Spinach is a nutritionally rich food that can be used raw or cooked. It is rich in vital minerals and nutrients and is highly recommended by the nutritionists.
You can get spinach from a supermarket or a grocery store. Often, those from the supermarket come pre-packed and have an expiration date. Those from the grocery stores do not have this date and have soil on them. They come directly from farmers.
This vegetable is highly perishable. When cooked, it has a shorter lifespan than when raw. However, how you store them also determines how long they remain fresh.
How Long Does Spinach Last?
Raw spinach can last up to 7 days. The vegetable cannot be stored in a pantry or at room temperature because it starts withering. So, do not buy them in bulk if you cannot finish them in a day or two.
When pre-packed, make sure you check on the recommended best before date. After opening your spinach, you can only store them for a maximum of 5 days after which they start deteriorating.
If you get yours from the grocery store, we recommend storing them with their soil. After all, the best way to clean them is before cooking or preparing them to make a salad. We do not intend to soil your storage bags, but washing spinach before refrigerating makes them start to rot.
They rot because it is challenging to dry them properly since drying would mean withering your spinach. Use a plastic sealable storage bag if you are storing your spinach near fruits. Ethylene produced by fruits can make your spinach spoil.
If you have cooked spinach, allow it to cool before storing. Cooked spinach only lasts for 3-5 days. However, you can enjoy having your spinach for 10-12 months when frozen. When frozen, this vegetable retains its freshness.
But, you only freeze cooked spinach. Freezing raw ones make them watery and slimy. Blanch yours before taking them to the freezer. It is best to keep them in portions so that you can only remove what you can finish. Remove it a day earlier to allow proper thawing.
Can Spinach Go Bad?
As we have said earlier, spinach is a highly perishable vegetable. It can go bad when exposed to unfavorable conditions. When this happens, this vegetable loses its nutritional value and is only consumed to make you feel full.
If you keep your cooked spinach in a warm environment, it goes bad in the first 24 hours. A warm environment is conducive for thriving of pathogens. It is important to keep the vegetable hot or very cold to make sure this environment is not enabled.
When you store your raw spinach at room temperature, they become withered. If the room is not properly ventilated, your spinach starts turning and eventually becomes rotten.
When exposed to heat, raw spinach dries, making it impossible to use for anything.
How Can You Tell Your Spinach Has Gone Bad?
Cooked and raw spinach show different signs when they start spoiling. For raw spinach, you can look for color change. Often, fresh spinach is green. When it starts deteriorating, it starts turning yellowish and eventually blackish when completely spoilt.
Instead of throwing the whole bunch, you can remove the turned ones and use the remaining. The leaves that have a slight yellow can still be edible, but you will definitely note they taste different.
Another way you can tell your spinach has gone bad is having a bad odor. When this happens, your spinach is often slimy and inedible. Discard them.
If you keep them in a moist area, they start growing mold. This fungus is highly poisonous when consumed, and you should not use them in any dish or smoothie.
When checking your cooked spinach, check whether it has a stale smell. If it has not started smelling yet, you can taste to know whether it is about to get spoilt. If you notice a taste you are not used to, your spinach is spoiling.
Also, your cooked spinach can grow mold if left exposed in room temperature for a few days. They first get stale before growing mold.
Is it Okay to Eat Spoilt Spinach?
Spoilt spinach is not friendly to your health. We do not recommend its consumption as it can have dire effects.
When consumed, spoiled spinach can cause E.Coli poisoning, which is often accompanied by fever, diarrhea and stomach pain. In severe cases, this poisoning manifests in bloody diarrhea and extreme dehydration that can cause death.
Other than health-related concerns, spoilt spinach can make a perfectly prepared meal go to waste. They can change their taste entirely, which can embarrass you in front of your guests.
How Do You Store Spinach?
You can store cooked spinach in storage containers and make sure they are airtight. It is always important to prevent air from getting in your stored food.
When freezing this vegetable, allow it to rest. That is, do not take it on and off the storage if you do not intend to use it. When this happens, you shorten the life it could have taken in the fridge.
Additionally, when freezing your spinach, ensure that you remove the stalks. It helps you store more spinach than when stalks are on. Also, since the stalks are not often used, it is prudent to save space by removing them.
Soil that comes with spinach somehow acts as a preservative. So, do not rinse it if you get yours from the grocery. It keeps the vegetable dry and fresh for long. Spinach found from the supermarket comes while pre-rinsed. That is also fine because they also have a special packaging indicating an expiry date.
If you want your spinach not to wither, you can dip the stalks in water overnight if you have not a fridge. They remain fresh until the following day. However, you should remove this water and consume your spinach or else they start having a bad smell. If you intend to use them in the evening, you can change the overnight water and use a clean, fresh one.
Can You Prepare Spinach with Other Dishes?
There is no specific way of preparing spinach. You can decide to cook it alone or with other dishes. But, do not overcook it if you want it to add nutritional value to your food. Also, when you overcook spinach, it turns color, and this can make it look less attractive.
When prepared with other dishes, you should note that the lifespan changes. That is, it lasts in the period that the fast spoiling ingredient in the dish lasts.
You can add spinach to a few smoothies. It is valuable for people looking to improve the glow on their skin.
What Can You Do with Spoilt Spinach?
When spinach goes bad, the ultimate solution is to discard it. When it starts going bad, the process itself becomes superfast that rot sets in quickly. If you still keep spinach in this state, it starts attracting insects to your home.
You can also make organic manure using spoilt spinach. It makes an excellent ingredient for your compost.
Can You Eat Pre-Packed Spinach without Rinsing?
Pre-packed spinach comes written that it has been pre-washed. However, you can never be too careful with vegetables. We recommend rinsing again before using them on any dish. Use running water so you can wash off any dirt that can cause food poisoning.
If you are afraid your spinach will have a lot of water that can ruin your salad, it is advisable to have a salad spinner at home. This equipment helps in drying vegetables without discoloring or making them become withered.
Is The Expiry Date on Pre-Packed Spinach Accurate?
Manufacturers provide this date to give consumers an estimate of how long the vegetable can last. However, this date is not always accurate. Since spinach is a fresh vegetable, it can go bad before the given date or last longer than the estimated time.
So, you are responsible for checking on visual signs before buying spinach in any outlet. Avoid buying them from dark places because it is easy to get spoilt ones. It can be time-consuming and even costly when such outlets do not accept returned goods.
Is Spinach Bought from the Grocery Stores Safe?
Most sellers from the grocery stores are careful about who they buy their products from. Since they would not like to tarnish their businesses by providing unfit products to their customers, they get them from the best suppliers.
Farmers, on the other side, would not like to have a negative supply reputation. They are careful about their production process to ensure their produce does not go into waste.
So, the spinach found in these stores is safe for consumption. You should also take extra precaution by ensuring you clean it thoroughly before eating.
Whether you are buying spinach for small scale or large scale food production, it is wise to have storage information. You do not want to cause food poisoning to everyone that consumes what you make. Store spinach properly and enjoy having it for long.