Sesame seeds are highly nutritious and delicious seeds that can be used to great effect in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking, in your cereal or smoothie, or even in baked goods.
Maybe you bought some sesame seeds to sprinkle on top of ramen or to make tahini, but you don’t love them enough to eat them up quickly. Maybe you bought in bulk in order to save money and you’re wondering how long they’ll last.
Or maybe you just found a jar lurking at the back of your pantry and you’re wondering how to tell if they’re still good or not.
In many cases, if stored properly, sesame seeds can last much longer than their printed expiry date. However, due to their high oil content, they can go rancid, especially if not stored correctly.
Bottom line: Generally, sesame seeds last for a fairly long time. However, raw sesame seeds go bad much more quickly than toasted sesame seeds, and storing them correctly is essential. Read on to find out the shelf life of sesame seeds and how to tell if they’re starting to spoil.
Are These Sesame Seeds Still Good?
There are many variables that affect how long your sesame seeds last. That’s why it’s important to check your sesame seeds for signs of becoming rancid before you use them, if they have been in the pantry for a while.
However, it can be hard to tell whether your sesame seeds are still good or not simply by looking at them.
Of course, if you see mold in the container, that’s a dead giveaway. Other than that, the best way to check for rancidity is by smell. If the sesame seeds’ oils have begun to break down, they are likely to smell pretty nasty.
In general, if they smell okay, they are probably good to go.
That said, if you have been storing them a while, it’s a good idea to taste a few before eating a whole lot or using them in cooking. If they taste a bit funny to you, trust your gut and throw them out. If they taste fine, then they probably are.
Shelf Life Of Sesame Seeds
The shelf life of sesame seeds depends on a number of factors, the main ones being whether they are raw or toasted, and where you store them.
Toasted sesame seeds last a lot longer than the raw variety. They tend to last about 1-3 years after you’ve bought them, if stored somewhere cool and dry.
Raw sesame seeds don’t last as long in the pantry, generally closer to 4-6 months. However, if you refrigerate or freeze them, you can extend their shelf life quite a bit, to around 6-12 months.
Proper Storage Of Sesame Seeds
The best way to get the longest shelf life possible out of your sesame seeds is by storing them in an airtight container, such as jars or plastic freezer bags. As mentioned before, sesame seeds can be stored in a cool, dry cupboard or pantry, in the refrigerator, or even in the freezer. Raw sesame seeds in particular tend to last longer if refrigerated or frozen.
Freezing sesame seeds causes no adverse effects, and you can usually use them right out of the freezer, without needing to thaw them first.
Freezing your sesame seeds can be a great way to free up some space in your fridge while still ensuring that they will stay good for longer.
Effect Of Climate
Of course, how long your sesame seeds last also depends on other factors, particularly climate. If you live in a very hot or humid climate, the seeds will go bad more quickly if stored in the pantry.
Rancidity occurs when the oils and fats in food oxidize due to the heat and moisture in the air. The more fat a food contains, the more likely it is to go rancid, which is why butter can go rancid so easily. It also means that sesame seeds can undergo rancidification in particularly hot or humid climates.
If you live in such a climate and you want your sesame seeds to last longer, it’s safer to store them in the fridge or freezer.
In order to last for a long time, sesame seeds need to be stored somewhere cool and dry. Use your knowledge of your own kitchen to determine whether the cupboard or pantry is good enough, or whether you need to put them somewhere artificially cold.
In Summary: Sesame Beans
- Raw sesame seeds will typically last 4-6 months in the pantry, and 6-12 months in the refrigerator or freezer.
- toasted sesame seeds will last 1-3 years as long as they are kept somewhere cool or dry.
- Sesame seeds go rancid more quickly in hot or humid climates, so people in those climates may want to refrigerate or freeze them.
- Store your sesame seeds in an airtight container.
- Check the smell of sesame seeds to see if they are beginning to go rancid.
Sesame seeds are very good for you and delicious sweet or savory, especially if they are toasted. You can toast your own sesame seeds if you buy them raw. Store them somewhere cool and dry, and check them for rancidity before eating.