In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How long do dried lentils last?” as well as provide methods to detect spoilage in dried lentils and store the dried lentils.
How long do dried lentils last?
Dried lentils can last for 2 to 3 years if it is kept at room temperature. To extend the shelf-life of the lentils, it is recommended to keep them sealed in an airtight container.
The shelf-life of dried lentils is long but the nutritional value diminishes with time. As a result, it would be better to not keep them stored for a long period of time.
Packaged lentils come with a best-by date. The best-by date is an indicator of the quality of the lentils and provides an indication of how long the lentils would remain in peak quality. Lentils can be consumed past the best by date as well.
The shelf-life of lentils can go beyond the expiry date if it is stored properly. Before the lentils are about be cooked, it is important to check for insects or other impurities. If there are any impurities found, remove them, wash the lentils and then use them.
If you have an old packet of lentils, observe the packet carefully. If the pack appears to be fine, the lentils are probably fine too.
How to detect spoilage in dried lentils?
Even though dried lentils can last for a very long time, there are certain signs of spoilage that would be necessary to look out for. These are as follows:
- If you observe insects in the lentils, it is not an indicator of spoilage. You can remove the insects, wash the lentils, cook them, and then consume them. If you do not wish to consume insect-infested lentils, it would be better to discard them.
- Mold can occur in the lentils if you have exposed the lentils to moisture. Moisture attracts mold. So if you observe mold on the lentils, it would be better to throw them away.
Do not take out the mold and then consume the rest part of the lentils. There would still be an increased risk of you developing food poisoning symptoms if that is done.
- If you observe a bad odor coming out of the lentils, it is another indicator of spoilage. If the smell especially is strong, do not delay in throwing the lentils away.
How can dried lentils be stored?
- Store the dried lentils in a cool place without any moisture. Moisture can attract mold growth that can spoil the lentils. Exposure to excess heat can also spoil the lentils and reduce their shelf-life.
- If you have bought lentils in the packet, keep them in their original packet till the lentils are not opened. Once the lentils are opened, it would be better to shift the lentils from their original packaging into an airtight container. You can also place the lentils in a freezer bag.
If you are too lazy to transfer the lentils to an airtight container, you can keep the lentils in their original packet but make sure to seal the packet using a clip or rubber band.
- Perfect containers for storing the dried lentils would be the ones that block or keep away oxygen. This could be Tupperware containers or even ziplock containers.
You can also store the lentils in Mylar bags, Oxygen absorbers, or Food-grade pales.
- Avoid storing dried lentils in thinner containers or bags. This is because thinner containers or bags allow the light to pass through that can reduce the shelf-life of the dried lentils.
Which type of lentils is likely to last long?
Even though all the lentils generally have a longer shelf-life, some lentils are suited for long-term storage than others.
- