Spinach is one of those vegetables that can be eaten raw, cooked, and even made into smoothies.
It’s also incredibly versatile, so you might have many different ways of preparing it, but it’s important to know how to tell if your spinach is bad.
If you don’t know whether or not your spinach is bad, then you could end up with an unpleasant meal, as well as wasting money.
So here are some telltale signs that your spinach has gone bad.
Is there a smell?
As we’ve mentioned before, you should never eat anything without first checking its “sell by” date, which tells you when the product was produced and how much time remains until it expires.
But did you know that you can also check for the presence of a foul odor?
This is because certain bacteria produce a gas called H2S (hydrogen sulfide).
When this gas is present in spinach, then it’s usually a sign that the spinach has gone bad.
However, this isn’t always the case, so make sure to give your spinach a sniff too.
Are the leaves wilted or discolored?
It’s easy to determine whether or not your spinach has turned bad based on how the leaves look.
If they’re wilting or turning green, then they’ve likely already started to spoil, since these colors indicate that the plant is dying and releasing toxins to protect itself.
This means that you shouldn’t eat them at all.
However, if the leaves are just slightly discolored, then they may still be safe to consume.
In this case, the discoloration is caused by iron oxides, which is harmless.
As long as the spinach looks good overall, then it’s probably fine to eat.
Are the stems slimy?
Another way to tell if your spinach is bad is to see if the stems are slimy.
This is because slime is another symptom of bacterial growth, and it’s often found on spoiled food.
Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your spinach, to avoid spreading any germs.
Are there any bugs or eggs on the leaves?
If you find any bugs or eggs on your spinach, then this is another clear indication that the spinach has gone bad.
These are both signs of pathogenic bacteria, which cause illness in humans, so you should definitely steer clear of anything that contains them.
Have you tasted it?
You should never drink something without first tasting it.
While this may seem obvious, it’s worth mentioning that sometimes people do things like put their nose in a glass of water or bite into a piece of fruit without ever actually tasting it.
This makes sense for animals, who rely on their senses to determine what they need to eat and drink, but it doesn’t work for us.
While you can taste spinach, you should only eat it if it tastes good to you.
If you don’t like it, then you probably won’t want to eat it again anyway, so there’s no point in continuing to purchase it.
You should definitely take a sample to your doctor if you think you have food poisoning, though, so that they can test it for harmful microorganisms.
Is it past the expiration date?
When it comes to spinach, there are three types of dates that you should keep in mind: the sell-by date, the use-by date, and the best-by date.
These dates vary depending on the type of spinach you buy, so make sure to read the label carefully.
The sell-by date is the earliest date at which you must stop consuming the item.
This can range from two weeks to several months, depending on the brand.
If you buy fresh spinach, then you should eat it within three days of purchase.
The use-by date is the last day on which you can use the spinach.
This differs between brands, but it’s generally somewhere between four and eight days after you bought it.
After this point, the spinach will start to deteriorate, so you should throw it out.
The best-by date is the latest date at which the spinach can be considered edible.
This varies from brand to brand, but it’s generally somewhere between six and twelve months after you bought it.
If you don’t eat it within this period, then it becomes unsafe to consume.
Was it stored properly?
One of the most common causes of spinach going bad is improper storage.
If you store your spinach in the refrigerator, then it can stay good for about a week, but if you leave it outside, then it can go bad in less than 24 hours.
If you’re wondering why spinach goes bad so quickly, then it’s because it contains high levels of vitamin K, which is sensitive to light and heat.
As such, spinach should always be kept cold and dark while it’s inside the fridge.
Don’t leave your spinach out in direct sunlight either, as this can also speed up spoilage.
How long has it been in the fridge?
Even if spinach seems fine when you open the package, it’s possible that it went bad while you were waiting for it to thaw.
This is because the cold temperature slows down the rate at which the nutrients in spinach decay.
Since this process takes longer at lower temperatures, then it can happen relatively quickly.
Could it be frozen?
If you freeze spinach, then you should follow the same rules as if you left it outside.
In fact, freezing speeds up the deterioration process as well, so this is something you really want to avoid doing.
Is it still firm?
In order to determine whether or not spinach is bad, you should try to remove the stem and ripen the leaf.
This is because you don’t want to eat the stems, which contain toxic substances, so you should cut them off before eating the leaves.
If the spinach is still firm, then it hasn’t deteriorated yet, so you can proceed to enjoy it.
However, if it starts to wilt or turn brown, then you should discard it immediately.
Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast in an Air Fryer
- Pour two tablespoons of olive oil into a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped garlic and spinach and saute for about 5 minutes. Season with onion powder, dried dill and oregano. Set aside to cool.
- Once cooled, mix spinach with cream cheese in a bowl.
- Place the chicken on a chopping board and, using a knife, cut one side of each chicken breast slicing parallel to the chopping board. Don’t cut the entire way through, but make a ‘’pocket’’ for the filling.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Add a tablespoon or two of filling into each breast.
- In a small bowl beat the egg.
- In another bowl spread breadcrumbs.
- Dip the chicken into the egg and then coat generously with breadcrumbs.
- Set the air fryer to 360° F (180° C). Spray the chicken with cooking spray or oil and cook for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken, respray and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer basket and serve. Enjoy!