Originating in the Andes mountains, quinoa has become a “superstar pseudocereal.” Yes, even though you’ll find this item in the grain aisle, it’s technically a seed—hence, it’s super safe for people with gluten sensitivity! If you’ve considered buying a box of quinoa, then you may have wondered how long it will stay fresh in the pantry. Even if you’re not buying in bulk, you can’t afford to miss the research we’ve done on preserving your quinoa.
As long as your quinoa is unopened and uncooked, it should last in the pantry for six to twelve months after the manufacturer’s expiration date. Just remember to keep your quinoa in a reliably cool, dry, and dark place. For superior shelf life, place your quinoa in an airtight container before storing it in the pantry.
While uncooked quinoa has a relatively long shelf life, there are a few tips you could use to preserve this tasty grain. For more info on storing quinoa like a pro, be sure to read through the questions below.
How Long Does Quinoa Last In The Pantry?
Quinoa has a relatively long shelf life of at least six to twelve months after your product’s official “expiration date.” Of course, this “best by” date is provided you keep your unopened quinoa package in a cool and dry area of the pantry. The more light and moisture your quinoa comes in contact with, the greater chance it will spoil early on.
How Do You Store Dry Quinoa Long-Term?
While you could store quinoa in its original packaging, you’ll have greater success using an airtight container. This is especially true if you’re trying to store large quantities of quinoa for a long time. Since these containers keep oxygen and moisture out of your grains, there’s less risk of common issues like mold or mites.
It’s also worth mentioning that quinoa has natural fatty acids. While these compounds are great news for our health, they could lead to early spoilage—especially if you live in a place with hot and humid weather.
If you don’t feel your pantry is cool enough for your quinoa, you should consider storing this grain in the freezer. You could either use freezer-safe airtight containers or Ziploc bags when freezing uncooked quinoa. Freezing quinoa is the best way to ensure it will stay fresh for at least one year. Just don’t forget to thaw your frozen quinoa before using it in a recipe.
FYI: You could learn more about using airtight containers for storage in KitchenSeer’s post, Do Airtight Containers Keep the Bugs Out?
Can You Freeze Uncooked Quinoa?
It’s safe to store your uncooked quinoa in a freezer for long-term storage. However, you shouldn’t just put an unopened box directly into the freezer. To avoid freezer burn, it’s a good idea to place your quinoa in an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag. If you’re using a Ziploc bag, be sure to squeeze all the air out before sealing your quinoa.
By the way, you could use all of these freezer tips for cooked quinoa. Generally, quinoa should last in the freezer for eight to twelve months before you notice a significant decrease in taste.
If you’d like to learn more about using Ziploc bags in the freezer, then you have to check out this post entitled, Are Ziploc Bags Airtight?
How Do You Know If Quinoa Is Spoiled?
Interestingly, it’s nearly impossible to tell whether uncooked quinoa has spoiled. Unless you see obvious signs of mold, you won’t know your quinoa is bad until you cook it.
According to pro chefs, cooked quinoa that has an abnormally hard texture isn’t safe to eat. Off odors are also a clear warning sign your quinoa has gone “south of the Andes.”
How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last At Room Temperature?
If you’ve cooked some delicious quinoa for dinner, you should eat it within at least two hours. After a couple of hours, cooked quinoa can go bad.
If possible, put whatever cooked quinoa you didn’t eat in a plastic or glass container and place it in the fridge. Generally, cooked quinoa lasts in the refrigerator for about one week, but you should give it a “sniff test” before eating it.
How Do You Store Quinoa Flour?
Quinoa flour is a fantastic option for customers interested in a low-glycemic and gluten-free flour alternative. Since there are natural oils naturally present in quinoa, quinoa flour usually lasts a few months after the expiration date when stored in the pantry. However, you could extend this shelf-life by a few months if you use an airtight container.
If you’re storing quinoa flour for the long haul, it’s recommended you freeze it in an airtight container. Your flour should last at least one year when stored in the freezer.
For more tips and tricks to using quinoa flour, you’ve got to check out KitchenSeer’s Guide To Using Quinoa Flour.
Is Uncooked Quinoa Safe To Eat?
While it’s possible to eat sprouts from uncooked quinoa, most nutritionists don’t advise it. Heck, even raw food supporters like Steve Meyerowitz aren’t big on eating raw quinoa sprouts.
There are a few reasons many people aren’t keen on eating quinoa this way. Most significantly, quinoa sprouts tend to attract mold and mildew. For this reason, you must thoroughly inspect your quinoa sprouts before adding them to a meal.
Some people also complain that quinoa sprouts have a somewhat bitter taste compared with cooked quinoa. Plus, it takes just as much (if not more!) effort to make sprouted quinoa as it does to cook this food.
If you’re curious, it’s not a good idea to eat raw quinoa seeds. However, there are a few manufacturers that make snacks with quinoa. So, if you want to eat some quinoa throughout the day, you may want to check out one of these pre-packaged goodies.
How Do You Make Sprouts With Raw Quinoa?
If you’re dead-set on eating raw quinoa sprouts, you must start with an unhulled quinoa product. Once you have your seeds at the ready, place them in a mesh bag, rinse them thoroughly, and let them soak in water in the fridge overnight. The following day, take your quinoa out, rinse in cool water, and let it air dry.
You will have to repeat the above process at least twice per day for about three days. After repeated rinsings, you should see tiny sprouts on the quinoa when they’re ready to eat. At this point, you could eat your quinoa sprouts as is or cook them.
To make your life easier, you could put your quinoa in sprouting jars in-between washing and draining sessions.
For a more detailed guide on making sprouted quinoa at home, you may want to check out this video tutorial:
Keep Your Quinoa Cool For Long-Haul Storage
Uncooked quinoa has a long shelf-life, but that doesn’t mean you could just “set it and forget it.” Remember that this seed has natural oils, which means it could go rancid when stored in hot, damp, and bright areas. To prevent this from happening, you should keep your quinoa in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. You could also put your quinoa in the freezer for safe long-term storage.