Can you get sick from eating expired spinach?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating expired spinach” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired spinach. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store spinach.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Can you get sick from eating expired spinach?

When it comes to spinach then eating spinach that has expired or gone bad can cause gastrointestinal problems including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea as spoiled spinach can carry harmful bacteria like E.coli, Salmonella, and Listeria.

When it comes to vegetables, you should do a sensory evaluation to reach a final verdict on whether or not they are still suitable to consume.

There are a couple of indications that point out that your spinach has gone bad. You should consider the appearance, color, texture, and smell of spinach to give a final verdict about whether or not spinach has gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot some dark-colored spots or specks on your spinach, then it is an indication that it is going to go bad within some time.

Color

If you notice that the dark green color of your spinach has changed to pale green color or ultimately yellow, then it means that your spinach is past its prime age.

Texture

If you notice that the leaves of spinach have become soggy, wilt, and limp them it is better to discard such spinach as it has gone bad.

Smell

If you smell an off-smell or sulfur-like smell when you take a sniff test, it is better to get rid of such spinach.

So you should consider the indicators mentioned above before eating spinach. It is worth mentioning that when in doubt it is better to get rid of the spinach as it is better to be safe than sorry.

Unopened, commercially bagged prewashed spinach lasts for about 7-10 days when stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Once opened, commercially bagged and prewashed spinach lasts for about 3-5 days when stored in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fresh spinach lasts for about 5-7 days when it is stored properly in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooked spinach lasts for about 3-5 days when stored in the fridge in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, cooked spinach lasts for about 2 hours at room temperature. Bacteria grow at a faster pace between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit therefore it is recommended to discard the cooked spinach that is left in open for more than 2 hours as there is a great chance that the bacteria would have already spread over it and would have spoiled it.

If the outside temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit then cooked spinach lasts for only about an hour when left out in the open. 

It is worth mentioning that these figures are just the estimated shelf life of spinach and within this time you can enjoy the best quality of the spinach.

You can read the nutritional facts and health benefits of spinach here.

Tips to properly store spinach

  1. Commercially bagged spinach is pre-washed therefore there is no need to rewash it. On the other hand, you should wash the fresh spinach before using it.
  1. You should store your cooked spinach in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. In case of fresh spinach, when you are going to refrigerate it, what you can do is to put it in a plastic zipper bag wrapped in a paper towel, and when you are going to seal the bag, leave some space open to make sure that it gets the required steady airflow or you can use a perforated plastic zipper bag to store spinach in it.
  1. You should store your cooked spinach in an air-tight container in the fridge.
  1. You should cool your cooked spinach thoroughly before putting it in the air-tight container or plastic zipper bag. If you store hot cooked spinach inside the air-tight container, moisture will build up inside it and will provide a suitable environment for microbes to grow.
  1. You should never leave your cooked spinach for more than 2 hours at room temperature or there are great chances that the bacteria would have already contaminated it.
  1. You can even freeze spinach and frozen spinach stays good for about 10-12 months when stored properly in the freezer.
  1. So what you gotta do to freeze spinach is to wash the spinach thoroughly and afterward cut the stems and blanch the leaves by putting them in boiling water for 2-3 minutes and afterward cooling them in the ice-cold water. Afterward, drain the water and pat dry the spinach leaves. Line these spinach leaves on the cookie tray and let them freeze. Once they get frozen, transfer them to the plastic freezer bag and store them in the freezer.
  1. Now when you want to thaw frozen spinach, you can either thaw them by leaving them in the fridge overnight or if you are going to add them to a cooked dish then you can directly add the frozen spinach to the dish during cooking, but do not forget to adjust the time of the dish according to the time it takes for the spinach to defrost.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating expired spinach” with an in-depth analysis of the health implications of eating expired spinach. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store spinach.

Citations

https://happyhappyvegan.com/how-long-does-spinach-last/#:~:text=No%2C%20eating%20spoiled%20spinach%20isn,spinach%20is%20a%20bad%20idea.
https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/communication/leafy-greens.html
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-cause-food-poisoning#:~:text=Do%20not%20purchase%20bags%20of,to%20sit%20at%20room%20temperature.&text=Vegetables%20and%20leafy%20greens%20can%20often%20carry%20harmful%20bacteria%20such,coli%2C%20Salmonella%20and%20Listeria.
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18378
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/18375
https://www.doesitgobad.com/does-spinach-go-bad/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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