There are a lot of questions about whether you can reheat spinach. Spinach is loaded with nutrients. Most people have a love or hate relationship with it. Either they eat it on a daily basis or not at all.
One cup of cooked spinach contains 3 grams of protein, 8 percent of the RDA for iron and folate, and 1033 micrograms of vitamin A or 187% of the recommended daily intake.
With such high nutritional benefits, many wonder whether you can reheat spinach and, if so, how can you do it safely? This begs the question, can you reheat spinach? The answer is yes, but with some guidelines.
This article will discuss some of these guidelines and give you some ideas on how to reheat spinach and avoid eating spinach that is not as nutritious and safe for digestion.
Why Reheating Spinach May Not Have Been Previously Recommended
Reheating spinach may not have been previously recommended because of concerns about nutrient loss. Nutrients found in spinach are known to break down when exposed to air, heat, and light.
Not to mention, the leaves begin to lose their texture after just an hour out at room temperature.
After two hours, most of the taste and nutrition have deteriorated significantly. This means that even if you were to eat your spinach fresh within an hour or two of cooking it, the majority of the nutrients would be gone because they dissipated into the air (oxidation).
Can You Reheat Spinach Once Cooked?
The short answer is yes. However, you should reheat spinach under specific guidelines. The best way to reheat spinach is by adding a little water or combining it with a sauce or soup.
Researchers found that steaming spinach for no more than five minutes, draining the excess water, and adding the spinach to something hot helps retain up to 90% of nutrients.
Too much exposure to heat can decrease your B12 levels, so it is important not to overcook your spinach.
How to Reheat Spinach on the Stove?
There are many ways to reheat spinach safely. One of those methods is on the stove.
Here is how to heat it on the stove:
- Fill a pot with one inch of water and bring to a boil
- Add the spinach and reduce to medium heat
- Cook the spinach for about five minutes or until it is heated through
- Drain any excess water before serving
The last thing you want to do is cook the spinach so much that the water boils out. About one inch of water is the key here.
Too much water will require a longer cooking time, and too little will cause it to overcook.
On the other hand, if you cook your spinach in a sauce or soup, you can follow those cooking times to ensure everything is cooked thoroughly.
This is the best way to preserve as many nutrients as possible.
How to Reheat Spinach in the Microwave?
Many of us may find it easier to reheat spinach in the microwave.
Here is how you can do that:
- Place the spinach in a safe microwave bowl.
- Add two tablespoons of water.
- If at all possible, adjust the power of your microwave from high to low.
- Turn on the microwave for 30 seconds. This should be safe, but you need to remember that microwaves are not as powerful as stoves, so they may take longer to heat up.
- Check your spinach after 30 seconds. Once it reaches the correct temperature, then shut off the microwave.
If you eat frozen spinach, you should reheat it on low under constant stirring since microwaves tend to cook unevenly.
Microwave ovens only penetrate about 1/2 inch into food which means that some parts are cooked more than others.
There is less chance of overheating if constantly stirred. The more you overheat, the more the texture will be affected.
While it is ok to heat up your frozen spinach in the microwave, it is important to note that microwaves tend to dry food out even further, resulting in nutrient loss later down the road when you eat it again.
If you must use a microwave, make sure that it is on low power and frequently check your spinach due to its unpredictability while reheating.
How to Reheat Frozen Spinach?
You can reheat frozen spinach by lowing the water content or adding something to help retain moisture.
To lower the water content of frozen spinach, cook it on medium in a saucepan and drain the water after it has cooked unfrozen for five minutes.
If you feel lazy, grab some soup stock and heat that up. Remember that soups are less likely to overcook because of the amount the liquid is already being used, so you have more freedom here.
What About Reheating Spinach in a Frying Pan?
You can safely reheat your spinach in a frying pan.
Here are the steps to safely reheating spinach in a frying pan:
- Set your stove to low heat.
- Sauté spinach in a little bit of butter for about five minutes.
- Drain the excess water, and you are ready to serve!
This is another safe method since it uses low amounts of heat for a short amount of time. Be sure not to let the water or oil boil out of the pan.
Let’s say that you failed to monitor how much water was in your pan at the beginning. Now, there is nothing left to cook because it has boiled out, which means that your vegetables will start sticking or burning.
Using a frying pan is the riskiest option for reheating spinach because it takes so little heat to overcook this leafy green.
Frying to reheat your spinach should only take a minute or two which means that you should stop as soon as the water starts to dissipate from view.
If you don’t, you will lose valuable nutrients and further compromise the vegetable’s texture.
Can You Reheat Spinach in the Oven?
A great way to reheat frozen or fresh spinach is in the oven because it tends to cook evenly without any dry spots. Add some oil, butter, cheese, or stock before heating your spinach for added flavor and nutrition.
As an added bonus, this will prevent any burning that can occur with high heat frying. Remember that this may take longer than expected since there are lower temperatures involved, so check frequently until it reaches your desired level of warmth.
Here are the steps to reheating spinach in the oven:
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Add oil, butter, cheese, or stock to spinach before placing it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper
- Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes until heated thoroughly.
- When the time is up, remove the spinach from the oven and serve immediately or refrigerate it to protect its nutritional value.
How Long Can You Keep Cooked Spinach?
It’s always nice to be able to eat leftovers. There’s no need to dirt up more dishes or spend lots of time in the kitchen preparing a meal.
However, it is essential to know how long you can store your food in order to prevent poisoning.
While spinach has a pretty good shelf life, it’s important to ensure that you don’t store it for too long.
There are two reasons why saving spinach raw or cooked for too long is not a good idea:
- You risk making yourself sick from any bacteria present in the food.
- You miss out on all of the nutritional benefits by overcooking your vegetables through constant reheating.
Spinach should be refrigerated within two hours after being cooked. After that, follow these guidelines when deciding when to eat what:
- If left overnight or longer, throw it out. Do not consume regardless of smell or appearance!
- If kept in the fridge for 2-3 days, have a sniff test before eating. If it smells funny, throw it out.
- If kept in the fridge for 4-5 days, look for discoloration, wrinkles, sliminess (in raw spinach), or a strange smell. If you experience any of these things, throw it out.
- After 5 days, spinach should be composted because, at this point, there is probably enough bacteria present to cause sickness.
Can I Reheat Creamed Spinach?
Creamed spinach is delicious, but it’s essential to be careful when reheating it. The most significant danger is bacterial growth. So you will want to make sure that it gets cooked thoroughly.
While the best way to do this is over high heat on your stove, you can also use microwaves though there are some limitations.
The problem with microwaved creamed spinach is that most packages instruct you to dump them into a bowl or plate before cooking, which will cause it to cook unevenly.
This may result in overcooking due to low temperatures at the start of the process, which means wasted time and money if you have purchased fresh or frozen spinach.
Creamed spinach has more bacteria growth risks than other vegetables stored in the refrigerator because of its dairy content. Following these steps can help ensure you enjoy fully cooked creamed spinach that is safe for consumption.
You should throw out leftover creamed spinach after 3 days—no need to smell or check the texture.
Here’s how to reheat creamed spinach:
- Prepare your creamed spinach according to instructions on the package and microwave for approximately 1 minute.
- Stir and test the temperature by inserting a knife through the center of your spinach and into your spatula – it should be hot all the way through.
- Continue microwaving for small periods (30 seconds – 1 minute) until cooked thoroughly.
- If there is still liquid surrounding the food after cooking, you can drain it before serving for less mess!
How Do You Know When Spinach Is Bad?
Spinach is often thrown away when it’s perfectly fine to eat. It can be prevented by learning to tell when your vegetables are rotten to avoid poisoning yourself and wasting money.
The best way is to smell your spinach before cooking because if it has gone sour, the smell will be unbearable.
If you detect something strange (or like sauerkraut), make sure that you throw it out immediately to prevent sickness caused by bacteria.
If the spinach starts to look watery and slimy, it’s unsafe for consumption and should be thrown away.
How Long Does Cooked Spinach Last?
Spinach should last around seven days in the refrigerator. However, after 5 days, there is a high chance of bacterial growth, making it unsafe for consumption!
Use your better judgment when deciding if your spinach is safe to eat or not.
Reheating Foods With Spinach in Them
Many foods with spinach in them can be eaten or reheated after being cooked and cooled down.
Here are some examples:
- Spinach casseroles
- Lasagna with spinach
- Soups containing spinach
- Salads with spinach incorporated
- Any other dishes incorporating cooked and cooled spinach as a central ingredient
The best time to eat these dishes is within two days of cooking. However, if you’ve cooked too much and want to save your meal, you should consider freezing it after cooling it down.
Reheat these foods by placing the dish in a preheated oven until it is warmed thoroughly.
If your dish contains meat, make sure it is hot all the way through before eating to prevent sickness caused by bacteria.
What are some myths about reheating spinach?
Reheating spinach makes the spinach poisonous. This is not true at all! However, reheating spinach does release nitrites that can create problems in those with digestive health issues.
How long can you keep microwaved spinach?
Microwaveable creamed spinach should be kept no longer than 3 days in the refrigerator after cooking and being cooled down.
Can you reheat spinach more than once?
It is safe to reheat spinach more than once. However, this will decrease the quality of your food. The best practice is only to reheat what you will be eating, if possible.
So let’s sum up. Can you reheat spinach?
Ultimately, spinach is very healthy for you, but it loses some of its nutritional benefits when cooked because heat degrades almost all nutrients (except Vitamin B).
However, there are ways to reheat spinach that retain more nutrients than not heating at all.
The best way to reheat spinach is by steaming it for 5 minutes or less or reheating it in the oven at 350 degrees.