How to Harvest and Store Spinach

Spinach leaves

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Harvest spinach when the leaves are tender and big enough to eat.  Spinach is ready for picking 40 to 65 days after sowing.

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Spinach harvest
Just harvested spinach leaves

When to harvest spinach

  • Harvest spinach as close to mealtime as possible for the best flavor.
  • Spinach grows best between 60° and 65°F (15°-18°C)—commonly during spring or autumn. Plants commonly flower (bolt) and stop producing when temperatures reach the high 70°sF (21°+C). If temperatures rise into the 80°sF (26°+C), start picking outer leaves immediately; this will briefly delay bolting. Very warm temperatures turn spinach bitter.
  • Where temperatures are consistently greater than 80°F, grow New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia teragonoides) which looks and tastes like spinach but thrives in warm temperatures.
  • In mild-winter regions, spinach will often produce through the winter. In cold-winter regions, grow spinach under a plastic tunnel or in a cold frame.
  • In a cold frame, you can keep spinach from freezing by covering plants with straw or hay. Overwintered spinach will give you an early spring harvest.

How to harvest spinach

  • Cut spinach with garden scissors or a serrated bread knife.
  • Cut spinach leaf by leaf—cut the outer leaves first allowing the inner leaves to grow larger–or cut away the whole plant one inch (2.5 cm) above the soil. Either way, the plant will keep producing new leaves as long as temperatures are cool.
Spinach in kitchen
Spinach will keep in the refrigerator for about 10 days.

How to store spinach

  • Soil often sticks to the ruffled leaves of spinach. To clean leaves fill a sink with lukewarm water and swish the leaves around then lift the leaves and set them in a colander to drain; repeat this process if the soil remains. Air dry or pat leaves dry with a cloth or paper towel before storing.
  • Store spinach cold and moist, 32°-40°F (0°-5°C) and 95 percent relative humidity. Place spinach in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag in the vegetable crisper section.  Spinach will keep in the refrigerator for about 10 days.
  • Spinach that is stored too cold or too long will develop brown spots on the midrib and the leaves will wilt and yellow.

Spinach articles on Harvest to Table:

How to Plant and Grow Spinach

Spinach Seed Starting Tips

How to Harvest and Store Spinach

Spinach Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Six Ways to Cook and Serve Spinach

How to Grow New Zealand Spinach

How to Grow Malabar Spinach

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More harvest tips:

Learn when and how to harvest your favorite vegetables for the best flavor and texture. Get storage tips for each crop. Click on the vegetable you are growing below.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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