I get this question a lot:
“How long can I store a green smoothie in the refrigerator?” and “How can I store leafy greens without them going bad on me?”
I get these two questions often enough from my 10-day green smoothie cleanse participants that I thought I’d share the answer publicly.
Green smoothies are best consumed immediately after making them.
However, they can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for up to 48 hours.
So go ahead and make your day’s smoothie the night before, or even a day or two ahead, and you’ll be fine.
Give your green smoothie a good shake before you drink it. Separation will occur, and it’s normal.
After 48 hours, the flavor, texture, and nutrition will degrade.
Some smoothie combinations might become too thick or gelatinous if left for too long. For example, a smoothie made with kale and fresh blueberries will become gelatinous if it sits for more than a couple of hours.
Flavor might also change. I find that green smoothies taste the best when they are just made. They are not as flavorful the next day.
How To Store A Green Smoothie
Green smoothies should always be kept in the refrigerator.
Glass mason jars are the ideal solution for keeping them air-tight and fresh. They will last about 48 hours that way.
Never store a smoothie in your blender pitcher. Most blender manufacturers caution that storing foods in the pitcher may destroy the seal and make the blender harder to clean.
You can transport a green smoothie (to work, on the road, etc…) in any insulated travel container that will keep it cool.
Do Green Smoothies Lose Nutrients When Stored?
Any food loses nutrients the longer it sits. In fact, fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients after they are harvested, and as they sit in the store.
Personally, I don’t worry about nutrient loss in a green smoothie when it is consumed within 24 to 48 hours.
Time-Saving Green Smoothie-Making Tips
If your morning is just too hectic to squeeze in a few minutes to make a green smoothie, then you can certainly blend it up the night before.
For an even fresher option, chop up all of the fruit and leafy green ingredients the night before, and keep them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. In the morning, all you have to do is dump everything into your blender and hit the “blend” button!
And yet another time-saving option is to pick one day per week to chop all of your smoothie ingredients, including greens. Divide everything up into single-smoothie serving sizes and place them in freezer-safe containers.
You can label what’s in each smoothie if you want. When you want a smoothie, simply take a pre-portioned smoothie bag out of the freezer, toss the chopped ingredients in your blender, add some liquid and blend.
I would not recommend freezing root vegetables like carrots and beets as they will last a long time in the refrigerator anyway, and would be very hard to blend when frozen.
Kale, spinach, and collard greens freeze well, but I don’t recommend freezing lettuce or dandelion greens.
Fresh produce is always better than frozen, but if you don’t have time to make a fresh green smoothie every morning, this pre-portioned smoothie tip is a great time saver.
How To Keep Leafy Greens From Going Bad In The Fridge
I am frequently asked about the proper way to wash and store fresh leafy greens. As you probably know, greens love to wilt and spoil before you have a chance to use them.
After years of eating a TON of greens (my husband and I buy 10-12 bunches at a time), I have learned a few tricks for keeping leafy greens fresh for as long as possible.
Don’t Leave Them In Produce Bags
As soon as we come home after buying greens, I place them into plastic tubs lined with paper towel. We reuse the 1 pound tubs that baby spinach or mixed greens come in.
You can also buy produce tubs at kitchen and home stores, or Amazon.com
To regulate moisture in the plastic tub, I place one paper towel in the bottom of the tub. Then I add the greens and cover them with the another paper towel before putting the lid on.
I might add a layer of paper towel between bunches of greens if they are particularly wet (from the misters in the produce displays).
I have since switched to reusable cloth “paper” towels, which work great and they are much more eco-friendly. I bought mine on Etsy.com.
If you are only buying a few greens, you could also use a large resealable bag. Make sure you squeeze as much air out as possible and toss in a half-sheet of paper towel to absorb excess moisture.
Leave the bag open about an inch or two to promote air flow. Never store greens in produce bags as they will rapidly wilt, yellow and get slimy.
Proper Placement In The Refrigerator
I do not pre-wash leafy greens. I usually cut the ends of the stems off, usually just above or below where the twist tie bundles them together.
When placing them in the refrigerator, I always make sure the the stem-side faces the back of the fridge. Delicate greens may freeze if the leafy tips are up against the back of the fridge where it is coldest.
If you have problems with greens freezing, keep them in the crisper drawers, or place them in the door compartments.
How Long Leafy Greens Last In The Fridge
Storage times for greens may vary. If you buy them really fresh, they’ll last longer than if you buy them when they are just starting to wilt.
Kale and chard will last longer than dandelion greens and spinach so use those the first part of the week and save the heartier greens for later in the week.
- Kale and collards last the longest and may keep for up to a week or longer using my tub storage method.
- Dandelion greens and most lettuces generally last about 3-5 days if kept relatively dry.
- Chard may last up to 4-5 days.
- Baby spinach and mixed greens that you buy in bulk may last 3-4 days depending on their freshness and moisture.
- Kale and spinach freeze well. You can buy them in the large tubs they sometimes come in and place them directly in the freezer (no need to blanch them).
- Most other greens should not be frozen since they are too delicate and may get freezer burn.
How To Wash Greens
As far as washing leafy greens, all I do is run them under tap water to remove any dirt or debris.
I don’t use a veggie wash and I don’t use any disinfectant (as long as I am not traveling outside the United States). I wash my greens just prior to using.
If I am going to freeze greens that have not been pre-washed, I will wash them and then set them out on a towel to dry before placing in the freezer. Avoid freezing any greens that are wet or saturated with water.
These tips helped me cut down on trips to the grocery store. Greens never go bad on us, even when we buy 10 or more bunches at a time.
Our biggest challenge with greens now is fitting them all in the refrigerator after we get them home!