Does Quinoa Go Bad? How Long Does Quinoa Last? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know!
The world is obsessed today with health and good digestion. This is not a bad thing, far from it, in fact.
Our awareness of our health and what we should be eating comes in the wake of a broadening of knowledge about what exactly we are putting into our bodies at any given time, and it turns out a lot of it is bad.
Sure, we will never give up chocolate or coffee completely, yet that doesn’t mean we should miss out on foods that are not only good for us but incredibly delicious also.
The problem is that all these new foods that have been known in their native lands for thousands of years are only making their way to the west now.
As such, we don’t really have any knowledge of how we should prepare them and crucially how long they will last in our fridges and cupboards.
Take quinoa, for example. This food has been popularized as a superfood and praised by foodies and the health community alike.
But how long does it last? Is it like rice and stable in a cupboard? Or is it more like fresh pasta and needs to be in a fridge? In this article, we will look at this wonderful food and see just how long before it will go bad.
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What is Quinoa?
If you were to look at quinoa, you would not be remiss in saying that it was a grain of some kind. However, this is simply not the case, despite its appearances, it is an edible kind of seed, and it is produced by a member of the amaranth family and one of its closest living relatives is the humble spinach.
Due to the nutrients and nature of the seed itself, quinoa has often been called a pseudocereal despite not being related to grass.
This actually makes it a perfect substitute for other grains in your diet and due to its grain properties without its relation to grass, it does not produce gluten, which is a godsend for the beleaguered celiac and gluten-free community.
In the last 10 to 20 years, quinoa has gone from an outlier in niche supermarkets to being consumed in more than 70 countries across the world.
The amazing thing about this is that almost all production of quinoa is still done in its native lands around the Andes mountains in western South America.
What’s even crazier is that it is done almost exclusively by small farms and collective cooperatives, rather than big industrial agricultural businesses.
Does It Go Bad?
Luckily, for those who enjoy the taste of quinoa, then you have not much to fear in terms of it going bad.
Quinoa has an incredibly long shelf and like most dry grains can last from 2 to 3 years if it is unopened and stored properly – in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
If the conditions are just right, uncooked quinoa can actually last longer than this as the number on the packet is a recommended number and as such can last longer than that recommended date easily, depending on a variety of factors.
Once you open quinoa and cook it, the shelf life of the product reduces dramatically, to say the least. In an airtight container in the fridge, cooked quinoa will last at most a week and in just a normal container that goes down to about 4 to 5 days.
If cooked quinoa is left out on the counter or outside the fridge, then it will only last a day before going bad.
You can extend this to 8 to 12 months by sticking cooked quinoa in the freezer, but the freezing process changes the taste and texture of the food and while not bad, it has nothing on the real thing.
Fortunately, quinoa that has turned or gone bad is very easy to spot in both instances, as the food has a very certain way it should look.
Mold and insects are the very obvious signs that you should not be cooking, let alone eating the quinoa, but the really big clue is in the smell.
If quinoa smells bad or rotten, it is bad or rotten. There will be a pungent odor that makes you not want to eat the quinoa, in this instance, you should listen to your body and not eat it.
This is true for both cooked and uncooked quinoa, so it is a big clue.
Uncooked quinoa should be soft and cooked quinoa should be sticky and fluffy, so if you have quinoa that is neither of these, then bin it. It is likely spoiled.
If you can’t tell or none of these factors present themselves, cook a small amount and taste it. If it tastes how you expect and the texture is correct, it is fine to eat.
Benefits of Eating Quinoa
As stated earlier, quinoa is considered a superfood by a lot of people. This has a lot to do with the nutrients you get from eating it. Quinoa is full of protein, fiber, iron, lysine, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. In fact, quinoa can give you up to 30% of your daily dose of magnesium and phosphorus in just one bowl.
The pseudocereal is also rich in antioxidants and low in glycemic carbohydrates, so it helps boost your immune system, and it won’t raise your blood sugar levels.
Finally, the most important factor, which was mentioned earlier, is that quinoa is gluten-free. This is great for the gluten-free community, but it is also helpful for most people, as while gluten isn’t bad, it is in everything which can lead to over ingestion of it.
Final Thoughts: Does Quinoa Go Bad?
Like every food, quinoa eventually goes bad. It is just a fact of life, however, if you store it correctly and in its uncooked form, there is no reason for you not to be eating quinoa for at least 2 years.
Though, once you start eating it, the probability of it lasting that long goes way down due to the wonderful taste and benefits it has.