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Do Chia Seeds Go Bad? How Long Do Chia Seeds Last & How To Store Them?

Small as they are, chia seeds are packed with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids. But they contain oils that turn rancid after a period of time. And how long that is – between 1 to 3 years.

But this depends on many factors – the most important of which is how you store them. Is it safe to keep chia seeds soaked? Can you store chia seeds in the refrigerator? How long can you store cooked chia seeds like in pudding? Which is better – chia powder or whole chia seeds?

Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?

Yes, they do.

On top of being extremely nutrient-dense and omega-3 fatty-rich, chia seeds contain oil. This oil is prone to becoming rancid and bitter.

Having said that, relatively chia seeds have a longer shelf life than sunflower seeds or even flaxseeds. Even though sunflower, flaxseeds, and chia seeds contain the same antioxidants and oils prone to spoilage.

Now that you know chia seeds can spoil, how can you prevent that from happening?

Storing Chia Seeds Properly

There are a few ways to store seeds in the house. But the most effective way to do so that chia seeds last for years, not weeks or months, is in the refrigerator. Fresh chia seeds in a sealed pack or container will go for 3 years without spoiling at a cool temperature.

But can you say the same thing about storing chia seeds in the pantry, at room temperature?

No, because then chia seeds will live for only a year!

Check the manufacturer’s packaging for the most ideal condition for storage and long-term preservation. Based on outside temperature and humidity changes, it’s best to maintain a consistent environment for chia seeds. That is why storing them in the refrigerator will maintain their freshness for up to 3 years.

Moving on, soaked and pudding chia seeds are quite popular in health trends. Soaked chia seeds should always be stored in the refrigerator. And it should be consumed within a week after storing.

The same can be said of pudding chia seeds. Keeping soaked or pudding in the pantry for days is a bad idea. It will spoil and upset your stomach.

Chia Seeds vs. Chia Powder

Because chia seeds have a bland taste, chia powder is often bought to add to recipes while also getting the benefits of chia seeds. Chia powder can be added to smoothies, curries, pastes, sauces, and salad dressing.

Chia seeds have a bland flavor, it’s not nutty like flaxseed. Chia seeds practically have no taste at all. Making it more convenient to incorporate in recipes rather than eat them plain soaked.

Chia powder is high in fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. And you can buy chia powder in different flavors to enhance flavor. Making them a better, more appetizing choice than chia seeds that taste bland.

Compared to chia seeds, chia powder lasts for a short period of time. This generally depends on the manufacturer but between 3 to 9 months is the average shelf life of powdered chia seeds.

In many ways, chia powder is the better alternative because you can add it to batters for pancakes, waffles, cakes, and much more. It has a nuttier flavor than whole chia seeds that is needed in certain baked recipes!

Can You Eat Expired Chia Seeds?

Unless the chia seeds have mold, are clumping together, and there is a sign of a bug infestation, you can eat chia seeds even past the 2-3 years period. Inspect the chia seeds properly before consuming them. Anything fuzzy, slimy, or smelly coat on them is indicative that they are spoiled and MUST BE THROWN AWAY IMMEDIATELY.

The oils in chia seeds have a strong, rancid odor. It’s the first whiff you’ll get as soon as you open the container of chia seeds.

The last thing, however, if you can see or smell any signs of spoilage, is to taste the chia seeds. You can either have them raw as that they’ll taste crunchy. Or soak them in water to get rid of the crunchy, nutty texture.

Either way, if the chia seeds taste bitter or moldy that means they’re spoiled.

A damp spoon can easily spoil chia seeds sooner than later, so make sure you wipe the container/spoon/lid dry before using it.

Some Tips Before You Go

I would hate you see you go empty-handed, so here are a few tips about storing chia seeds…

Use glass containers, avoid plastic

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll buy chia seeds in a glass container. They are often packed in a sealed paper bag. Transfer the chia seeds to a glass container. Glass containers/jars are transparent so you can check for signs of spoilage after you’ve stored them.

Some plastic containers contain chemicals that aren’t safe for long-term storage. If you have 2-3 years of storage in mind, stick to glass. It’s safer and longer-lasting.

Avoid scooping

What does that mean? It means keeping any and all surfaces away from chia seeds. Say you want to remove a tablespoon of chia seeds and keep the rest back in the refrigerator. If you use a spoon, the moisture on the spoon might transfer to the chia seeds in the jar.

Professional cook and reviewer Christina Karli of Kitchen American highly recommends avoiding that by tilting the jar a bit to let the chia seeds fall on the scoop. Do not dip the scooper/spoon in the jar itself.

Freeze if unsure about refrigeration

If you’re not confident enough about the temperature changes inside your refrigerator, the next safest place for long-term storage is the freezer. But make sure you use a freezer-friendly and tight container to freeze the chia seeds in. Any moisture at all will make the chia seeds gluey and jelly-like during thawing.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article answers all of these questions about chia seeds. So now, you’ll know exactly do chia seeds go bad and how long before they do! You can refrigerator or freeze chia seeds for long-term storage. Because soaked chia seeds last only for a week before spoiling.

Since chia seeds are surprisingly nutritious and easy to store, these tips will ensure that they have a long shelf life for years!

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