How long can you store salad in the fridge? (+7 tips)
In this article, we will discuss how long you can store different types of salad, when the old salad is no longer safe to eat and how can you extend the shelf life and the safety of your salad.
How long can you store salad in the fridge?
You can store salad for 1 to 5 days in the fridge, depending on the type of salad. The time storage recommendation in the fridge for the homemade salads is (1, 2):
- Salad containing fresh lettuce or other greens can be stored for 4 days
- Egg salad can be kept for 4 days
- Potato or pasta salad has a shelf life of a maximum 5 days
- Salad containing seafood, ham or chicken can be stored for 4 days
What about store-bought salad?
Store-bought salads usually have a longer shelf life, as they are produced under controlled conditions to avoid contamination and are packed in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), which reduces the growth of microorganisms (3).
Many commercial salad products, such as potato salads and tzatziki, contain natural or chemical preservatives, which help increase their shelf life (2, 4).
- Commercial bagged salads can be stored for 7 days in the fridge when kept unopened (3). After opening, the shelf life is 2 days.
- Commercial potato salad has a shelf life of 20 days unopened.
- Commercial tzatziki salad has a shelf life of over 2 weeks unopened.
What about salad with dressings?
Salad dressings may improve the shelf life of the salad, as they contain ingredients such as vinegar, salt and herbs, which are sources of antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds (3, 4, 8).
However, greens should be dressed at the time they are consumed and not before. Adding dressings to leafy salads leads to their faster wilting (7).
On the other hand, the shelf life of mayonnaise and tzatziki may be increased with the use of salad dressings (4, 8).
Can you eat a day-old salad?
Yes, you can eat a day-old salad, unless it has signs of spoilage, such as off-odour and slimy texture.
When is old salad no longer safe to eat?
Old salad is no longer safe to eat when it changes in its appearance, smell, flavour and texture, which becomes unpleasant. Some signs in the salad may indicate that it is deteriorated and no longer safe to eat, such as (2, 3, 4, 5):
- Fermented or “fruity” odour, in the case of fresh salads and greens
- Rancid odour, in the case of potato salad and mayonnaise and salads containing meats
- Slimy leaves
- Roten and mushy leaves
- Off-flavours, such as bitter, rancid and acetic
Can old salad make you sick?
Yes, consuming old salad can make you sick, as it can be contaminated with a high amount of microorganisms or their toxins (5). Foodborne illnesses are caused by the ingestion of foods that have been incorrectly stored or stored for too long.
How can you make your salad last longer?
You can make your salad last longer by following these tips (2, 3, 6, 8):
- Use only fresh ingredients
- Ensure that you wash your hands and utensils, cutting board and food containers to be used
- Ensure that you wash the ingredients with running water, removing dirt, insects, debris and damaged parts
- In the case of homemade mayonnaise, add salt, vinegar or lemon juice to reduce risks of spoilage (salt and vinegar are natural preservatives)
- Do not leave the salad for more than 2 hours unrefrigerated
- Store the salad leftovers in a food container with a lid to avoid contamination and loss of moisture
- Do not previously add dressings to your leafy salad
In this article, the shelf life of different types of salad was discussed. Salad is a very perishable food with a short shelf life. The shelf life of salad depends on many factors. It is possible to extend the shelf life of your salad, by following some recommendations.
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