Wheatgrass is a popular health food made from the young shoots of the wheat plant. It contains high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many people grow wheatgrass at home and juice or blend it to drink for its nutritional benefits. However, wheatgrass is perishable and has a relatively short shelf life. Knowing how to properly store wheatgrass can help you keep it fresh longer.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how long wheatgrass lasts in the fridge. We’ll discuss proper storage methods, signs of spoilage, and tips for extending its shelf life. Whether you’re buying pre-packaged wheatgrass or growing your own, this guide will help you get the most out of this nutritious superfood.
How Long Does Wheatgrass Last in the Fridge?
When stored properly in the refrigerator, wheatgrass will typically last around 5-7 days before it starts to degrade in quality. However, there are several factors that can affect its exact shelf life:
Wheatgrass grown outdoors in soil tends to have a slightly longer shelf life than hydroponically grown wheatgrass. Soil-grown wheatgrass lasts 5-10 days in the fridge, while hydroponic wheatgrass will start to yellow after 5-7 days.
The temperature and humidity level of your refrigerator make a difference. Storing wheatgrass in a high humidity drawer or crisper will help it last a day or two longer. Optimal fridge temperature for wheatgrass is around 34-40°F.
Wheatgrass stored in an airtight container or bag will maintain freshness longer than wheatgrass left loosely packed. Exposure to air causes it to degrade faster.
Younger wheatgrass shoots are more tender and perishable than older, more developed shoots. Typically wheatgrass is harvested around 7-10 days after sprouting, when it reaches 6-8 inches tall. Older wheatgrass past its ideal harvesting stage will store slightly longer.
Cut, juiced, or chopped wheatgrass deteriorates faster than whole, intact shoots. Damaged plant tissues are more prone to spoilage. Pre-cut wheatgrass from the store will have a shorter fridge life than homegrown wheatgrass you process yourself.
Following proper storage methods, most wheatgrass will last 5-7 days in the fridge before needing to be consumed or composted. Next we’ll go over some signs of spoilage and when to throw wheatgrass out.
Signs of Spoilage
Here are some telltale signs that indicate your wheatgrass has gone bad and should be discarded:
Change in Color
Fresh wheatgrass has a vibrant green color. As it starts to spoil, it will turn yellow or brown and look dried out. This is a sign of oxidation and nutrient deterioration. Discoloration usually starts at the ends of the blades and progresses upwards.
Healthy wheatgrass should feel firm and crunchy. Soft, mushy, or slimy spots indicate bacterial growth and spoilage. Avoid any wheatgrass that feels overly soft or moist.
When wheatgrass starts rotting, it gives off a sour, pungent odor. This is caused by the buildup of bacteria and microbial action. Fresh wheatgrass should smell sweet and grassy.
You may notice fuzzy mold growing on old, spoiled wheatgrass. This could be white, green, or grey in color. Mold is a clear sign that wheatgrass has been kept too long and needs to be discarded.
As wheatgrass ages, the shoots start to wilt, droop, and look lifeless. Wilted wheatgrass has lost moisture and should not be consumed.
Trust your senses – if the wheatgrass doesn’t look, smell or feel fresh, it’s best to throw it out and start over with a new batch. Next we’ll go over some storage tips to help maximize its fridge life.
Storage Tips for Wheatgrass
Here are some recommendations for keeping your wheatgrass garden fresh longer:
Store in an airtight bag or container, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. This prevents oxygen exposure which accelerates deterioration.
Keep wheatgrass in the high humidity drawer or produce compartment. The increased moisture helps slow down spoilage.
Paper Towel Lining
Before storing, lay wheatgrass on top of a dry paper towel. Place another towel on top then seal the container. This absorbs excess moisture to prevent sliminess.
Ideal fridge temperature is 34-40°F. Higher than 40°F causes faster spoilage. Make sure your fridge is properly chilled.
Avoid Light Exposure
Exposure to light also hastens deterioration. Store wheatgrass in an opaque container away from light sources.
Process Just Before Using
Don’t cut or juice wheatgrass until right before you’re ready to use it. Damaged plant tissues spoil fastest.
Compost Old Wheatgrass
Don’t let spoiled wheatgrass go to waste! Place it in your compost bin or use it to feed your garden plants.
Proper storage and handling makes all the difference in extending the fridge life of your wheatgrass. Next we’ll go over some common questions about wheatgrass shelf life and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you freeze wheatgrass?
Yes, freezing is an excellent way to preserve wheatgrass for later use. Blanch wheatgrass for 1-2 minutes first to retain nutrients. Let cool, dry thoroughly, and pack into an airtight freezer bag or container, removing as much air as possible. Frozen wheatgrass keeps for 6-8 months. Thaw in the fridge before using.
Can you dehydrate wheatgrass?
Dehydrating is another preservation method that allows long-term storage. Spread wheatgrass evenly on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 95°F for 6-8 hours until completely dried and crispy. Stored in an airtight container, dehydrated wheatgrass will keep for up to one year at room temperature.
Can you refrigerate cut wheatgrass?
Pre-cut, packaged wheatgrass from the grocery store can be refrigerated in its original bag for 5-7 days. For best quality, use it as soon as possible after opening. Transferring it to an airtight container helps extend its shelf life slightly.
How can you tell if wheatgrass has gone bad?
Refer to the “Signs of Spoilage” section above. If wheatgrass shows any discoloration, foul odor, wilting, mushiness, or mold growth it has spoiled and should not be consumed. When in doubt, throw it out!
Can you eat wheatgrass that smells a little off?
It’s not recommended. Even slightly funky smelling wheatgrass is an indication it has started rotting and bacterial action could make you sick if ingested. Don’t risk it.
Does wheatgrass grow mold?
Yes, wheatgrass is susceptible to mold if stored too long. This appears as white, grey, or green fuzz. Moldy wheatgrass should be discarded and not consumed.
Knowing how to identify spoiled wheatgrass and being diligent about consuming or discarding it within the 5-7 day optimal window is key to avoiding any mold issues or adverse reactions.
When properly stored, wheatgrass will typically keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator before going bad. Keep it in an airtight container at optimal humidity and temperature to extend its shelf life as long as possible. Check frequently for signs of spoilage like discoloration, slime, odor, wilting, or mold. Freezing and dehydrating allow for long-term preservation. With the proper handling, wheatgrass can retain its nutritional potency for your regular juicing and smoothie needs.
|Up to 1 year