Does Flax Seed Go Bad?

Does flax seed go bad or not? We all know flax seeds are good for you, but how do you tell if a flax seed has gone bad? Here's a simple guide.

You’ve bought a package of flax seeds that are lying around in your cupboard without being used.

Now after a few months, you’re wondering: Does flaxseed go bad? How long do they last?

In summary: flax seeds have a pretty long shelf-life and can last 6-12 months past the best-by date. Ground flax seeds keep fresh for 1-3 months past the best-by date if unopened.

Related:Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?Do Sunflower Seeds Go Bad?

How To Tell If Your Flax Seeds Have Gone Bad

flax seeds and flaxseed oil

Let’s start with whole flax seeds. If you’re concerned about your flaxseeds going bad, their taste of it is the first step to determining their quality. If it tastes bitter, throw it away.

If you find the presence of mold or growth, toss it out. Do the same if there is an off smell.

When it comes to ground flax seeds, look at the dates on the label. If it has been opened for longer than half a year, get rid of it. Look out for similar signs, such as a change in taste, texture, smell, or any mold present.

Storing Flax Seeds

flax seeds in spoon and bowls

Store whole flax seeds at room temperature in places like the pantry or kitchen counter. Just be sure to keep the package away from sunlight.

Once the original packaging is open, make sure to keep it sealed tightly or transfer it to a resealable container.

When storing ground flaxseed, sometimes called flax meal, keep an unopened package in a cool and dry area. However, once you open the package, store it tightly sealed in the fridge.  

If you’d like a longer storage option, you can freeze ground flax seeds in an airtight container.

How Long Does Flax Seed Last?

flax seeds flaxseed oil and flax flowers

Whole flax seeds can last 6-12 months past the best-by date stored in the pantry. This applies to both unopened and opened flax seeds.

Ground flax seeds last a shorter period as they don’t have the protection of the hull, and the oils are more prone to become rancid.

What’s rancidity, you ask? Foods, like flax seed, go rancid when the oils in them are exposed to the oxygen in the air.

Therefore, when you open your pack of flaxseed, they go bad faster, as they’re in contact with the air – although you can slow this by sealing the bag tightly. Scroll up if you missed that.

Now: rancidity isn’t dangerous, but it will make your flaxseed taste and smell bitter, so you’re better off binning rancid flaxseed.

As a result, ground flax seeds last 1-3 months past their best-by date if unopened. Once you open the package, expect it to last three months in the fridge.

The Health Benefits of Flax Seed

flaxseed cracker

Flax seeds are known for their health properties. This includes amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. In terms of vitamins and minerals, flax seeds contain vitamin B1, copper, molybdenum, magnesium, and phosphorus.

With all these nutrients, flax seeds are helpful with weight loss, heart health, and digestive health, lowering blood cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure

The Verdict

If you want to get the most nutrition out of your flax seeds, nutrition experts recommend using ground flax seeds over whole flax seeds. This is because it is easier to digest in ground form.

Flax seeds have a relatively long shelf life. Although, whole flax seeds last longer than ground flax seeds do.

However, if you’d like to extend the shelf-life of ground flax seeds, then freezing them is the best option.

Overall, the taste, smell, texture, and appearance should be inspected if you are worried that your flax seeds have gone bad.

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.