Table of Contents
- How Do I Know If Spinach Is Bad, Rotten, Or Spoiled?
- Best Instructions For Storing Spinach In The Fridge
- How To Use Spinach For All Nutritive Benefits?
- Final Thoughts
Spinach is one of the most consumed leafy green vegetables throughout the world. Spinach is a rich source of vitamins, pigments, minerals, and phytonutrients. Due to the substantial range of health benefits from this leafy vegetable, many people consume it regularly.
Whether sooner or later, every vegetable eventually rots, and spinach is not an exception. Leafy veggies like spinach are easily perishable, and some of its nutritional values diminish even faster, so it’s always best to consume it fresh.
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The self-life of spinach is quite short, however considering that most people have a refrigerator in their homes, spinach can last much further. It’s hard to imagine living without home appliances such as the fridge, given the several advantages and amenities it has. Irrespective of its state, spinach can keep relatively well in your fridge.
If you have bought fresh spinach from a batch, you can put it in a bag and store it in the fridge, which will retain its freshness for around 5 to 7 days. Otherwise, if you store without placing the spinach in a bag, or leave it open, it will only last 2 to 3 days after purchase.
How Do I Know If Spinach Is Bad, Rotten, Or Spoiled?
Detecting spoilage or rotting in vegetables is quite easy, particularly in leafy green veggies. When the spinach is old or poorly stored, it shows various signs of decay, some of which mean that the spinach is spoiled, and you should immediately discard it. Here are some of the common signs that indicate spoilage in spinach leaves.
Fresh spinach leaves are typically dark green or have vibrant colors. If the leaves are going bad, you will notice the color turning yellow, brown, or whitish with several dark spots. In this case, it’s best to throw them away or use the leaves as compost. Sometimes all the leaves in the bunch may not change color, so you can separate the good ones that are palatable.
2. Leaves with Holes
Spinach leaves that are too old will have holes in them, and the stalks might also discolor, which makes them unpleasant to consume.
Leaves turning slimy is another indication of rotting, and you should discard them.
4. Wilted Leaves
Wilted leaves with withered or torn edges are a sign of spoilage. Such spinach won’t last long. Always keep this in mind while buying spinach and pick only the ones that are firm and fresh.
- Even when you are buying packaged spinach, always check for all these signs.
- Pre-packaged spinach leaves typically come with an expiration date, so remember to check the expiry date before purchasing.
Best Instructions For Storing Spinach In The Fridge
Most working people buy vegetables in bulk that can last for at least one to two weeks as they don’t have the time to visit the supermarket very often, and some prefer going for grocery shopping only once a month. Keeping your vegetables fresh for that long could be challenging.
Improper storage is the primary reason behind nutrient loss and spoilage in veggies like spinach. Green leafy vegetables are highly sensitive and short-lived, so you must handle these with care if you want them to last longer. Here are some of the best and most useful suggestions for storing spinach in your fridge.
1. Don’t Wash the Spinach Before Storing
When you wash the leaves before storing, the moisture that remains on the leaves from washing will only attract microorganisms that will spoil your spinach faster. These usually develop in moist environments, so only store the spinach dry. You can wash the vegetable when you are ready to prepare a dish with it.
2. Use a Proper Container
The perfect storage items for refrigerating leafy vegetables such as spinach are air-tight plastic containers, heavy-duty plastic bags, or cling film.
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Use a paper towel as a lining before placing the spinach to keep moisture away from your veggies and retain freshness.
3. Store in an Organized Way
Before storing the spinach, remove all the leaves that show any signs of spoilage. Assemble the leaves without cramping them up in the container. Lay the spinach leaves on top of each other without applying too much pressure.
Avoid storing the spinach beside bananas and apples as they produce ethylene, which can cause premature spoilage of the leafy green veggies.
4. Maintain Adequate Temperature
If the temperature in your fridge gets below 32° F, the spinach can freeze, so make sure you set it above that. Always store the spinach at a relatively low temperature, although the ideal temperature is 39° F. Keeping the spinach in an appropriate temperature will lower the loss of nutrients.
As the nutrient loss process slows down, you can enjoy the best and the most nutritious spinach even after several days. Again, if the fridge gets above 50 °F, it will promote nutrient loss, so make sure you balance the temperature correctly.
5. Freeze the Spinach
You can preserve the spinach for as long as twelve months by freezing it. Freeze fresh spinach leaves by placing them in a Ziploc bag and storing it in the freezer. You can either freeze the leaves whole or chopped, but chopped leaves will lose the nutrients faster.
If you wish to preserve its nutrients longer, blanching or making puree is a great option. For blanching, you must boil the spinach in water for two minutes and then dip the leaves in ice water for five minutes. Dry the leaves using a paper towel before placing them in the Ziploc bag and storing it in the freezer at 0°F. Both blanched and pureed spinach can last for 10 to 12 months.
- Always wash the spinach thoroughly before blanching or making puree.
- Remember to squeeze the air out before sealing the bag and use only heavy-duty bags.
- Store the spinach in batches so that you can use different batch for preparing different meals and prevent spoilage.
6. Consider Storing Cooked Spinach
Spinach can also be cooked and stored in the fridge. When properly refrigerated, cooked spinach can last up to 4 days. Many people who work prefer pre-cooked meals as they don’t have the time to cook every day. Most of them cook all the meals for a week at one time and store them for later. Air-tight containers and Ziploc bags are ideal storage items for cooked spinach.
- Store the container in the crisper drawer.
- Never mix cooked spinach with other veggies or items such as meat, as it can cross-contaminate or pick up unpleasant odor when stored for long periods.
How To Use Spinach For All Nutritive Benefits?
The fresher the spinach, the more nutrients you will get. Spinach is a versatile vegetable, and you can consume it in many different ways. Either eat it raw in salads or cooked alone or as an ingredient in side dishes or main.
Spinach has several essential nutrients. Some of the nutrients such as folate, niacin, vitamin C, riboflavin, and potassium will be more available to your body if you consume them raw.
Raw spinach contains oxalic acid, which is an organic component that can hinder the absorption of necessary nutrients such as calcium and iron. Steaming or sautéing the spinach for a few minutes will break down the oxalic acid.
Adding raw spinach juice in drinks is also very beneficial for your health. However, you should avoid extreme diet, as consuming only green juice continuously for long periods can cause kidney stones, and in some cases, even kidney failure due to excessive consumption of oxalates.
Consuming cooked spinach helps in absorbing higher levels of protein, vitamins A, K, and E, thiamine, fiber, calcium, zinc, and iron. Your body will also be able to absorb more essential carotenoids like lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin.
- There have been reports of Salmonella and E-coli poisonings from spinach more than any other vegetables, so always wash it thoroughly before use.
- Young spinach leaves with thin and flexible stalks are perfect for raw salads, while the older and mature spinach leaves with thicker, firmer stems are ideal for cooking.
- Over-cooking or boiling the spinach can result in nutrient loss.
- Pureed spinach leaves can enhance your body’s ability to absorb healthy nutrients. Use spinach puree for more benefits.
- Adding Vitamin C containing substances or acidic liquids such as lemon juice or vinegar in raw spinach salads can increase calcium absorption.
- Adding fat such as olive oil to raw or steamed spinach will help free up the beta-carotene content and promote absorption.
Hopefully, by now, you have figured out the best and easiest way to store spinach in your fridge, so you can take full advantage of all the nutritional benefits that it has to offer. This superfood has several nutrients and healthy qualities for boosting your immune system. Unfortunately, spinach is highly perishable, so handle it gently and apply proper storage techniques to maximize its usage.