Nothing is more depressing than throwing out a container of flavorful, cooked greens that are no longer fresh. While every person has their own leftover countdown rule, by day three or four, the contents of that Tupperware become questionable.
Also frustrating is throwing out fresh vegetables that were never eaten. You were different when you bought that bag of baby carrots and promised to take them with you to snack on at work. Now, they’ve rotted in the crisper drawer and must be tossed.
If this is relatable, we’re about to change your life. We’re going to give you a step-by-step tutorial on how to freeze and store fresh greens and cooked greens so you never have to sacrifice them to the garbage disposal again.
We’ll also give you a solution for getting your greens in a convenient, easy, and non-spoilable way so you can get all the health benefits of leafy greens without all the guilt of leftover food waste.
How Long Can You Store Greens?
The length of time you can store salad greens depends on how fresh they are when you purchase or pick them and how you prepare them. Cooked greens will last longer than fresh greens, but you can also extend the life of your greens by prepping them before storage.
This is especially helpful if you have a garden or get a meal delivery box with fresh vegetables that you can’t use immediately.
Fresh greens can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. This includes lettuce, mustard greens, collards, kale, arugula, and spinach. Spinach (and baby spinach) may not last as long as the rest of your greens simply because it is a more tender green.
You can freeze fresh greens, which will cover in a moment, but you’ll need to blanch them first. Once blanched and properly sealed, they’ll last between eight and 12 months in the freezer.
Cooked greens will last for three to five days in the fridge and three to four months in the freezer. If you’ve cooked them with butter or oil, keep in mind that those ingredients are subject to spoilage, too. Generally, the same rules of preservation will apply.
How Should You Store Greens To Preserve Freshness?
To ensure you properly store your greens, it’s important to prepare them before you sock them away in the vegetable drawer or the depths of your deep freeze. If you don’t, you could end up pulling out freezer-burned veggies that aren’t suitable for anything but tossing out.
Food storage is tricky because if you get it wrong, you could waste your food or even get sick. Here’s how to store greens properly in the fridge or freezer.
Put Them in the Freezer
The best way to freeze most vegetables is to cook or blanch them.
If you’re working with fresh greens, you’ll need to prepare them by cleaning them, blanching them, and packing them properly:
- Clean the leaves and cut them into small pieces.
- Blanch them in small parts. To blanch, heat one gallon of water to four cups of packed leafy greens to boiling. Once the water has boiled, place the greens in the water. The leaves begin to blanch once the water returns to a boil. Most greens blanch for two minutes. Collard greens should be blanched for three minutes.
- Place the leaves in ice water to cool after blanching for the same amount of time you blanched them.
- Once cooled, drain them and pack them into airtight containers. Cover the leaves with ice water but leave about one-quarter inch near the top.
Don’t forget to label and date your storage container so you know how long your greens have been in storage. Once you thaw your stored greens, it’s important to use them quickly. You’ll want to cook them within one to two days of thawing. Once cooked, they’ll last in the fridge for three to five days.
Cook Them Up
Cooking your fresh produce is an option that prevents you from blanching your leaves and makes it easy for you to store the leftovers.
Chances are you’ve already got a recipe you love, but there are a few considerations to think about before you get started:
- Freshness. Never attempt to cook greens that are already spoiling. Slimy leaves, wilting leaves, and a foul odor are telltale signs your greens are past their shelf life.
- Cleaning. The easiest way to clean your greens is to douse them in water and place them in a salad spinner to remove excess moisture. If you don’t have a salad spinner, you can wash the greens and press them between layers of paper towels to dry.
These steps are important whether you’re working with a bag of spring mix salad you bought at a grocery store or Swiss chard you purchased at a farmer’s market. Bacteria lives everywhere, including in bags of romaine marked “pre-rinsed.”
Put Them in Water
Just like fresh flowers, some greens can last a few days in a glass of water on your counter. The leaves of beets, swiss chard, and even kale will last when placed in a glass of cold water and misted with fresh water daily.
This is a good solution only if you plan to use the greens within the next few days. For instance, this would be convenient and easy if you love adding a handful of kale to your smoothies.
