You may be wondering, do chia seeds go bad? How long do they last? How do you store them to extend their shelf life? In this article, I explain how long chia seeds last, how to know if they have gone bad, and how to store them to extend their shelf life.
- Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?
- How Do You Tell if Chia Seeds Are Bad?
- What Bugs Can Infest Chia Seeds?
- How Do I Recognize Mold In Chia Seeds?
- Can You Eat Expired Chia Seeds?
- How Long Do Chia Seeds Last?
- How Long Does Chia Pudding Last?
- How Do You Store Chia Seeds?
- Is it Bad Not to Refrigerate Chia Seeds?
- Can You Freeze Chia Seeds?
- What Are The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
- What Are The Risks of Consuming Bad Chia Seeds?
- Chia Seed Recipes!
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, fiber, and protein. They have a wide nutritional value and are easy to add to your favorite recipes throughout the day. You can add them to your oats and smoothies, make them into a vegan egg substitute, or create a delicious chia pudding. However, they often come in large bags and take a while to use up. This leads to a common question: do chia seeds expire?
In short, yes, they do. Chia seeds have a shelf life like most other foods. Read on to find out how long chia seeds last, how to tell that they’ve gone bad, and how to store them to extend their shelf life.
Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?
Chia seeds are a rich source of antioxidants. As a result, this helps to extend their shelf life. Chia seeds will last for up to 5 years! Your bag of chia seeds should have a “Use-By” date. This will give you a general idea of how long your chia seeds will last.
Remember that the date your chia seeds are packaged and you buy them off the shelf could be several months or more different. When calculating how long your chia seeds are good for, go by the date on the package, not the date you purchased the seeds.
How Do You Tell if Chia Seeds Are Bad?
There are a few tell-tale signs that the shelf life of chia seeds has been reached. This includes turning rancid, bug infestation, or mold. If, for any reason, your seeds don’t look right, they probably aren’t, and you should toss them.
They’ve Turned Rancid: Since chia seeds have a long shelf life, it’s likely that your seeds will not go rancid before you have a chance to finish them. However, if they begin to smell or form mold, then toss them out immediately.
Infested With Bugs: It is possible for your chia seeds to become infested with bugs. This is because bugs and other pests tend to be attracted to cool, dark places, such as your pantry. If you notice bugs, eggs, or any other type of pests have invaded your bag of chia seeds, throw them out immediately.
Mold and Moisture: If your chia seeds become wet or moist inside of the bag, they will surely develop mold. If this happens, consider your chia seeds no good, and throw them out.
Seeds Lumped Together: One telltale sign that your seeds have turned is that they will lump together. If the seeds stick to the side of the container or they lump together in the bag they are either rancid or beginning to mold.
Slimy: If your seeds feel slimy, that means they have gone bad.
Bitter Taste: Chia seeds have a neutral flavor. If your seeds taste bitter, they are no longer good to eat.
What Bugs Can Infest Chia Seeds?
Flour beetles, such as the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and the confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum), are known to infest stored grains and seeds, including chia seeds. They can contaminate the seeds with their presence and waste.
Weevils, such as the granary weevil (Sitophilus granarius) and rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae), are small beetles that can infest various grains and seeds. They lay eggs inside the seeds, and the larvae feed on the internal contents, leading to contamination.
Indian meal moths (Plodia interpunctella) are common pantry pests that can infest chia seeds. The larvae of these moths feed on the seeds, and their presence can lead to contamination and a foul odor.
How Do I Recognize Mold In Chia Seeds?
Look for any discoloration or unusual spots on the chia seeds. Mold can appear as fuzzy patches, dark spots, or irregular colors. If you see anything that looks different from the normal color of chia seeds, it could be a sign of mold. In addition, mold often produces a musty or unpleasant odor. If your chia seeds have a strange or off-putting smell, it might indicate the presence of mold. If you suspect mold or are unsure about the quality of your chia seeds, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discard them to avoid potential health risks.
Can You Eat Expired Chia Seeds?
You can eat your chia seeds past the expiration date if they look and smell normal. While you should generally follow the expiration date on your bag of chia seeds, if you don’t notice any signs that they have gone bad, such as mold, moisture, bugs, or strange smell, then it is probably safe to continue to use them.
Your seeds will not suddenly turn bad. The “Use-By” date generally estimates how long they should be kept, but they will not turn bad overnight. It will take weeks or more for them to turn for the worse. Always use your best judgment when it comes to whether you believe they are safe for consumption. If something doesn’t look or smell right, it probably isn’t.
