For a long time, I wanted to shed some extra weight and follow a healthy diet. So I did what everyone would. I looked for recipes that would help me reach my goal.
Most of the recipes that I came across mentioned chia seeds. So, I stocked up on the chia and sunflower seeds (hoping they don’t go to waste).
But with ample seeds stocked up, I wondered: do chia seeds go bad?
Yes, chia seeds can go bad. Storing chia seeds at room temperature can make them last up to 5 years. However, adding chia seeds to a recipe can make the seeds (or the recipe) go bad even faster. You can identify bad chia seeds when they crumble and lose shape. If you see chia seeds sinking in water, they are probably gone bad too. A common reason chia seeds go bad is that they aren’t stored properly.
Read more about chia seeds: shelf-life, storage, and risks of consuming bad ones!
The right way to store chia seeds!
Chia seed is the supplier of antioxidants and all things healthy. Oh! And they are expensive. Thus, you mustn’t let the seeds go to waste and consume them before they go bad. I have 3 sure-shot ways to extend the seeds’ shelf-life.
1. Store in Sealed Container
Chia seeds come in plastic packaging that might not make them last longer. So, after you buy your seeds, transfer them to an airtight container. Mason jars or plastic containers (Air-tight) are perfect for storing seeds. The transparent containers will help you see signs of spoilage. So you only have to open the jar when you need the seeds. Airtight containers will also ensure the seeds last for a long time.
2. Choose Transparent Containers/Jars
A transparent container is the best if you want to store chia seeds. The transparent container will let you see the content without opening it every time. This will prevent the air from contacting the seeds and making them rancid.
3. Avoid Spooning
Never use a spoon to scoop out the chia seeds. Using a spoon will cross-contaminate the seeds. This will speed up the rancidification process and make the seeds go bad faster. Instead, you can directly pour the seeds into the bowl or recipe you are working on.
How long do Chia Seeds Last?
Chia seeds have a high oil content that can last for years if stored properly. At room temperature, chia seeds can last for a couple of years before going bad. However, you must store the seeds in a cool, dry place to ensure their shelf life. While storing the seeds in the fridge, they can last up to several years (4-5) past their best-before date.
Also Read: Does Tea Expire?
Unlike chia seeds, chia flour does not have a long life. The chia flour, once opened, lasts for 6-12 months after its best-by date. However, once you open the flour bag, there are other factors affecting its shelf life and quality. Thus, you must seal the container tightly after every use.
Tip: Adding chia seeds to a recipe will not make the food take up the seed’s life. In fact, when you add chia seeds to a recipe, the seeds can go bad with the food.
Can You Eat Expired Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds do not come with an expiry date, so they do not abruptly go bad. Instead, it comes with a best-before date. The date is an indication of how long they should be kept. This means the seeds are safe to consume even after the date has passed. But before going all in with the expired chia seeds, ensure they are not rotten. Look for any suspicious smell or texture that might indicate rot. You can also look for mold, moisture, or bugs in the seeds to know if they are edible.
If your chia seeds are past the best-before date, they are still edible. Even past their best-before date, chia seeds take weeks to become inedible.
Shelf-Life of Chia Pudding
Chia Pudding is the best alternative if you are craving something sweet like milk. Chia pudding is made when you mix the seeds with plant milk. After mixing, you have to let the chia pudding blend sit overnight. Once the seeds and plant milk are gelled, the pudding is ready to eat. The pudding must be consumed within a few hours at room temperature. Want to store the pudding for later? Refrigerate the pudding, and you are good for 4-5 days.
Can You Freeze Chia Seeds?
Yes, freezing chia seeds is an ideal option if you have excess lying around. It is important to ensure the container is dry and airtight. As unbelievable as it may sound, frozen chia seeds can last up to several years.
However, you must consume the seeds immediately after defrosting them. Leave them for any longer, and they will lose their nutritional value.
When freezing chia seeds, ensure they don’t come in contact with frozen water. This will cause the seeds to swell and make them go bad faster.
Tip: Do not store all of the chia seeds together. Freeze them in different containers to use them separately. This will prevent excess air and moisture from getting in the container.
Do Chia Seeds Go bad? How to Identify Bad Seeds?
Looking for spoilage in chia seeds is easy if you know what to look for. A few common signs to help you spot decay are mentioned below:
1. They’ve Turned Rancid
Chia seeds have a long shelf life due to the oil present that protects them from rancidity. But the oil breaks down when the seeds come in contact with air and moisture. This causes the seeds to go rancid faster. Throw away the seeds if they appear rancid.
2. Infested With Bugs
As mentioned earlier, chia seeds must be stored in a cool, dark place. But storing them improperly can infest the seeds with bugs. This is because pests and bugs are drawn to cool, dark places. So make sure to keep your pantry free from bugs and pests. If you are using the seeds after a long time, look for bugs or eggs thoroughly. If you see signs of infestation, empty the seeds in a bin or get rid of bugs.
3. Mold and Moisture
Not sealing the seeds after every use can make them moist. Once this happens, the seeds can develop mold. Consuming seeds with mold can put your health at risk. Therefore, make sure to throw the moldy seeds out.
4. Seeds Lumped Together
The formation of lumps in your chia seeds clearly shows them going bad. So, if the seeds have slimy consistency or form lumps, toss them away.
5. Bitter Taste
Chia seeds have a very low flavour. If you find the seeds to have a bitter flavour, they are no longer consumable.
Also Read: How Long Do Lemons Last?
Risks of Consuming Bad Chia Seeds
Chia seeds past their expiry date won’t make you sick unless they are rotten. However, if you consume rotten seeds, you can feel sick. Food poisoning is another symptom that you can experience with bad chia seeds.
Besides consuming bad chia seeds, eating excess seeds can also make you sick. A few side effects include gastric problems and blood thinning. If you are on blood pressure or diabetic medicines, do not consume chia seeds.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Is it OK to eat expired chia seeds?
Ans. Yes. Chia seeds can be eaten past their expiration date if they do not show any spoilage. But if the seeds are slimy, moldy, or rancid, toss them away. Eating rotten seeds can take a toll on your health, making you sick.
Q2. How long are chia seeds good for after the expiration date?
Ans. If the seeds are stored in the pantry, they can last 1-2 years. If you refrigerate the seeds, they can last up to 3-4 years. And if you freeze the chia seeds, they can last 5-6 after their expiration date.
Q3. Should you refrigerate chia seeds once opened?
Ans. If you want to store the seeds for a long time, refrigerating them is a good option. Refrigerating the seeds will prevent them from going rancid or oxidizing.
Q4. How many chia seeds should you eat a day?
Ans. The standard chia seeds dosage is 0.7 ounces or 20 grams twice daily. You must also drink plenty of water after eating the chia seeds. This will prevent any digestive side effects.
The Bottom Line
Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients, making them an excellent addition to several dishes. The abundance of antioxidants extends the seeds’ shelf life to months. Although, you must make sure you store the seeds properly. Put the seeds in an airtight container. Place the container in a cool, dark place and prevent direct contact with heat.