How long do chia seeds last?

So you’ve found a package of chia seeds that’s a few months after the “Best by” date. The first questions that come to mind is whether it’s still safe to eat and how long do chia seeds last. The shelf life of chia seeds is really long, so if the package was stored properly, the seeds will most likely be safe to eat. In this article we will talk about storing, shelf life and signs of spoilage of chia seeds.

Yogurt with chia seeds

Photo by Brenda Godinez on Unsplash.

How to store chia seeds?

Keep chia seeds in a cool and dry place, preferably in the pantry. If pantry is not an option, storing it in room temperature isn’t much of an issue. Generally speaking, the quality of chia seeds, like almost any other food, drops over time. Storing it in cool temperature will slow down this process a bit. After opening the package, make sure the seeds are always in a tightly closed container. This way, even if moisture gets to where the seeds are stored, it won’t get into the seeds themselves.

What about freezing, you ask. The shelf life of chia seeds is really long, so unless you want to use the seeds in 5 years from now, there’s no point in freezing the seeds. Just keep them in a cool place without direct light and the seeds will be just fine.

How long do chia seeds last?

Each package should have a “Best by” date on it. It’s not an expiration date but only information about how long the seeds will keep at best quality. The “Best by” date will likely be a year or two from the moment you’ve bought the package. After those two years, if they are stored properly, the seeds will still be just fine to use. Generally speaking, there’s no set shelf life of chia seeds. As mentioned earlier, the quality slowly degrades over time, but unless you tamper with the seeds, they won’t go bad. That means that if you have a package sitting in the cupboard for three years, the seeds will likely still be edible. If that’s the case, make sure you examine the seeds thoroughly before eating.

Chia pudding

Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash.

How to tell if chia seeds are bad?

If water got to the seeds, there will likely be mold. If that’s the case, just toss the seeds out. Don’t even think about throwing out the moldy part and keeping the rest. If there are any other visual changes, tossing it out is the way to go. Same thing with rancid smell. Since seeds’ smell is barely noticeable, it makes sense to grind some seeds (that will release the scent) and sniff them. If the smell is off, toss them out.

If the seeds look and smell okay, which will most likely be the case, eat a small amount. For most people chia seeds are devoid of any discernible taste, so if they taste bitter, that’s a good sign it’s time to throw them out. Obviously, judging by taste would require you to know how chia seeds taste to your taste buds, so you can compare.

Are chia seeds safe to use after “expiration” date?

As already mentioned, chia seeds don’t come an expiration date, but rather with a “Best by” date. If stored properly, the seeds will be safe to use for months or even years after that date. If you’re about to open and use a package of chia seeds that has been sitting in the cupboard for God-knows-how-long, make sure you check if everything is alright with the package and its contents before eating.

Summary

If you’re one of the health-conscious people, chia seeds are likely quite often in your menu. If they’re not, it’s worth thinking about adding them to your meals regularly. They are packed with vitamins such as thiamin and niacin and a number of mineral. You can put them into smoothies, granola bars, yogurts or even bread. Plus, as you already know, they last a really long time.

References

Published April 10, 2018

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