Spinach is a popular leafy vegetable packed with vitamins and minerals. These vegetables are a favorite to use in salads, cooking, and even health drinks. Spinach is highly perishable and will go bad really quickly. Therefore, most will wonder how long that bag of spinach or that freshly harvested spinach from the farmer’s market will last.
So, how long does spinach last? At room temperature, fresh spinach will last for a couple of hours, while cooked spinach will last for about 3 hours. In the fridge, fresh spinach will last up to 2 weeks, while cooked spinach will last 3 to 5 days. In the freezer, frozen spinach will last up to a year.
Above is just an estimated time of their shelf life. Other factors affect their shelf life such as when spinach was bought, the storage temperature, and where it’s stored. Therefore, the spinach can have a longer or a shorter shelf life than what’s in the chart below.
In this short guide, we’ll go through how long spinach lasts, proper storage, how to tell when they are bad, and how to keep them fresh longer. If that’s the information you’re looking for, keep reading.
Spinach Shelf Life
|Fresh Spinach last||1-2 Hours||2 Weeks||1 Year|
|Cooked Spinach last||3-4 Hours||3-5 Days||1 Year|
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How Long Does Spinach Last?
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At room temperature, fresh spinach will last for a couple of hours. If the room temperature is hotter than normal, expect it to start going bad within an hour.
For cooked spinach, they should be consumed within 3-4 hours. Otherwise, they will start to spoil at room temperature. If the room temperature is very hot, expect the spinach to last no longer than 1-2 hours. You’ll have to transfer them to the fridge to keep them lasting longer.
In the fridge, fresh spinach will last up to 2 weeks. If you bought them in a package, they will last a little longer than 2 weeks if the package hasn’t been open yet. If it has, expect the spinach to last no longer than a week. To keep spinach lasting longer, transfer them to a sealable plastic bag or an airtight container. This will extend their shelf life for about another week.
For cooked spinach stored in the fridge, the leafy vegetables will last for about 3-4 days. They should always be stored in an airtight container to preserve their freshness. If not, they will start to become slimy and go bad really quickly.
In the freezer, spinach will remain fresh for up to a year. Make sure you blanch them first to retain their nutrition and flavors. Otherwise, the spinach will not last longer than 6 months. They will be still safe to eat, but you won’t be getting all the nutrition that you should out of it.
Can Spinach Go Bad?
Like lettuce and other leafy vegetables, spinach will go bad over time. This can be a couple of hours to a week. The temperature and where it’s stored is an important factor in determining when the spinach will go bad.
Spinach is a vegetable that contains a high amount of moisture in its leaves. Therefore, if it’s stored in a hot room, the leaves will start to dry out quickly and go bad. To prevent the leaves from losing moisture, it’s best to store them in a cool place.
In the fridge, spinach can still go bad if it’s not stored properly. If the spinach is stored in a container that’s not sealed tightly, the air can get in the container and cause the leaves to lose moisture.
How To Tell When Spinach Is Bad?
When spinach goes bad, like every other vegetable, there will be signs to look out for. While the spinach is in the process of decaying, you may still have some time to eat or use them if you know what to look for.
There are key things to look out for when determining if your spinach has gone bad:
Wilting – Bad spinach will have wilted leaves. If some leaves are wilting, you may still be able to use them. However, if it’s all wilted, it’s best to discard it.
Leaves Discoloration – Another sign spinach has gone bad is the color of the leaves. The colors will usually turn from bright green to yellow. When it turns to yellow, the spinach has lost all of its nutrition.
Sliminess – Since spinach has a lot of moisture in its leaves when it goes bad, the leaves will become slimy. If you were to slide the leaves between your finger, there will be no friction due to the slims.
Odors – Spinach will have a strong odor when it goes bad. The most common smell will be a sour smell or mustiness. This smell will be enough for most people to just throw them out right away.
How To Store Spinach
For cooked spinach, they should always be stored in the fridge. Cooked spinach tends to go bad quickly after it’s cooked. When storing them in the fridge, make sure to store them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
If it’s going to be stored in an airtight container, make sure to seal the lid as tight as possible. If there is a leak and air gets into the container, the spinach will spoil within a day or so.
At room temperature, cooked spinach should only be stored if it’s going to be consumed within 3 hours. However, if the room temperature is hot, they should be consumed within an hour or transferred to the fridge for storage.
As for fresh spinach, they will last for only a couple of hours at room temperature. If it’s really hot, expect them to last no longer than an hour. Spinach has a high content of moisture in its leaves. When it’s exposed to the warm air, it will start to dry out and go bad.
In the fridge, fresh spinach should be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator, according to the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (TN).
There are two reasons why it should be stored in a plastic bag and keeping it unwashed.
The first reason for storing spinach in a plastic bag is to keep away ethylene. More than likely, you’ll have fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene. Produce such as apples and bananas will prematurely ripen the spinach and cause them to go bad.
The second reason to keep spinach unwashed is to prevent them from going bad faster. When washing spinach, it will be difficult to completely dry out the spinach afterward. Therefore, when it’s stored in the fridge and any water that’s left on the spinach will make them go slimy and spoil.
Can You Freeze Spinach
Freezing spinach is a great idea for long-term storage. You’ll need to prepare the spinach correctly, or it won’t last very long.
Most of the time, you’ll need to blanch the spinach first before storing them in the freezer. Blanching helps retain the color and nutrition of the spinach.
However, blanching isn’t necessary if the spinach is going to be used within 6 months. If the spinach is going to be stored for over 6 months, blanching is recommended.
Once the spinach is blanched, either put the greens into an airtight container or a sealable freezer bag. A freezer bag is great for space-saving, while the airtight container helps retain freshness longer.
If you’re using a freezer bag to store spinach, squeeze out the excess air before sealing it. The less air that’s in the freezer bag, the less chance the spinach will get freezer burn.
If the spinach came in a package, you’ll want to discard it and use a sealable freezer bag. The plastic package is usually flimsy and will tear while it’s stored in the freezer.
How To Keep Spinach Fresh Longer
When buying spinach, look for those that are dark or bright green leaves without damage or blemishes. If there are any leaves that are yellow or a tint of them, do not buy them.
Also, the leaves of fresh spinach should be firm without any wilting. If there are more than a couple of leaves that seem to be wilting, more than likely, the rest will start to wilt as well and go bad soon.
If the spinach comes in a package, make sure there are no rips or tears in the package. If there are, check to make sure the spinach inside is fresh, without any leaves wilting or yellowing.
To keep spinach fresh for as long as possible, avoid washing them unless you’re planning to eat it right away or use them for cooking. Otherwise, keep the spinach dry as possible. Water, even just a little drop of them, could cause the entire spinach in the bag to go bad.
Spinach bought at the grocery stores will usually be packaged in plastic bags. Once you get home, either put them in the fridge right away or put them into a sealable plastic bag.
For freshly harvested spinach that is found at the farmer’s market, you should always carry them in a plastic bag to shield them from the sun. Too much heat from the sun will cause the spinach to dry out.
Is eating spoiled spinach safe?
No, eating spoiled spinach isn’t safe and could make you very ill. This applies to cooked spinach that has spoiled as well. Bacteria build up quickly on rotting spinach, and you could get food poisoning from it.