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Shelf Life of Chia Seeds: Ways to Store This Superfood
With tons of nutritional value and hundreds of ways to add to any recipe, chia seeds are a superfood you should consider adding to your long-term food pantry.
The standard shelf life of chia seeds is 2 years. But when stored properly, chia seeds can last up to 5 years in a mylar bag at room temperature or up to 5 years in a freezer. But to make sure it reaches its maximum shelf life, it must be stored away from heat, light, oxygen, and humidity. A cool and dark, like a freezer, will help preserve your chia seeds for longer.
In this post, we’ll talk about the shelf life of Chia seeds and what you can do to keep them fresh for longer periods of time. But first, what are chia seeds?
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are tiny, oval-shaped, black or white seeds of Salvia hispanica, a herbaceous plant in the mint family. They’re native to Southern Mexico and Northern Guatemala.
Historically, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs used them for dietary and medicinal purposes, as well as in cosmetics and religious rituals.
Chia seeds are edible. They have a mild and nutty flavor that blends well with sweet and savory dishes.
They’re pretty versatile, too. You can chia seeds can be eaten raw or served as toppings for different dishes. They create a gelatinous cover when soaked in water, so people also use them as substitutes for egg whites.
Their taste is a bit nutty, but it isn’t overpowering. Thus, they’re easy to add or sprinkle in your favorite recipes—oats, smoothies, salad, soups—drinks, and baked goods.
Chia seeds have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which is crucial for promoting brain and heart health. Plus, they’re rich in dietary fiber, protein, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Below are the nutrition facts for 1 cup of chia seeds:
|Nutrient||1 Oz of Chia Seeds|
Shelf Life of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are one of the best staple foods to keep since they can last years in storage.
The chia seeds you buy have a general shelf life of 2 years. These dates, though, are often the best-by dates rather than the expiration date, which means you can still eat them after the specified period.
Typically, chia seeds can last for 2 years in the pantry. But if you freeze chia seeds and store them properly, they can extend for a few more years. Below is a table of how long chia seeds last by storage method.
|Storage Method||Max Shelf Life|
|Mason Jar||2 Years|
|Mylar Bag||5 Years|
|Food-Grade Bucket||5+ Years|
Note: However, it’s important to note that when they’ve become part of a recipe, they’ll expire with the recipe.
Shelf Life in Food-Grade Buckets
Food-grade buckets are a good option when you plan to stack chia seeds in bulk. They’re made of durable food-grade plastics which can resist pests, light, and moisture.
Unlike regular buckets, food-grade buckets are free from toxic chemicals. They often come in airtight lids, which help keep the stored seeds edible for two to five years.
To ensure that the seed won’t go bad earlier than expected, it’s essential to:
- Line a Mylar bag in the bucket
- Fill the bag up to 80%
- Use oxygen absorbers
- Store the food-grade bucket in a cool, dry place
For more details on how to properly store chia seeds in food-grade buckets, we have previously written a step-by-step guide on how to properly store food long-term in plastic buckets.
We have also written a guide on the 11 supplies you will need to properly store chia seeds long-term.
Shelf Life in Mylar Bags
If you don’t want to store chia seeds in food-grade buckets, you can simply use the mylar bag instead. Although not as secure as a plastic bucket, it is still an excellent method for long-term food storage. Mylar bags can keep chia seeds fresh for up to 5 years. Bags with more than five mil thickness can protect the food from the main causes of food spoiling—light, moisture, and oxygen.
To boot, mylar bags are tough materials with high puncture resistance. They’re also pretty flexible and pliable. They can conform to the size of their content, helping reduce the air inside the bag.
When buying mylar bags, opt for the tough and high-quality kind. Avoid those with a clear front, especially when you plan to store the seeds for years.
Still, you should know the main downside of using a mylar bag is that it does not protect against pests. Rodents are known to bite through the mylar bag, spoiling any food you might have inside the bag. So, if you use this method, it is important to store it in a place out of reach of pests.
For a step-by-step guide on how to store food in mason jars, consider our previous post on the topic.
Shelf Life in Mason Jars
Mason jars are one of the better storage containers for chia seeds as it can stay fresh for 2 years. We suggest using these airtight containers over the original packaging because it’s more effective in keeping out oxygen and pests from seeds.
Since mason jars have an airtight lid, which you can seal tightly to keep the air out and prevent oxidation.
