Quinoa is a popular grain in the vegan world. It is a gluten-free seed often used as a carbohydrate substitute. Quinoa is used in a wide range of dishes including salads and protein shakes.
Due to its high nutritional content, it is considered a super food and it is associated with many health benefits. Studies have found that quinoa helps reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Once cooked, quinoa will expire quickly; therefore, it’s important that you know how to store it. Here are a few tips to give you a helping hand.
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Does Quinoa Go Bad?
Quinoa is a grain and it will expire after a certain period of time even if it hasn’t been cooked.
As with all grains, the way quinoa is stored will determine its shelf life.
Therefore, it is essential that it is stored in the right way to ensure that it lasts as long as its supposed to.
How Long Does Quinoa Last?
The length of time quinoa lasts will depend on whether it has been cooked or not. It is safe to say that an unopened packet of quinoa will last past the expiration date when stored in a cool dry place such as a pantry.
However, once it has been cooked, quinoa won’t last more than one week in the fridge and up to 12 months if it’s been frozen.
|In the Pantry
|In the Fridge
|In the Freezer
|After the expiry date
|After the expiry date
After the expiry date
|6 -7 days
8 -12 Months
4 Tips to Tell if Quinoa has Gone Bad
Quinoa will go bad if it’s left in the fridge for longer than one week or exposed to room temperature for too long after it has been cooked. Here are four tips to determine whether quinoa has gone bad:
- The Smell: Like most grains, quinoa doesn’t have a smell, but when it is radiating an unpleasant odor similar to bad smelling feet, you will know that it’s time to throw it away.
- Slimy Texture: When quinoa starts to rot, the texture will change. When cooked, quinoa is naturally a sticky and fluffy dish. But the grains are dry and when you let it fall from a fork, they will float down naturally. However, when quinoa has gone bad, the grains will become slimy, when you pull them apart there will be a draw string effect, and the stringy like substance will be pure white in color.
- Mold: When a green or white substance forms on the quinoa, it has gone moldy. Mold may also form as a fuzzy white substance over the grains. Since quinoa is typically white in color, if the mold is white it might be difficult to see. Therefore, always make sure you perform the full range of checks to ensure the quinoa has not gone bad before eating it.
- Hard Texture: Because quinoa is a soft grain when cooked, if it goes hard, this is also a sign that it has expired.
3 Tips to Store Quinoa for Longer
Quinoa is a delicate grain, and you will need to store it properly to ensure it doesn’t expire prematurely. When storing it in the fridge or freezer, you will need to make sure it has cooled down to room temperature beforehand.
The reason for this is that when hot food is put in the fridge, it increases the chances of it becoming infected with salmonella bacteria.
Additionally, hot food puts other foods such as meat, vegetables and eggs at risk of contamination. It is also important to mention that quinoa should not be kept at room temperature for longer than two hours because this also causes bacteria to multiply which can cause quinoa to spoil quickly.
Here are three tips on how to store quinoa:
- In the Pantry: You can store quinoa in the pantry as long as the area is cool and dry. If you have opened the packet, its best to tip the remaining quinoa into an airtight glass jar with a sealed lid. Alternatively, you can store it in a plastic container and keep it in the pantry.
- In the Fridge: If the quinoa hasn’t cooled down to room temperature within two hours, you can speed up the process by chilling it in an ice water bath. You can do this by filling a large bowl with ice water, transferring the quinoa to a plastic tub, and putting a lid on it. Place the container in the ice water bath, put a tea towel over it to lock in the temperature, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Once cool, place the quinoa in the fridge. Put the container at the back of the fridge and not on the door because each time the fridge is opened, the temperature changes slightly. As mentioned, quinoa is a delicate grain and must remain in a constant temperature if its going to last for one week.
- In the Freezer: As mentioned, cooked quinoa will last for up to one year in the freezer. Another way to store quinoa is to put it into shallow freezer-proof containers before storing them in the freezer.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Quinoa
It is not advised that you consume expired quinoa, but if you do happen to eat some by accident, you may experience mild food poisoning. A mouthful of spoilt quinoa isn’t going to do too much damage, but if you start experiencing the following symptoms, according to the Mayo Clinic, you’ve got food poisoning:
- Headache: Food poisoning causes dehydration because of the excess fluid that leaves the body due to sweating and diarrhea. One of the consequences of dehydration is a headache. When the body is starved of water, it pulls water from different organs and the brain is usually the first target. Instead of taking pain medicine to alleviate the pain, drink plenty of water, you should also drink coconut water to replace lost electrolytes.
- Diarrhea: The body reacts to harmful toxins through forced elimination. People usually get worried when they get diarrhea, but it’s a sign that the body is cleansing itself.
- Vomiting: Again, vomiting is how the body rids itself of harmful toxins.
- Fatigue: Since the body is working overtime to get rid of the harmful toxins that it has been exposed to, you are going to feel abnormally tired.
- Loss of Appetite: It is not uncommon for people to drink soup or chicken broth during a bout of food poisoning. This is because liquids are easier on the stomach when a person is suffering from food poisoning.
- Nausea: Even if you do throw up, if harmful toxins are still present in the body, you will continue to feel like vomiting.
- Stomach Cramps: When the body is purging itself from harmful toxins, you will feel pain in your abdomen in the form of stomach cramps.
- Dehydrated: You should expect to feel dehydrated while you are suffering from food poisoning even after the symptoms have left you. Through vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating from a fever, you will lose a lot of bodily fluids.
Mild food poisoning symptoms won’t last for longer than 3 days. However, if the pain does begin to get significantly worse and the symptoms don’t go away after taking some over the counter medication, don’t wait around, book an appointment to see your doctor.
Can You Freeze Quinoa?
If you’ve cooked too much quinoa, you can store it in the freezer for up to 12 months. You will need to let the quinoa cool down to room temperature, the fastest way to do this is to spread it out over a baking tray.
Once it has completely cooled down, divide the quinoa into the desired portions and transfer it into Ziploc bags. Before sealing the bags, make sure they have as little air in them as possible, this will prevent freezer burn and allow it to freeze properly.
Once sealed, place the Ziploc bag into a larger Ziploc bag, label them with the date and store the bags of quinoa in the freezer.
To eat the quinoa after freezing, take as many bags as you will need out of the freezer, put them in a bowl, and leave them to defrost at room temperature. You can also leave the quinoa to thaw in the fridge overnight. Again, put it in a bowl to catch the water while it defrosts.
You can also defrost the quinoa by tipping it into a microwavable bowl and heating it on a high temperature for one minute.
Quinoa is a delicious grain that can be used in a variety of dishes. If you have cooked excess, you can avoid it going to waste by storing the quinoa in the right way.
If you are going to store it in the fridge, make sure you eat the quinoa within seven days. But by far, the best way to ensure longevity is to freeze cooked quinoa, in which case you can keep it for up to 12 months.