One of the most consumed legumes throughout the world, spinach has always been at the center of multicultural delicacies, and for a good reason too! Not only does it add to the taste of a dish, but it also elevates the nutritional benefits offered by it.
So, when in doubt, have spinach, and you will at least be healthy. Rich in pigments, vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals, spinach can and should be consumed regularly.
As for how long spinach can last in the fridge, that’s what this article is about. Be it sooner or later, every vegetable rots, and spinach isn’t an exception. Leafy vegetables such as spinach are easily perishable, with some of their nutrients diminishing faster than the rest. Let’s look at the health benefits of spinach before getting to the expiry-related details.
Health Benefits of Spinach
1. Aids in Good Bone Health
Spinach includes vitamin K, which assists in providing good bone health. This leafy vegetable also improves the calcium absorption by the body. It contains 250 mg of calcium per cup (one of the best non-dairy calcium sources), a basic requirement for our bones and teeth. Calcium serves as a strengthening agent for bones and helps keep them healthy.
2. Reduces Blood Sugar
Spinach is deemed to have high potassium levels that are commonly recommended for people with high blood pressure. Having ample potassium through a vegetable rich in this nutrient reduces the ill effects of sodium in the body.
3. Aids in Weight Loss
If you are on a weight loss journey, it is advised to add spinach to your weight loss diet. It is low in calories, making it an absolute favorite of plant-based athletes. Given its rich nutrient profile against its slim calorie composition, spinach makes for an attractive staple in any plant-based bodybuilding diet plan.
The high amount of fiber also helps in good digestion, regulating low blood sugar, and preventing constipation. Spinach can fill you up quickly and curb your appetite, in turn keeping you sated yet making you lose weight.
4. Boosts your Immunity
Spinach being one of the sources of vitamin A is said to strengthen a human body’s entry points, such as respiratory and intestinal tracts and mucus membranes. It energizes us and keeps us active all day. So, if you suffer from immunity-deficit issues, spinach can be of immense help.
5. Reduces Hypertension
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is responsible for causing numerous heart and kidney diseases and strokes. Spinach can reduce anxiety and stress, in turn helping you keep a calm mind. It contains vitamin C to help reduce hypertension.
6. Highly Nutritious
The leafy vegetable is said to contain 250 mg of calcium per cup to promote bone health. Its magnesium content increases metabolism, regulates heart rhythm, and maintains blood pressure. Lastly, our body requires iron to use energy effectively. Consider adding some vitamin C-rich foods to spinach and improve your iron absorption capability.
Does Spinach Go Bad?
The short answer is yes! Much like any other vegetable, spinach does go bad. However, if stored well and in proper conditions, you can ensure its longevity a little more than if it is simply left out in the open without a care. Spinach has an expiry, which we will talk about soon.
When it goes bad, you will see noticeable changes in its color, texture, and smell, which will help you determine if it is past its point of retrieval. If you are wondering how to tell if spinach is bad, we have lined out a few telltale signs further below.
How Long Does Spinach Last?
So, when does spinach go bad? To understand that, we must first understand the shelf life of spinach and what it depends on. Here are a few factors that decide how long your spinach can last:
- The ‘best before’ date or ‘purchased date.’
- Preparation method: cooked or raw
- Storage method
- Storage period
Spinach is usually easily perishable, but its decreasing nutritional values over time can be a huge bother. The leaves will eventually rot, regardless of the storing method. At room temperature, fresh spinach lasts for a couple of hours only. Cooked spinach lasts for around 3 hours.
When in the fridge, fresh spinach lasts up to 2 weeks and cooked spinach up to 3 to 5 days. So, the best option is to consume it fresh as soon as possible. If you are planning to store it for a while before consuming it, consider blanching or cooking it first to prolong its shelf life.
How Long Can Spinach Last in the Fridge?
Frozen spinach lasts surprisingly long, considering its fragility. If frozen rapidly and stored aptly, you can enjoy it 12 months down the line. However, always freeze it when it is fresh. You can also buy frozen spinach. While it might taste just as good and refreshing, its processing speed sometimes entails more nutritional benefits than raw, fresh spinach.
One of the hardest challenges about buying frozen spinach is getting it back home without thawing it out. Carry a cooler to the store along with some ice packs to help keep them frozen.
Spinach Shelf Life
Here’s a detailed look at the shelf life of spinach, in all kinds of conditions:
|Fresh||5 to 7 days||6 months|
|Unopened||7 days||up to a year|
|Opened||3 to 5 days||6 months|
|Cooked||4 to 5 days||6 to 12 months|
|Blanched spinach||up to 5 days||10 to 12 months|
|Puree||up to 5 days||10 to 12 months|
Signs That Help You Know if Spinach Has Gone Bad
As we mentioned, there are a few telltale signs to understand if your spinach has gone bad. We have narrowed it down to a basic few signs. Below are some ways to find out if your spinach has gone bad:
Spinach will exhibit a strong odor when it goes awry. It’s often a sour smell of mustiness. This smell alone should be cue enough for you to hurl it out of the window and never touch it for consumption again.
Fresh spinach leaves are usually dark green or vibrant colored. But if the leaves are going stale, you can see the color turning yellow, brown, or even whitish with dark spots. When that happens, it’s best to throw them away and use these leaves as compost. Oftentimes, all the leaves might not change color, so if you are feeling daring, separate the palatable good ones.
Bad spinach has wilted leaves, though you may still be able to use them. However, if the whole bunch is wilted, it’s best to discard it. Spinach has a lot of moisture in the leaves when it goes bad, making it slimy.
How to Store Spinach to Make it Last Longer.
Fridge: Fresh Spinach
The best way to make sure spinach is fresh for a long time is to store it in a fridge below 40 F (4.5 C) temperature. Store it in the vegetable drawer and ensure it is as dry as possible.
Avoid washing it before you are ready to use it since the added moisture can lead to bacteria growth and accelerate decay. If you were to wash it, make sure it is dry before storing it.
Store it in an airtight container, heavy-duty plastic, or cling film to avoid moisture and contaminants. You can also use a paper towel right below it to absorb excess moisture.
Note that storing apples and bananas along with spinach can cause premature spoilage due to the ethylene they produce.
Fridge: Salad Spinner
If you like washing spinach before use, dry them in a salad spinner before storing it in the fridge. It will remove excess moisture and prolong its shelf life.
Freezer: Fresh Spinach
You can store your spinach for months on end after freezing it appropriately. Store whole or chopped fresh spinach in a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer. Freezing blanched spinach or puree at 0 F (- 18 C) and using it within 10 to 12 months is a better alternative.
Freezer: Cooked Spinach
Let the blanched or cooked spinach cool down thoroughly before storing it in a ziplock bag or an airtight container in the fridge for some four days. Never store it with meat or other vegetables to prevent cross-contamination and unpleasant odor.
Final Verdict | Does Spinach Go Bad?
Spinach is a tasty legume most people like to see on their plates. It has exceptional nutritional value and goes well with numerous delicacies pertaining to diverse cuisines.
If you are a spinach-lover, make sure you know the shelf life and take steps to adhere to it, if not prolong it. This way, you can reap the benefits of a healthy addition to your diet consistently.