Because no one likes slimy greens.
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Spinach on a cutting boardC
Credit: Casey Barber

From a protein-packed smoothie to a creamy pasta dish, spinach is a colorful, nutrient-packed vegetable that's easy to incorporate into any recipe. While the leafy green has some impressive health benefits, it's also known for having a short lifespan in the fridge. But rather than being forced to throw out spinach that's spoiled too quickly, read on for tips on how to store spinach properly so you can make the most of the leafy green.

Why Does Spinach Go Bad?

Have you ever purchased a package of spinach only to discover the leaves have turned slimy within days? Why does spinach seem to quickly go from yum to yuck? The answer: Moisture. 

Moisture speeds up the deterioration process of spinach's delicate leaves, so it's important that spinach is dry when it's stored. If you're not sure how to tell if spinach is bad, there are a few things you can look for. First, the leaves should be crisp and dark green without any signs of yellowing on the edges. Another indicator of bad spinach is if the leaves are slimy or wilted. Spinach should also have a sweet smell. If the leaves smell sour or musty, it's best to throw them out.

How to Store Spinach

Step 1. Pat spinach leaves dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

A hand patting spinach with a paper towel
Credit: Casey Barber

If you've bought pre-packaged spinach, simply dump it onto a paper-towel-lined cutting board. Spinach leaves are delicate, so gently patting the leaves with paper towels will suffice.

Step 2. Line a container with a dry paper towel.

An empty glass tupperware
Credit: Casey Barber

Adding a paper towel to the container helps absorb extra moisture, which prolongs the life of the spinach. Spinach is often sold in plastic bags or containers, which can be used for storage. Just be sure to dry the bag or container before proceeding with Step 3.

Step 3. Add spinach leaves, cover and refrigerate.

Glass tupperware with spinach and a paper towel in it
Credit: Casey Barber

How Long Does Spinach Last?

When stored this way, spinach can last between three and seven days. Because moisture is the enemy, you should wait to wash the leaves until you're ready to use them. If you must wash spinach beforehand, be sure it is thoroughly dried before storing. You can dry the leaves with a paper towel or use a salad spinner (check out the best salad spinners, according to our Test Kitchen).

Once you're ready to enjoy your spinach, recipes like Spinach & Mushroom Quiche and Hearty Chickpea & Spinach Stew are just the start. For more ideas, learn how to cook fresh and frozen spinach.