Quinoa is a seed commonly thought to be a grain that is safe for human consumption and is rich in proteins, B vitamins and fibre.
It is popular because it is a complete protein source with 9 essential amino acids and it is a well-rounded nutritious food.
So, you’ve just prepared a huge batch of quinoa enough for a week or more and you’re wondering, “How long does quinoa last?” Understanding the shelf-life of these seeds is crucial because when spoiled, they may cause serious health problems.
Raw quinoa lasts between 2-3 years but when cooked, a few days if refrigerated and up to a year if frozen.
You should be concerned about bad quinoa because it may cause stomach aches, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, gagging, indigestion and discomfort.
Keep reading to learn more about the shelf-life of these seeds and how to know when they’ve gone bad.
Quinoa is a seed that when cooked, fluffs up just like rice, and no wonder many people consider it grain.
The nutritional values of a cup of these seeds are; 222 calories, 8g of protein, 39g of carbs, 5g of fibre and 4g of fat and they are gluten-free.
Quinoa can be consumed raw or cooked.
Quinoa is full of fibre and useful nutrients like lysine, manganese, iron, riboflavin, thiamine, copper and magnesium.
There are 3 major types of these seeds; red, black and white.
Red quinoa has a rich and nutty flavour and turns brown when cooked, black has an earthy and sugary flavour and the white kind is the most common with a light texture and delicate flavour.
Some of the benefits of these seeds include; lowering the risk of heart diseases, cancer and diabetes, improving digestive health and helping with cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
How Long Does Quinoa Last? Does Quinoa Go Bad?
If raw, quinoa has a shelf-life of between 2 and 3 years and can last way longer than the printed “best by date” on the package.
When cooked, the seeds become more prone to spoilage and can last between 5 and 7 days provided that they are kept in airtight containers in the fridge.
When frozen, cooked quinoa lasts between 8-12 months.
Just like most seeds, quinoa doesn’t last forever but it can for a couple of years if it is stored properly.
Usually, these seeds have a “best by” date on their packages that indicate the food’s quality and not an “expiration” date which typically indicates the food’s safety.
You can, therefore, safely consume raw quinoa past its “best by” date.
- In the pantry, raw quinoa can last between 2 and 3 years and many months past the printed “best by” date on the condition that the seeds are not exposed to moisture and are stored properly. The cooked version can last a few hours in the pantry. .
- In the refrigerator, raw quinoa also lasts between 2 and 3 years and several months past the printed date on the package. If cooked, it’ll last between 5 and 7 days provided that it is kept correctly in an airtight container. .
- In the freezer, cooked quinoa lasts between 8 and 12 months but it’ll lose its quality over time and may experience freezer burns and changes in texture. When freezing, place the quinoa in heavy-duty freezer bags or in airtight freezer-safe containers. There’s no need of freezing the raw seeds.
When storing cooked quinoa in the fridge or freezer, always ensure the seeds have cooled off a bit before packing them in airtight containers or well-sealed bags.
How to Tell if Quinoa is Bad?
It’s not easy to tell if raw quinoa has gone bad due to its extended shelf life.
However, obvious signs that your raw seeds have gone bad are; mould in the package, a funny odour or insects and bugs have gotten into the bag.
If the quinoa is kept dry, these signs rarely show, therefore, the sure way to determine whether your seeds are good or not is to cook them.
When you cook them and notice a texture and taste change, the seeds have gone bad and it is advised you discard them.
For cooked quinoa, spoilage signs are easy to spot and they include; discoloration, growth of mould which manifests as dark patches and an awful, sour smell and flavour.
When freshly cooked, these seeds typically have a nice and mildly nutty smell.
- Raw and cooked quinoa is bad if it has mould growing. This is due to exposure to moisture.
- If the quinoa whether raw or cooked, has a funny, sour smell and taste, it has spoiled. This is usually due to contaminants and exposure to moisture.
- If there’s discoloration then your quinoa has gone bad. This is also caused by moisture.
- If there are insects inside the quinoa, then discard the whole package immediately. Not storing your seeds properly in well-sealed bags or airtight containers will attract these bugs. .
- If the cooked quinoa is runnier than it was when you were storing it, it has gone bad, don’t consume.
Raw quinoa typically lasts between 2 and 3 years in the pantry provided that it is not exposed to moisture and bugs.
When cooked, it’ll last 5-7 in the refrigerator and 8-12 months in the freezer if it is stored correctly.
Cooked quinoa can only last a few hours in the pantry.
To ensure you have good quinoa; keep the raw ones completely dry in airtight containers and place them in a cool and dark section of your pantry.
If you cook them, let the leftovers cool off for around 10-20 minutes, store them in airtight containers and place them in the fridge or freezer.