Have you bought lentils but haven’t yet cooked with them? Do you doubt your ability to use them if that is the case? If so, the information in the sections below, which covers anything from how long they last to how to store lentils, can be extremely helpful to you. If you still have questions about lentils or lentil soup, this is for you. Let’s begin without further ado.
How Long Do Lentils Last?
In South Asia, the Mediterranean region, and North Africa, lentils are a common staple food. They are a type of pulse (or edible seed) from the legume family. Protein, fiber, vitamin B, and a few minerals are the main nutrients found in abundance in them. These edible seeds are renowned for being an excellent source of iron. Due to their nutrient profile, lentils are a favorite among vegetarians, who typically don’t get enough iron in their diets.
There are many different kinds of lentils; the ones that are usually sold on the market include the green, brown, red, yellow, and Puy varieties. They are often prepared by either boiling, baking, or frying. Lentils are a common ingredient in dal, soup, and curry dishes in India, which are often served with rice or Indian flatbread.
What is the Shelf Life of Lentils at Room Temperature?
In a U.S. Department of Agriculture information bulletin, it was discovered that bacteria and fungi thrive and spread most quickly between 40°F and 140°F. The need of keeping your food or eating it right away while it is kept in an environment of these temperatures is paramount. The same source refers to this range of temperatures as the “danger zone.”
As they consume food and multiply, bacteria and fungi are known to release substances that are poisonous or otherwise damaging to the human body. Foods like lentils deteriorate quickly and at accelerated rates due to the byproducts of their life cycles.
However, given that dried lentils present a generally hostile environment to microbial life if they have not yet been cooked and are still in their dry and packaged forms, it is doubtful that these temperatures will lead to the development of bacterial or fungal colonies.
How Long Will Lentil Keep in the Fridge?
Lentils must be cooked in order to be consumed, and once cooked, they can only be kept in the refrigerator. Open lentil cans must only be kept in the refrigerator. Lentils in an open can survive three to four days, whereas the ones that have been cooked may last up to seven days.
However, three to five days are more typical. Before placing them in the refrigerator, make sure they are contained, preferably in an airtight container. It’s important to keep in mind that cooked lentils must cool completely before being placed in the refrigerator or freezer. It takes between 30 minutes and an hour to cool.
What is the shelf life of lentils in the freezer?
The best option is to freeze your cooked lentils if you know you won’t consume them all within a week. While canned lentils only survive around two months, frozen cooked lentils can last for at least three to six months without deteriorating. Theoretically, they may last much longer, but doing so increases the likelihood of the lentils developing freezer burn or going rancid.
Lentils must be kept in freezer-safe bags with the maximum amount of air squeezed out of them. Keep them away from the entrance and in the freezer’s main compartment. This lessens any exposure to light or temperature fluctuations.
They can also be frozen in airtight containers like mason jars. If they come in a can, it is not a good idea to freeze it because the structure of the can is impacted by the freezing temperature. Because there is no mechanism to release additional air from jars, the lentils run the risk of deteriorating. The jars should only be used for a month or two after that.
The dates provided for these storage options should be considered educated approximations. It’s possible that your lentils won’t keep as long as I predicted. The secret is to constantly examine your lentils for symptoms of deterioration or going bad before using them.
Are Dried Lentils Perishable?
Dried lentils that are packaged and kept properly can be kept for a very long time, but most packages carry a best-before date. Although they still need to be properly preserved in an airtight container, once the package has been opened the freshness will start to decline and should be used within roughly a year.
Humidity exposure can promote the growth of germs. If your storage container doesn’t have an airtight seal, your lentils might draw small insects or other pests. They should be kept in a glass jar or other container with an airtight top for optimal results.
How to determine if your lentils are bad
Insects: If you discover any insects in the lentils, either alive or dead, it’s time to discard them. In addition to spreading viruses, insects may also indicate that the packaging has a hole in it.
Taste: Do the lentils taste good? Do they smell a little off? Changes in scent are one of the primary indicators that they are becoming rancid. They should also be thrown out if you taste them and they don’t quite taste right.
Mould or discoloration: Pay great attention to the lentil for any mold or discoloration. There may be mold on your lentil if you notice any white, green, or other colored areas where the color should be homogeneous.
Package damage: If the lentils were packaged in a can, inspect the can before opening it. The can should generally be thrown away if it has any form of damage, such as leaks, rust, or dents. Plastic packaging is subject to the same rules. Insects and pollutants may enter the package if there are any holes or tears in it. In reality, fading colors only indicate that they haven’t been used for a while and aren’t actually bad or spoiled.
Can you still use old lentils?
This is a question that many people ask. Can you utilize expired ones that you find in your cabinet? Most likely, you can use them safely. Since meat and eggs should never be consumed over their expiration dates, lentils are a far safer alternative. Additionally, because they are dried, bacteria are less likely to grow on them. That’s wonderful, then.
Lentil still needs to be checked for dates to determine how much over their expiration date you are using them. You can decide whether to use lentils that are one or two years past their expiration date by carefully examining them. The nutritional value and cooking time of outdated lentils are the two primary issues you could run into.
Most foods, including lentils, lose some of their nutritional value over time. They are said to be high in a few vitamins and minerals. This does not imply that expired legumes will not provide any of these advantages.
The nutritional value may not be as complete as you’d want. Furthermore, you should anticipate spending more time cooking these. Some people who use outdated lentils may discover that the beans take longer to cook or eventually develop a tougher texture. Once more, if they are only a few months past their expiration date, you probably won’t notice much of a difference, but they will start to taste bad.
Easy to prepare, inexpensive, full, and nutritious lentils are lentils. The fact that they may be prepared in many ways and paired with a wide variety of dishes also helps. Even if these don’t look or smell well, they can still be used after their expiration date. However, they might not provide as much nutritious value now as they did when they were at their best.
They also require more time to cook. The best course of action is to throw away a batch if you have reason to be concerned. We say this because eating rotten lentils increases your risk of experiencing stomach distress, just like with any other food.