How to Store Quinoa for Maximum Shelf Life
To the Incas, quinoa was known as a superfood with the ability to extend the lifespan of those who consumed it. Its health benefits have been known for thousands of years by ancient cultures, and it has only become known to the rest of the world in the past few decades. Now, you can find quinoa all over the world and take benefits of this superfood. As we prepare for SHTF scenarios, it is important to have long lasting foods that can provide numerous health benefits. For this reason, we think it is important to learn how to store quinoa for maximum shelf life.
The shelf life of quinoa varies depending on the type of container. When kept in a 5 gallon bucket, quinoa can be stored for over 20 years. Quinoa can also be stored in mylar bags which can keep quinoa fresh for up to 8 years. Mason jars are also an effective way to store quinoa as it can keep it fresh for 2-3 years.
What Is Quinoa?
The quinoa we consume is the seeds that come from the quinoa flower. It’s a type of flower that belongs to the Amantha family and is native to the Andean mountains in Peru and Bolivia. Since quinoa grows on a flower, it is not a grain. However, it is often grouped with rice, barley, and wheat because of its texture and taste. Still, it can be used in place of grains as a healthy substitute for grains.
There are dozens of quinoa varieties, according to the Whole Grain Council, but the most widely available quinoas are:
- White Quinoa: White quinoa is softer than the other varieties and a close replacement to rice in many scenarios. White quinoa is the most common type of quinoa found in stores.
- Red Quinoa: Red quinoa is crunchier and holds its shape better than other varieties, so it is often used in salads and as a replacement for rice.
- Black Quinoa: Black quinoa has a similar texture to red quinoa but has a sweeter and earthier taste than white quinoa.
Quinoa has been cultivated in Peru for over 4,000 years and was seen as a miracle plant by the Inca people, as they would call the “Mother Grain.” Despite its widespread use in Peru and Bolivia, it has only become popular internationally in recent years as the health benefits of quinoa have become better known.
Today, quinoa is widely available and can be found in most supermarkets and on the internet. Additionally, quinoa is commonly used in flour, bread, and to produce other foods.
For preppers, quinoa is a great prepper product because it is less perishable than other foods, has numerous nutritional benefits, and can be kept for decades.
Health Facts of Quinoa
There are so many health facts of quinoa that it is almost surprising how numerous they are. What is unique about quinoa is that it is a complete protein, unlike many other plant based foods, meaning it provides all the amino acids needed to build proteins. Proteins are important for the body because they help make new cells and repair older ones. Every cell in the body needs proteins.
Additionally, quinoa is high in fibers which help you feel full longer and fight against constipation. This will also help improve bowel health and helps lower cholesterol levels.
Another benefit of quinoa is quinoa is high in antioxidants which can help prevent damage to essential organs and prevent disease. Quinoa can be a great source of antioxidants for those seeking gluten free food options.
Quinoa is filled with numerous macro and micronutrients. 1 Cup of quinoa contains:
Nutrient 1 Cup (140g)
How to Store Uncooked Quinoa?
We have heard too many stories of food spoiling before its expiration date because of placing food in the incorrect storage location. So to prevent that from happening to you, it is important to know how to store quinoa properly. Fortunately, storing raw quinoa isn’t complicated.
Before beginning the food storage process, you should know the goal is to reduce exposure to 1) moisture, 2) oxygen, 3) heat, and 4) direct sunlight. Once you remove the elements that cause spoilage, it can be safe to consume for at least two years and as long as 20 years in the proper storage location.
Recommended methods for storing quinoa are:
- Mason Jars
- Mylar Bags
- 5 Gallon Buckets
Including oxygen absorbers with the quinoa will extend the shelf life longer. The oxygen absorbers slow down the aging process and reduce the moisture in the seeds, preventing mold from spreading throughout your supply.
Related Article: Oxygen Absorbers vs. Silica Gel Packets
Shelf life of Uncooked Quinoa
The shelf life of quinoa varies by the way it is stored. However, to ensure the longest possible shelf life, quinoa should avoid exposure to moisture, oxygen, direct sunlight, and heat. Naturally, not all packaging methods are made equal, and some packaging methods are better than others. Based on the packaging, the estimated shelf life is:
|Storage Method||Shelf Life (years)|
|5 Gallon Bucket||20+|
What are the Best Storage Methods for Uncooked Quinoa?
