It appears that everyone is interested in talking about chia seeds and their health benefits these days. From weight loss to improved digestion, there are a bunch of benefits to chia seed profile. Although small in size, they are packed with a mild nutty flavor and may have the potential to cure many health problems if used regularly.
If you are one of those people who knowingly bought a huge quantity of chia seeds after hearing about its endless benefits, then you might be wondering how to store them perfectly? Do chia seeds go bad? Or how long do chia seeds last?
If these are your concerns – then you have come to the right place. Here we have everything you must know about chia seeds, their shelf life, storage techniques, and indications that tell you if chia seeds have gone bad.
So hold on, we are going to take you deep down inside the chia seeds adventure!!
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds come from ‘Salvia Hispanica,’ a desert plant, native to Guatemala and Mexico. In the Ancient Aztech diet, chia seeds are considered the primary food, particularly as energy boosters.
Aztech warriors built their endurance and stamina through the seeds at that time. Later, it became part of rituals that warriors have to take chia seeds before they go for a battle or travel long distances. Soon, chia seeds broadened their way to culinary purposes. Being only used for beverages, people started using them in cakes, biscuits, tortillas, and tamales.
Today, chia seeds are available in several forms but mostly consumed unprocessed as whole food. Other than that, they also are consumed as ground flour and people even use chia seeds oil. Due to their nutty flavor, they often are sprinkled over cereals, sauces, baked goods, and are commonly used in different smoothies and drinks.
They are rich in iron, fiber, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, and calcium. Chia seeds come with a lot of health benefits as it is a good source of fiber that helps obese to shed a good amount of weight, control high blood pressure, and improves cholesterol levels.
Do chia seeds go bad?
Every seed that is available in the market has a quite long shelf life, but for chia, these seeds boast of shelf life that is far beyond any of them. As long as you pack them properly, chia seeds are expected to last for years.
It doesn’t really mean that you need to go the extra mile to store them. You just need to put them in a bag, in a dry place away from sunlight. Usually, they are kept in the cabinet in jars that are enough to keep them safe for a longer period and of course as long as you keep them away from sunlight sources or heat.
To remain certain that they will last even longer than expected, it’s recommended to store them in a reusable paper bag. In case you don’t have the bags, you can also keep them in freezer bags or in air-tight jars. This is to ensure that they are kept away from any kind of moisture. You should also prevent them from coming in contact with oxygen in the air which triggers seeds to release their oils and moisture, eventually contributing to fast spoilage.
The life of chia seeds also depends on their form that you are dealing with. For instance, if you’re dealing with processed products like chia pudding or chia gels, then it’s a must that you should keep them in the fridge and consume them within a week.
How can you say that chia seeds are bad – The signs
Even though they have a longer shelf life than usual seeds, they can build up moisture and can go bad if they are not stored properly. Reasons can be many, but you can identify whether your favorite chia seeds have gone bad or not if you encounter any of these tell-tale indications.
Appearance: Spoiled chia seeds may build up visible mold when their quality begins to incline. If you spot molds at them, the best practice is to throw them away instead of removing the moldy parts of the seeds.
Smell: Chia seeds normally exhibit a nutty aroma. If they begin to give off a distinct rotten smell, you better discard them.
Taste: If their taste changes from nutty mild to somewhat bitter ones, this would be a sign that your chia seeds are gone bad. It is recommended that you should not eat or consume seeds that show any signs of growth such as sprouts.
PRO TIP – Always pour down chia seeds from the bag or jar, instead of scooping them out. This will help your seeds to get molds and develop bacteria while contacting other culinary apparatus.
Are expired chia seeds good to eat?
Many chia packaging companies label chia seeds packets with “best before” or “expiration dates”. If your seeds’ packaged date is about to reach, then you should use them before it. But what if the date has passed? You can check the appearance, smell, and taste as mentioned above before making any move to use them.
Do chia seeds need to be refrigerated after opening?
You can put your chia seeds in your fridge to increase their life, but it is not necessarily important. Just make sure to keep them in a sealed container to avoid any moisture build-up. This will also keep your chia seeds from getting any odd odor from the fridge.
What could happen if you eat expired chia seeds?
There’s not much research available that tells you the ramifications of eating spoiled chia seeds. But we all know that we can get sick by eating rancid foods.
As mentioned earlier, companies mostly mention expiration and best before dates but sealed or packaged seeds don’t really expire on those dates. You probably do not want to eat smelly, stingy, or moldy chia seeds that are gone bad. Your seeds are safe to eat until they show any sign of being rotten.
Nutritional facts of Chia seeds
According to the United States Food Data Authority, chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids and every 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of chia seeds contains:
- Carbs – 42.1 g
- Calories – 486 cal.
- Fat – 30.7 g
- Dietary fibers – 34.4 g
- Protein – 16.5 g
Chia seeds are also rich in many other minerals and vitamins:
- Riboflavin B2
- Vitamin A
- Niacin B3
- Vitamin C
- Folate B9
- Vitamin E
How to eat Chia seeds?
Chia seeds can be consumed in many different ways. They can be sprinkled over the top of beverages and smoothies and can be added to cereals, yogurt, and bread. They taste best when grouped up with granola bars. They are also easily roasted and added to salads and curries.
Can you cook chia seeds?
Excess heat can lessen the omega 3 acid content from the seeds dramatically. You can cook them for a shorter period such as toast them, toss them, or bake them instead of putting them in your meals that demand high flame cooking.
As chia seeds are nutria-dense and rich in fiber content, they are a great source of adding energy to your body if you do an intense workout or your work demands extra energy. Pour it down in a measuring spoon and eat it on your empty stomach to have them work best for your health.
Adhering to the above recommendation can prolong the shelf life of chia seeds. Just keep in mind to prevent them from moisture and sunlight by storing your seeds in a sealed air-tight container and they will stay with you for years.