Is it bad for your health to eat re-heated spinach?

I ask because my mother will never heat it more than once. It doesn’t have anything to do with texture or flavour. I’ve so far never met anyone else with this belief, but as I have been raised this way I get nervous about re-heating it anyway. Is there anything to this? If so, why? If not I would also be grateful if someone could finally debunk the myth so that I can warm up yesterday’s sag aloo without any worries.


The bruden of proof would be on your mother, not you.

There is nothing "wrong’ with storing food properly and reheating properly.

It might be an old issue about heating things that are cooked in the can, then stored in the can, then reheated in same can.

Hmm, spinach can be safely stored for 2 days in the fridge, the shortest of time spans for all veggies listed. It can be kept frozen for a year. It is comparable to turkey, eggs and fish as far as fridge shelf life goes. It has a short fridge life relative to other veggies, but relative to other foods, it is in the normal range.

Well, it looks as though I’m more at risk for storing spinach in the fridge too long, which I’ve done numerous times, than from reheating it.

However, I can’t remember this having anything to do with it being in a tin, for, it comes in jars in Holland (where I’m from) and also the rule applied to fresh spinach just as much.

They only thing that I do remember about spinach is that after the nuclear disaster in Czernobyl happened, we (in Holland again) were advised by the government not to eat it for a while. That might be completely unrelated, though.

Well, spinach contains something that blocks the uptake of some minerals. I believe this is really a concern for people who are eating way too much spinach.

Since spinach absorbs iron (and returns it to you), there might be something about veggies that absorbed metals from the soil that would make them an issue should there be fallout in the soil (i’m guessing on this last bit, but not the first).

I could only find a danish site with an explanation, but here’s my best translation:

Original text:
Grønkål og spinat: I nogle grønsager, særlig grønkål og spinat, findes nitrat fra dyrkningen, som bakterier kan omdanne til nitrit. Det kan fx ske i tilberedt spinat og grønkål, der afkøles for langsomt og ikke opbevares koldt nok.

My rough translation:
Green cabbage and spinach: Some vegetables, especially green cabbage and spinach, contain nitrate from when they were grown. Bacteria can transform these into nitrite. That can happen in cooked spinach and green cabbage, which is cooled too slow and not stored coldly enough.

So it’s to avoid nitrite - and why that should be avoided is another question:) (A quick google search gave this link: )


Yes, that has got be it, as it seems completely consistent with my mother’s policy. I know that we’re advised not to post just to say “thanks”, but I’m really very happy to finally have this explained as it has been bugging me for years.

Besides, I have a tiny little addition on Philster’s point about spinach blocking the uptake of certain minerals. This my mother had convered as well as usually gave us a boiled egg alongside the spinach which was meant to compensate for this effect. We sure are very responsible spinach eaters in my family.:slight_smile: