When it comes to spinach, how long it will last in your fridge depends on if it’s cooked or raw and how you’re storing it. So, how long does spinach last?
A raw bunch of spinach can last up to one week in the crisper when stored correctly. For unopened bagged spinach, follow the best-by date, usually one week to ten days. Once opened, it may only last for two or three days before the leaves start to become slimy, wilted, and go bad. Cooked spinach has two to three days in the fridge before it spoils.
Here is a closer look at the shelf life of spinach and what to look for at the grocery store.
Does Spinach Need To Be Refrigerated?
Yes, spinach needs to be refrigerated because this leafy green vegetable is very delicate and spoils quickly in warmer temperatures.
Bacteria and mold grow quickly on leafy greens, so it’s important to store them in cool temperatures to slow their growth, prolong their shelf life and keep them fresh.
Ethylene gas that comes from ripening produce is another concern that will speed up the spoilage of spinach, so it’s best to keep it separated even while in the fridge.
Bananas produce a lot of ethylene gas to ripen themselves and will spoil spinach quickly.
If you notice any damaged leaves, remove them immediately as they will also off-gas causing nearby leaves to spoil.
How Long Can Spinach Sit Out?
Spinach can’t sit out for long. As spinach sits out, it dehydrates and breaks down quickly in warmer temperatures. That’s why it’s important to get it refrigerated as soon as possible and not leave it sitting out or in the back of a hot car.
Spinach that has been sitting out will start wilting. Placing the leaves in cold water for 20 or 30 minutes can perk it back up, but it should be used soon after. No matter how good the revival is, its shelf life has greatly diminished.
It might be fine if you left your spinach out on the counter overnight, but I would prefer to cook it rather than use it in a salad.
The 2-hour rule about spoilage applies to cooked foods, but I tend to use that as a guide for most things that are being eaten raw too.
How Long Does Spinach Last In The Fridge?
Raw spinach that you pick up from the grocery store may last up to one week in the fridge.
I wrote a guide on how to store spinach using paper towels that can help you maximize its shelf life. But trying to prolong it further after washing spinach will take extra work, and it’s just not worth the hassle, in my opinion.
Bagged and prewashed spinach will typically have a best-by date of up to ten days, depending on when you buy it.
The problem with prewashed spinach is that the excess moisture can accelerate decomposition. And in bagged spinach, moisture builds up and has a similar effect.
It doesn’t matter how you buy your spinach. It should be used up quickly for the best results in your recipes.
How Long Does Cooked Spinach Last In The Fridge?
Cooked spinach may last two to three days in the fridge on its own. A good rule of thumb is to use it up the following day or not at all. Molds and bacteria will still grow on the decomposing plant matter even while refrigerated.
Fresh spinach is delicate, to begin with, and cooking it breaks down the plant fibers causing it to release water. This makes it harder for cooked spinach to retain its structure and texture when reheated.
If you’re not fond of the slimy texture of cooked spinach, leftovers will surely put you off completely.
How To Buy Fresh Spinach
The first step to enjoying spinach is to find and buy the freshest spinach possible.
What does fresh spinach look like? Fresh spinach leaves should be solid green, crisp and have a slight leafy-green smell. Baby spinach leaves are usually lighter in color than matured leaves and have thinner stems that make them easy to eat.
You should avoid bunches of spinach that have any amount of wilted or slime, have yellow or brown spotting, or don’t smell fresh. I also avoid buying dirty spinach. Remember, it only takes a couple leaves or contaminated debris to quickly spoil them all.
If you are lucky enough to visit a grocery store with a large selection of spinach, you may be able to choose between several kinds.
Some types of spinach have crinkly leaves, while others have smooth or slightly curled leaves. Baby spinach has the smallest leaves.
You have the choice to buy it in bunches, bags, or clamshells (plastic containers). Bunches are likely the freshest, but that’s not always the case. If it’s in a bag or clamshell, check the expiration date and get the freshest possible.
If you plan to cook your spinach as a side dish, you should buy more than you think you need because it will reduce in size drastically as it releases water during cooking. Any leftover spinach can be frozen easily.
If you want to eat it fresh, only buy as much as you’ll eat in one week.