Here’s what to do with spinach so it stays fresh longer


Buying spinach often feels like a race against the clock.

You buy a bag, vowing this time will be different. You won’t be forced to throw a half-full bag of sad, wilted leaves away at the end of the week. But inevitably, it happens, again and again.

Fresh spinach has a shelf life of between five and seven days. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do once spinach goes bad. If you open the bag and the leafy veg has wilted and developed a slimy residue, don’t eat it.

Although some foods can be salvaged after they’ve started to go bad, spinach is not one of them. Because of its high moisture content, it can be the perfect home for foodborne illness.

Luckily, there are a few ways you can store it, preserve it and use heaping handfuls of it throughout your week.

How to Store Spinach So It Lasts Longer

Moisture is what makes spinach go bad so quickly, so the best way to keep it fresh is to immediately store it in an airtight container as soon as you get it home.

The Natural Nurturer recommends adding layers of paper towels to the container. Some even suggest adding a couple of slices of bread to the container for added moisture control.

Once you’ve stored your spinach in the freezer, keep an eye on it. If you see leaves that are starting to wilt, take them out. It’ll keep the rest of the spinach fresh for longer.

How to Freeze Your Spinach So You Don’t Ruin It

If you know you’ve bought more spinach than you could possibly eat in a week, you can also freeze it and use it for nine to 14 months.

You won’t be able to serve the thawed leaves in a salad, but it works perfectly for smoothies, pasta dishes or quiche recipes and tastes better than the store-bought frozen alternatives.

That said, if you want to freeze your spinach, do it fast. If the leaves start to wilt before you freeze them, they will taste very bitter.

HGTV suggests cleaning, drying and trimming the leaves before getting started. After that, you may want to blanch the leaves. You can either blanch the leaves normally or steam blanch them.

To blanch them normally, bring a pot of water to boil and add the fresh spinach. Leave them in the water for about two minutes, and then put them in ice water for another two minutes.

To steam blanch, fill a pot with about two to three inches of water and bring it to boil. Put a mesh colander or steamer basket in the pot so it rests above the water, add the spinach. Steam for two minutes, then place the spinach in ice water.

Once you’ve removed the leaves from the ice water, dry them thoroughly with either a thick paper towel or a salad spinner.

Once the leaves are dry, put one to two cups in an airtight freezer bag.

Freezer burn will make your spinach taste rubbery and bitter. Extra water and air can cause freezer burn, so you want to make sure the spinach is dry and the freezer bag is tightly sealed. You can use a straw to suck out the excess air before sealing the bag if you don’t have a vacuum sealer.

Anna Brugmann is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Originally published