Use a Plastic Bag
This method works well for salad greens like lettuce, romaine, and arugula. Storing your cleaned, dried greens in a plastic bag will keep them fresh for three to five days in the fridge. It’s almost impossible to eliminate air circulation in a plastic bag without crushing the leaves, so this storage method is best for greens you plan to use within a few days.
You can also use a plastic container to store greens. Whether you choose a bag or a container, be sure to rinse them and pat them dry before you store them.
How Should You Store Green Powders?
Unlike leafy greens, green powders don’t need much attention for storage. Green powders contain greens that were picked at peak ripeness and dehydrated into powdered form. These powders deliver vitamins, nutrients, and minerals just like cooked or fresh greens, but with the convenience of very little prep work.
Green powders like L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens come in a resealable pouch that keeps your greens powder fresh and ready to use for up to months. It’s like having a farmer’s market with the freshest, healthiest vegetables right at your fingertips.
What Are the Benefits of Green Vegetables?
You’ve been told to eat your greens your entire life. Now that you’re an adult, you’re ready for the inside scoop on why dietitians and doctors praise the benefits of green, leafy vegetables.
Rich in Fiber
Fiber is essential to keeping healthy. Your gut health depends on fiber to feed the healthy bacteria that thrive in it. Without fiber, the balance of gut flora falters, and harmful bacteria begins to multiply.
When your gut health is out of balance, your total health will suffer. The gut is directly connected to your immunity, mental health, and even your skin. If your gut health is suffering, you might not even know it. Symptoms can include feeling foggy-headed, tired, and bloated.
We frequently write these symptoms off to our age, but they could be connected to an improper diet and an unhealthy gut. Green vegetables support your gut health; eating them consistently is key to reaping the benefits.
Great Sources of Micronutrients
Macronutrients like fat, protein, and carbohydrates are usually the biggest staples of the American diet. Micronutrients, like essential vitamins and minerals, tend to get sidelined. The problem is that our bodies need these to function.
Green veggies are packed with these essential nutrients that help our bodies thrive. They’re also a rich source of antioxidants, which help keep our cells safe from free radicals. Free radicals damage healthy cells and can lead to higher risks of diseases.
No one’s diet is perfect, which is why L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens Powders are so effective. They fill the dietary gaps with the micronutrients, superfoods, and antioxidants your body needs without needing to clean, prep, cook, or store a single item. Just scoop, mix, and elevate your day.
Delicious Low-Carb Alternatives
Who doesn’t love carbohydrates? Your gut and your blood sugar, that’s who. Refined carbohydrates are calories that are virtually void of nutritional value. They may taste good, but they don’t offer any health benefits. They also cause unhealthy spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels that can place you at a higher risk of becoming insulin resistant.
Your gut flora isn’t a fan of refined carbs, either. These carbohydrates feed bad bacteria, causing unhealthy overgrowth that can lead to an unhealthy gut.
Green vegetables offer a low-carb alternative that fuels your body with potent ingredients. If you’re following a low-carb lifestyle, greens are the perfect accompaniment. L’Evate You Vitality Daily greens contain two net carbs per serving and zero added sugars. You get all the good stuff and nothing that could spike your blood sugar or pump up bad bacteria.
The Bottom Line
The journey to wellness is made with small steps, and adding more greens to your diet is a smart choice that can pave the path. Consuming foods that spoil means you’ll be eating less processed foods, and that’s a good thing. Eating those spoilable foods before they go rotten involves learning how to buy them, prepare them, and properly store them.
It may take a few tries and a few more bags of rotten spinach, but you can do it.
Using L’Evate You Vitality Daily Greens to ensure you’re getting your healthy greens without having to worry about cooking and storing? That’s a no-brainer.
Keep a few pouches on hand so you can ensure you’re never without the nutrients your body needs.
How to Store Vegetables to Keep them Fresh | Unlock Food
A Refrigerator Staple: Cooked Greens | The Ny Times Archive
Four Steps to Food Safety | CDC