly wilted spinach leaves.
How To Store Spinach to minimize spoilage.
It would be best that you should purchase the brightest, greenest, and crispiest spinach that you can find in the market. The fresher the leaves, the longer you can store them.
For pre-packed or store-bought spinach, avoid the ones that have lots of condensation inside. The added moisture in the package can shorten the shelf life of your spinach.
The best way to store spinach
To lengthen the shelf life of your spinach, here are a few things that you should do to minimize spoilage.
1. Wash the leaves on the day you will use them.
Generally, you should not wash any vegetables before putting them in the food storage, especially if it is not for immediate use. The addition of moisture to your fresh leaves can shorten their shelf life. You will only have to wash it if it is time to use it.
2. Keep it in an airtight plastic container.
An airtight plastic container or a resealable vegetable bag can prevent contaminants and help keep the moisture out.
If you are going to use an airtight container, we advise that you place a layer of paper towels at the bottom And put a layer of spinach on top of it. Repeat this alternating order until you have filled up the container. The paper towels will help draw any excess moisture from the leaves to keep them fresh and crispy.
3. Put it in the refrigerator.
Storing your spinach in the refrigerator can help keep your spinach fresh. You should make sure that your spinach is dry before placing it inside the refrigerator’s vegetable drawer or crisper drawer. Using a salad spinner can help dry your spinach.
Can You freeze fresh spinach?
Of course, you can. Freezing spinach is a great way t keep them for a longer time. You will need to blanch the leaves before storing them in the freezer. Here’s a quick procedure on how to freeze spinach at home:
- Wash your spinach and remove any leaves that have already wilted. You’ll also need to get rid of the matured thick stems as well.
- Blanch the leaves in a pot of boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes.
- After blanching, drain the water, then put your blanched spinach leaves in a bowl of ice-cold water immediately to stop the cooking process. Leave it there for a couple of minutes.
- Remove your spinach from the bowl and squeeze out of the water as much as you can.
- Divide your spinach into serving portions. You can use large ice cube trays or ball them up in your hands. You will need to freeze them first, too.
- After freezing your cubed or balled spinach, that’s the time you can put them in the freezer bag. Don’t forget to label the freezer bag with the date.
Frequently Asked Questions
In a nutshell, spinach is a highly perishable food that can only be stored for a few days past the date. Putting them in the fridge can help extend their shelf life for 5 to 7 days more.
For you to keep it for a more extended period, we suggest freezing them. However, don’t expect that frozen spinach is as green and crispy as the fresh ones.
Discard the spinach if you notice signs of discoloration, wilting, sliminess, mold growth, and rotten smell.