Did you know quinoa is a seed and not a grain? This tiny little nutrient-rich seed is one you want to get your facts straight about.
Why? Well, to make sure you get all the fantastic benefits of what scholars like E McDonell call a miracle food.
The ancient Inca Empire revered the quinoa crop and referred to it as “the mother of all grains.”
This rings even more true today with numerous studies that have solidified its status as a superfood. Just scrap out ‘grain’ and put ‘seed’ in there, and voila.
According to Healthline, quinoa is one of the richest plant-based protein sources to date.
It has several essential nutrients, including iron, magnesium, riboflavin, manganese, Vitamin B, and nine essential amino acids. And to top it all, it’s packed with fiber and gluten-free!
So, let’s find out the answer to the question “how long does quinoa last?” and all the contributing factors that affect its shelf life.
How Long Does Quinoa Last? Does Quinoa Go Bad?
There are two main factors that contribute to your quinoa’s shelf-life—storage and whether your quinoa is cooked or not.
Quinoa, when stored uncooked, lasts for a much longer time than cooked quinoa. The difference is literally a matter of years.
Uncooked dry quinoa lasts between 2-3 years when stored properly. In contrast, cooked quinoa lasts for a maximum of about 6-7 days.
Whether your quinoa is regular white, or red, or black, the storage period for all three are virtually the same. Uncooked lasting between 2-3 years and cooked between 6-7 days in a refrigerator.
This is only an estimate, however. Your quinoa can last longer or shorter, depending on how well you store it.
In a freezer, your cooked quinoa can last between 8-12 months.
Quinoa packages are usually labeled with a ‘best by’ date and not an expiration date.
But yes, your quinoa will eventually go bad, so store them right and ensure that they last longer. Get the most out of your quinoa by following the right storing methods.
For storing uncooked quinoa, you need to make sure it’s perfectly dry and store it in a dry airtight container.
You do not need to refrigerate dry uncooked quinoa. It’s not going to make much of a difference because it’s moisture-free. Just store it in a cool and dry cabinet or shelf.
As for cooked quinoa, refrigerating or freezing it will make it last longer. Make sure you seal it tight with a plastic wrap to keep the moisture and contaminants out.
If you don’t have plastic wrap, cover it with a lid if it’s a container or pot. You could also put it in a sealed plastic zip bag.
But it is advisable that you consume freshly prepared quinoa for best results, nutrition-wise.
How to Tell if Quinoa is Bad?
The signs of spoilt quinoa vary in uncooked and cooked Quinoa. It is comparatively easier to spot spoilt quinoa when it is cooked than when it is uncooked.
As mentioned, cooked quinoa spoils faster, and hence its signs are more obvious and stronger than uncooked quinoa.
In the case of uncooked quinoa, when spoilt, it may have a sour odor, mold, and even insects and bugs scurrying around.
However, sometimes your quinoa can look and smell absolutely fine but still may be harmful to eat. But not to worry, it’ll become pretty obvious once you cook it.
Once you cook quinoa that looks fine but isn’t actually edible, you’ll notice that the texture and taste is a bit off.
The quinoa will taste a little chalky with a hard texture. If this is the case, just get yourself a new packet and don’t risk it.
It is crucial to make sure you’re storing your quinoa correctly. You do not want such good food to go to waste.
The smart thing to do is to estimate the amount of quinoa you need and purchase accordingly. Store it the right way because it worth the effort and more.
If your quinoa has gone bad, it’s probably because it’s past its expiration date. It could also be because you’ve let moisture and contaminants in.
Or because of the temperature of your kitchen or pantry. Humidity can make things rot faster.
Food is one of our principal sources of sustenance. It is a precious asset, and we need to know how best to preserve and make use of it.
Research conducted on quinoa available on Springer claims quinoa’s benefits not only for the human body but also the environment.
It is believed that quinoa is not only nutritious but also a very sustainable food item.
And with the growing need for human communities to be more environmentally conscious, we hope you learned more about quinoa and how to make it last longer.