In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to store spinach long-term?”, discuss answers to other related questions like how does spinach go bad, and what can happen if you eat bad spinach.
How to store spinach long-term?
To store spinach long-term, you need to make sure that it is not too wet and the leaves are fresher, greener, and crispier. Once you are sure, wrap the unwashed spinach with a paper towel and place it in an air-tight container. It is important to store the spinach when it is unwashed because washing it before storing will create a problem for you by increasing the moisture. This increased moisture will fasten the spoilage process thereby, reducing the storage period.
Wrapping the spinach in a paper towel will help you keep the dry conditions for the long-term storage of spinach. The paper towel will absorb the moisture from the spinach.
Placing the wrapped spinach in an air-tight container will help you keep the moisture from seeping in, and also it will protect the leaves from being moved around or crushed like they would in bags.
2 easy ways to store spinach
If you are going to store pre-packed spinach, it is recommended to store it in its original packing. But if you are going to store spinach that is fresh, unpacked, and gas-free, you need to have a couple of things like an air-tight container and some paper towels. Next, the way by which you should store the spinach will depend on the time after which you are willing to consume the stored spinach:
If you are willing to consume the stored spinach within a week (5-7 days), refrigerating the spinach will help you store it.
To store spinach in the fridge, place a layer of paper towels at the bottom of the container and lay your spinach leaves on top of this. Now, add another layer of paper towels on top of the spinach and replace the lid. The paper towels will help you draw any moisture away from the leaves, and will keep the spinach leaves fresh and crispy for longer. Place this container into your fridge towards the bottom to keep it as cold as possible without freezing (around 38-40 Fahrenheit is optimal), so the bottom section half of your refrigerator is the place to put the container.
In the freezer
It is not a good idea to freeze the raw spinach at all. Because it will naturally be soft and wilted once it thaws out. But if you freeze spinach in the right way, it can help you store spinach for months (12-14c months).
To store spinach in the freezer, wash the spinach and discard the leaves that are not looking fresh. Boil and give a quick blanching to the spinach leaves for 1-2 minutes. Blanching helps in preserving the color, taste, texture, and even nutrients of the spinach. Drain the blanched leaves and dunk in ice-cold water for 2 minutes to stop the cooking process and revitalize the leaves. Now, try to squeeze out water as much as possible and separate the spinach into portions (for this, you can use an ice-cube tray or ball them up). Once frozen, bag up and you have now got yourself some frozen, portion-sized spinach ready to use whenever you need it.
How does spinach go bad?
Spinach, being at the more delicate end of the green leafy scale, can easily go bad. The improper storage conditions can cause spinach to go bad if you have refrigerated or kept it frozen. Spinach goes bad if you stored it in a container that was not good enough to keep a check on the moisture. Also, if you have placed spinach on the shelf of the fridge, where fruits are also present, it will go bad sooner than ever because of the production of ethylene oxide by fruits such as bananas.
How to tell if spinach has gone bad?
It is very easy to spot the tell-tale signs when spinach goes bad. A few of these signs are:
- Wilting and loss of crispness
- Darkening of the leaves
- Blackened edges or spots on the leaves
- Strong odor
What can happen if you eat bad spinach?
Spinach, being a leafy vegetable, is a notorious harborer of bacteria. And bacteria grow up quickly on rotting veggies. Therefore, it is never safe to eat bad spinach. The most obvious risk associated with the consumption of bad spinach is you being the victim of food-borne illness. This illness can be due to contamination of vegetable by E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella, that can enter through any point in the supply chain. The general symptoms of food poisoning due to these bacteria include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, fever, stomach cramps, and encephalitis.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to store spinach long-term?”, discussed answers to other related questions like how does spinach go bad, and what can happen if you eat bad spinach.