If your goal is to develop an emergency food storage for long term emergencies, the best way to store uncooked quinoa is by including it in a 5 gallon bucket. Keeping quinoa in a 5 gallon bucket will keep it edible for over 20 years. Mylar bags are also effective for long term storage as well, as they can keep quinoa fresh for 8 years.
For shorter term food storage, raw quinoa can be stored in an airtight container such as a mason jar for 2-3 years. Mason jars are recommended when you expect to use the quinoa over the next year or two.
Although PETE bottles can be used for storage purposes, we advise against them because they are not as effective in protecting against direct sunlight and heat.
Does Uncooked Quinoa Go Bad?
Yes, uncooked quinoa can go bad; however, it can be stored for a long time. The main reason for spoilage are exposure to moisture and oxygen, which encourage mold to spread. This is why uncooked quinoa should be kept in a cool, dry place.
Consuming bad quinoa is both unsavory and can lead to foodborne illnesses. However, this could be prevented by noticing the signs of mold or insects in your batch of raw quinoa. When looking for mold, be attentive to any holes or dampness on the container, as this would increase exposure to mold causing factors.
Can you Freeze Uncooked Quinoa?
Yes, uncooked quinoa can be frozen and stored in a freezer. For safe storing, frozen quinoa can be kept in mylar bags and 5 gallon buckets. However, it is not necessary, and you may want to keep the space available for other food items such as frozen meats.
At room temperature, dried quinoa properly stored in a 5 gallon bucket can be kept for over 20 years. Quinoa stored in a mylar bag has a shelf life of up to 8 years.
How to Store Cooked Quinoa?
Cooked quinoa in the refrigerator will last about 7 days. However, to ensure the quinoa lasts until then, it should be protected in an airtight container to ensure it retains its flavor and freshness.
After 7 days, the cooked quinoa should be disposed of because it can cause a foodborne illness. If you expect to use the quinoa after a week, it is suggested to keep the quinoa in a freezer.
Can you Freeze Cooked Quinoa?
Yes, cooked quinoa can be kept frozen in a freezer. When storing quinoa in a freezer, the container should be both freezer safe and kept in an airtight container. We suggest keeping cooked quinoa in the freezer for no longer than 4 months; however, some argue it can be kept there for as long as 6 months.
What happens if you Eat Bad Quinoa?
For someone who consumes bad quinoa, they may find themselves with food poising, which can lead to stomach pain and nausea.
The signs of bad quinoa are not always clear, but you should be on the lookout for an off odor, discoloration, and mold. If you have any thoughts the quinoa may be spoiled, it is better to dispose of it than risk illness.
Is Quinoa a good Prepper Food?
Quinoa is a superfood and can be an excellent source of calories and nutrition in a SHTF scenario. Fortunately, quinoa is easy to find as it is located in most grocery stores.
When it comes to food storage, quinoa is incredibly convenient. It can take the form of numerous containers and can be stored for over 20 years if stored properly.
Also, one of the benefits of quinoa is that it can be used for any meal of the day. It can be used as a breakfast base in stews and salads and take the place of rice, barley, or wheat in a dish. The flavor of quinoa is subtle, so it doesn’t overpower meals. And of the benefits of eating quinoa is that it provides the eight essential amino acids that form complex proteins and other nutrients such as Zinc, Potassium, Iron, and Cooper.
Additionally, it is easy to cook, and the steps are similar to cooking rice. It can also be kept in cold water overnight.
All in all, quinoa should be considered for any prepper who is considering building their emergency food storage location. Quinoa is a versatile ingredient that can provide you with calories and nutrients in a SHTF scenario.
Learning how to store quinoa properly will allow you to have a healthy and nutritious food source. Uncooked quinoa stored in 5 gallon buckets stays edible for as long as 20 years. It can also stay fresh for as long as 8 years in a mylar bag and 2-3 years in an airtight container.
When it comes to cooked quinoa, it can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Refrigerated quinoa has a short shelf life of less than a week. However, cooked quinoa stored in a freezer will have can still be consumed 4 months after being stored.
If you are looking to build an emergency food storage, it would be a good idea to prepare quinoa for long term storage. Although it is not a grain, it is a close substitute filled with essential amino acids and vitamins. And as a plus, it is versatile, so it can be used in many recipes where its taste and texture complement other flavors.
Click below for a list of our recommended products to consider in a SHTF scenario:
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