How Long Do Chia Seeds Last?
Chia seeds can last for up to 5 years if kept at room temperature in a cool, dark, dry place such as your pantry. However, it is essential to note that once you use those chia seeds in a recipe, the food itself will not be good for that same amount of time.
- Chia Seeds can be good for up to 5 years, but they are best if used within 1 year.
- Chia Flour is best if used within six months but can be good for up to 1 year.
- Chia Pudding is best within three days when kept in the refrigerator but can be good for up to 5 days.
See the chart below for more specifics.
|Type of Chia Seeds
|Best within 1 yr
|Best within 3 yrs
|Best within 5 years
|Soaked (Chia Gel)
|3 to 5 Days
|Up to 3 Months
|3 to 5 Days
|Up to 3 Months
|Best within 6 months
How Long Does Chia Pudding Last?
Chia Pudding is made by combining chia seeds with plant milk and allowing them to gel overnight. Once the chia seeds and the liquid have gelled, the chia pudding will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Never keep chia pudding at room temperature. It will spoil.
How Do You Store Chia Seeds?
There are three keys to prolonging the shelf life of your chia seeds. Be sure to keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. Do not expose them to direct sunlight.
Store in a Sealed Container: After you buy your chia seeds, transfer them from the bag to an airtight storage container. I prefer clear glass containers, but you can also use plastic sealable containers. This helps you see if there are any changes to the food and retains freshness.
Keep the Container Sealed: Be sure that the container you store your chia seeds in is completely sealed. When air enters the container, it can speed up the process of rancidification.
Avoid Spooning: When using the chia seeds, avoid using a spoon to scoop them out of the container, as you can cross-contaminate the seeds and speed up the rancidification process. Instead, pour the seeds into your recipe, or be sure to use a clean spoon free of dust.
Is it Bad Not to Refrigerate Chia Seeds?
No, it is not bad to not refrigerate chia seeds. In fact, it is preferred that you keep them at room temperature rather than in the refrigerator. Storing them in the refrigerator increased their exposure to moisture. Once the seeds are exposed to moisture, they will react and no longer be good.
Can You Freeze Chia Seeds?
Yes, you can freeze chia seeds. If you have a large number of chia seeds, you can freeze them. They will keep for up to 10 years! However, be sure that the container you keep the seeds in is dry and sealed from any excess air.
Rather than storing all of the chia seeds together, you can freeze them in smaller containers to use within the next few months. This will help keep you from opening the bag and letting in moisture or air.
It’s important to note that if the frozen chia seeds come in contact with frozen water it will cause the seeds to react and swell. If this happens the seeds will gel, and you won’t be able to use them.
What Are The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
There are several health benefits to adding chia seeds to your daily diet.
Rich in Antioxidants: One of the reasons that chia seeds have a long shelf life is that they are high in antioxidants. Those antioxidants help to preserve and extend their shelf life. They are also good for your body by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage the cells in your body. The antioxidants in chia seeds help to protect the heart and liver.
Good Source of Fiber: One serving of chia seeds (2 tablespoons) has 10 grams of dietary fiber. This helps you to feel fuller longer and can aid in weight loss.
Bone-Enhancing Vitamins and Minerals: Chia seeds contain calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium, all minerals that help strengthen bones.
Decrease Risk of Heart Disease: Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber in the seeds has been known to decrease LDL (your bad cholesterol.)
Stir them into your morning yogurt, add them to your cereal or oats, or blend them with your morning smoothie. There are so many ways to use chia seeds to benefit your health.
What Are The Risks of Consuming Bad Chia Seeds?
While consuming chia seeds past their expiration date isn’t necessarily going to make you feel sick, as long as they don’t show signs of spoilage. However, if you eat the seeds after they’ve spoiled you may feel sick to your stomach, and other symptoms of food poisoning.
If you consume 2 teaspoons or more of chia seeds on a daily basis over an extended period of time you run the risk of causing gastrointestinal problems, low blood pressure, or blood thinning.
If you experience an allergic reaction, although rare, you will need to stop intake immediately.
Chia seeds can react adversely to blood pressure or diabetes medications. If you are on these medications consult your doctor before adding them to your diet.
Chia seeds are a versatile and nutrient-rich ingredient that is excellent to use in a variety of foods. Their high concentration of antioxidants helps to prolong their shelf life. Be sure to follow a few simple steps to extend the shelf life of your fresh chia seeds, such as storing them in a glass jar in a cool, dark, and dry place. Be sure to toss them if you notice any signs of spoilage.