In mason jars, you can expect the chia seeds to last more than 2 years. For added shelf life, keep them in the fridge or freezer.
A great perk of storing any food or seeds in a mason jar is that it’s easy to spot them. It’ll reduce the possibility of forgetting about this functional food, thereby encouraging you to use them more often. Thus, it lessens spoilage.
For more details on how to store food in mason jars, we have previously written an article on the topic where you can learn more.
How to Maximize the Shelf Life
To increase the possibility of maximizing the chia seeds’ shelf life, store them in a cool, dry place—preferably in a pantry, fridge, or freezer.
When storing chia seeds, you should reduce exposure to environmental aggressors such as heat, light, pests, moisture, and oxygen. Keeping the seeds in an airtight container and storing them in a refrigerator or freezer is the best way to protect the seeds from the environment.
If you put the seeds in the fridge, they can last around 2-3 years. Once placed in the freezer, they can double their shelf life storage up to 4-5 years. This is because the freezing temperature can repel bacteria or microbes trying to infect your chia seeds.
Avoid using clear containers since light can easily pass through them and increase the degradation process. You may also separate the seeds into portions, so you can thaw only the needed part and keep the rest frozen.
How to Tell if Chia Seeds Have Gone Bad?
Chia seeds have little to no flavor or aroma. Thus, when they start to have a strong or unpleasant smell and bitter taste, it’s a looming sign that they’ve gone bad or rancid.
The main cause of early spoilage is exposure to environmental aggressors such as heat, light, oxygen, moisture, and pests.
In relation to the last reason, bugs and pests will infest the container you kept the seeds in. If this happens, consider the chia seeds gone and toss them out.
Lastly, the seeds are generally dry, so when they become slimy or sticky to the touch, they’ve probably developed some mold. This is a tell-tale sign that they’ve gone bad.
It typically happens when moisture gets inside the container. It won’t be safe to eat them, so you should discard the seeds right away.
Once chia seeds go bad, it is better to simply dispose of them. Eating expired chia seeds can lead to negative health effects and food poisoning.
Chia seeds are incredibly nutritious and have a long shelf life. In its original packaging, it can last for over 2 years. When kept in a freezer, the shelf life can be extended up to 5 years. However, to ensure it can stay fresh and protected, it needs to be stored correctly in a mason jar, mylar bag, or food-grade bucket.
Although chia seeds can be stored for a long time, it’s best to eat them within the first year while their nutritional value is still rich.
Nonetheless, you should store seeds in a freezer if you plan to keep them much longer.
People Also Ask
Can you eat expired chia seeds?
You should eat expired chia seeds. Once chia seeds are passed their expiration date, their flavor and taste are altered. So including expired chia seeds in a dish can ruin the intended flavor. Plus, consuming bad chia seeds can lead to food poisoning, which can lead to serious health risks.
What is the shelf life of chia flour?
Chia flour has a shelf life of up to 1 year, but for the best results should be used within 6 months. To make sure you can reach the full shelf life of chia flour, it is suggested to reduce the flour’s exposure to environmental aggressors. So avoid moisture, light, heat sources, excess air, and pantry bugs.
What is the shelf life of chia pudding?
Since chia pudding is combined with other ingredients, the chia seeds go bad when the other food items go bad. The normal shelf life of chia pudding is 3-5 days in a pantry and up to 2 months in the freezer. It should not be stored in a pantry.
What are chia seeds benefits for men?
Chia seeds are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants to help improve men’s health. Some of the health benefits of eating chia seeds are:
- Reduces Free Radicals: Chia seeds contain antioxidants that reduce the risk of free radicals causing negative health consequences. However, do keep in mind consuming expired chia seeds may increase free radicals in the body.
- Improves Heart Health: Quercetin is an antioxidant within chia seeds that are known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Reduces Inflammation: Chia seeds contain caffeic acid, which is an antioxidant that reduces inflammation in the body.
- Weight Stabilization: Chia seeds are high in dietary fibers. In fact, a 1-ounce serving contains 39% of your recommended daily amount. The fiber in chia seeds expands in your stomach, helping you feel fuller for longer, which helps regulate weight.
- Improves Bone Health: Chia seeds are high in magnesium and phosphorus, which are essential for good bone health.
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If you are looking to buy cookware, you probably came down to ceramic cookware vs stainless steel cookware. Learn to see which is better for you.