It’s been a few years since quinoa was first discovered by health fanatics. Now, even the least health-minded of us know how to pronounce the word (keen-wa if you’re wondering).
It’s true: quinoa is a nutritious staple packed with protein, fiber, and manganese.
As deliciously nutty and wonderfully healthy as it is, it’s not immune to going bad.
Has My Quinoa Gone Bad?
Here are the signs that your uncooked quinoa has gone bad:
- Insects, bugs, eggs
- Change in odor (quinoa should smell nutty)
- Dryer than usual texture
However, the bad news is that quinoa can easily be bad and not exhibit any of the above signs.
The good news? Once quinoa is cooked, you’ll be able to tell if it has gone bad. Old quinoa, once cooked, will taste different, and the texture will be harder than you’re used to.
As for quinoa that’s already been cooked, check for changes in smell and appearance. If you see any mold or discolorations, your quinoa is ready for the trash.
How Should You Store Quinoa?
The big rule when it comes to storing quinoa is to keep it dry. Moisture will encourage bacteria to grow, and it’s a surefire way to get your quinoa to go bad!
Therefore, once you’ve opened your quinoa, transfer it to an airtight container.
Besides that, uncooked quinoa storage is pretty simple. Whether it’s open or not, keep it in the pantry or the kitchen cupboard – anywhere that’s cool, dry, dark, and not subject to temperature fluctuations.
Once you’ve cooked your quinoa, give it 20 minutes to cool off, then pop it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Make sure you don’t leave cooked quinoa out – the USDA advises cooked quinoa shouldn’t be left at room temperature for over 2 hours.
You can also freeze quinoa. To do this, divide your quinoa into meal-sized portions, let them cool to room temperature for about half an hour, then transfer them to the freezer. You can either use freezer bags or an airtight freezer-safe container.
When you’re ready to use your cooked quinoa, simply defrost it overnight in the refrigerator. Alternatively, if you’re short on time, opt for the microwave, and add a splash of water so the quinoa doesn’t dry out.
How Long Quinoa Lasts
Expect your uncooked quinoa to last 2-3 years from its production date. You should find a best-by date on the packaging, but provided you’ve stored your quinoa in adequate conditions, it should be fine for a few months to even a couple of years after this date.
Cooked quinoa will last for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.
If you’ve chosen to freeze your quinoa, expect it to last 8-12 months. It won’t go bad after this point, but it will degrade in quality. You might notice a rougher texture when eating.
The Lowdown On Quinoa
Storing quinoa is pretty simple. It should go in the cupboard uncooked and in the refrigerator once cooked.
However, one key takeaway is that it’s sometimes unclear if uncooked quinoa has gone bad. To make sure, cook your quinoa and look for changes in appearance, smell, and taste.