Have you ever found yourself wondering if chia seeds expire? Chia seeds are widely known for their health benefits and nutritional value, but do they last forever?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at:
Do Chia Seeds Expire? Can It Go Bad?
Turns out the same quality that makes chia seeds so nutritious also gives the seeds an extended shelf life, namely Antioxidants (*).
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants deter the buildup of free radicals in your body, staving off heart disease and other illnesses.
So, with this in mind, how long before you should worry? There are variances in the estimates for how long it takes before you may discover your chia seeds have gone bad. (*)
Some sources agree with the two-year estimate we spoke of, with up to four years in the refrigerator. Others say 1 year fresh in the pantry and three years in the fridge.
In other product forms, the longevity of chia seeds changes. We recommend the following guideline:
|Type of Chia Seeds||Pantry||Fridge||Freezer|
|Fresh||Best ~1 yr||Best ~ 3 yrs||Best ~ 5 years|
|Soaked (Chia Gel)||2 hours||3 to 5 Days||Up to 3 Months|
|Chia Pudding||N/A||3 to 5 Days||Up to 3 Months|
|Chia Four||Best ~ 6 months||N/A||N/A|
- Chia Flour: 6 months in the pantry (do not refrigerate)
- Chia Gel: 2 hours at room temperature, 2-3 weeks refrigerated
- Meal: 2-4 weeks in the pantry, 1-2 years in the refrigerator.
- Chia Pudding: 5-7 days, refrigerated
- Soaked chia seeds: 3-5 days refrigerated
Both chia pudding and gel belong exclusively stored in the refrigerator. At room temperature, they immediately start breaking down, and the seeds go bad. (*)
How To Tell if Chia Seeds Are Bad?
The chances of a properly stored bag of chia seeds will go bad are slim, even when expired. But there are things for which to be on the lookout if you’re concerned the seeds might be rancid.
Signs of Spoilage:
There are a lot of ways to tell if chia seeds are bad. In fact, there are signs they have in common among various types of spoiled goods, including other seeds. (*)
- Lumps: when you see the seeds stuck to the bottom of a container or to each other, discard them.
- Mold: Do a visual search. White scum between your seeds is likely to mold. It occurs due to exposure to moisture. Don’t consume them. Throw them out.
- Slime: Unless you’ve made gel if your dry chia seeds develop slime, it is one of the signs they are no longer safe for use.
- Smell: Your nose knows. The smell of chia is neutral.
- Taste: If the chia seeds or chia pudding have a bitter taste, toss them.
On the upside? We are happy to report chia seeds are resistant to bugs.
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last?
At what point do seeds go bad, and how do you know if the seeds are still OK to eat from the bag?
We know that every consumable can get tricky when it comes to figuring out expiration dates, the best by date, and whether or not either has any bearing on your food being “OK” to eat.
Who wants to eat rancid products? We certainly don’t!
So what’s the answer?
What’s in a Date?
If you were to ask 10 people what “best by” and “expiration” dates mean, you’d get 10 answers (well, maybe 6 – many consumers really don’t know).
When will the seeds go bad? How long do chia seeds last? So here’s the scoop:
Use by dates indicates the date past which a manufacturer can no longer promise the product’s best quality. It does not mean the chia seeds are bad beyond that date.
The sell-by-date is really more for the store’s use. (*) After that date, the store should consider whether to remove the chia seeds from the shelf as they may lose flavor.
Stores assume you’ll use your product within a few days. If your seeds are beyond any of these points, it never hurts to taste one or two before adding them to your recipe or blend.
How to Store Chia Seeds?
We have some great tips for bags of chia seed, and safe storage practices so you don’t have to search everywhere.
When working only with seeds, chia stored properly in an airtight container, in a dark area of the pantry unopened, lasts a long time. But, what else can you do to keep your seeds (or recipes with chia seeds) safe to eat and at their best quality beyond the best by date?
The rules for chia flour are the same for the seeds. Keep it cool and dry in an area where the temperature is consistent.
1. Refrigerate after Opening?
As seeds, chia can remain in the refrigerator to extend shelf life so long as you can keep them dry. It’s a good storage method. As with the pantry, use an airtight container.
Flour, however, cannot go in the fridge as it will get damp very easily. (*)
Chia seeds go bad when exposed to dampness. Also, they go bad when in hot conditions, so the fridge is perfect.
Chia pudding needs to be in the refrigerator or freezer. Leave the pudding in the fridge to thaw for 6-8 hours.
2. Can You Freeze Chia Seeds?
As with refrigeration, freezing the seeds extends the shelf life so they don’t go rancid before you can use them in your food preparations.
Freezing is one way to give them a life far beyond the best by date and keep the taste intact. It’s easy to store chia seeds in the freezer.
You can portion them out and store them in resealable bags so long as there is no moisture within and as airtight as possible. Don’t let them become soaked.
In this form, in an airtight container, chia seed lasts for up to a decade. (*)
How long do they last depends on using the best type of jar: namely glass, in the pantry.
If you are concerned about breakage, consider a plastic storage container with a secure lid. It will do the trick for retaining quality.
When you are transferring the seed from another jar, make sure to sanitize the new one with boiling water. Dry completely before filling.
4. Hands Off!
Try to avoid using your hands to serve out the number of chia seeds you need. Either pour them directly from the package into a receptacle or use a freshly cleaned food scoop.
Why? If you have germs on your hands, they can be transferred to the entire pack.
Learn more: where are chia seeds in the grocery store?
How Long Does Chia Pudding Last?
When it comes to understanding how long chia pudding will last, the answer depends largely on a few key factors.
First and foremost, it is important to store your chia pudding in an airtight container. Doing so helps maintain the quality of the pudding and reduces spoilage. When properly stored in an airtight container, chia pudding lasts in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Adding toppings such as fruit or other nutritious ingredients can also extend its shelf life. These additional components help prevent spoilage while also providing extra health benefits.
For those who want their chia pudding to last even longer, you can freeze portions of your chia pudding for up to three months. However, be sure to allow enough time for your frozen chia pudding to thaw before consuming it.
No matter how you choose to serve your chia pudding, if you make sure it is stored properly, then you’ll be able to enjoy this convenient snack throughout the week!
Chia seeds are very popular in weight loss programs. People include chia seeds in their diet in the hopes of reaching their desired, healthy weight. In turn, the market for Chia Seeds has grown exponentially, expected to exceed 4.7 billion in the US by 2025. Additional factors in the growing popularity of Chia seeds are:
- Consumer demand for gluten-free products.
- An awareness of the benefits of Chia seeds.
- The desire for culinary products with a long shelf life.
The 12 oz bag your chia seeds come in makes 30, 1 tablespoon servings. Unless you’re someone who eats them regularly, that one little bag could last you a long time.
All in all, chia seeds are an excellent source of nutrition that can last for a long time. Knowing the shelf life of these tiny superfoods and how to tell if they have gone bad is key. You can take full advantage of their amazing health benefits.
So, take note of the expiration date and store your chia seeds properly to enjoy them every day!
We would love to hear your thoughts and questions about chia seeds. What do you want to know? Leave us a comment below and we’ll be sure to answer!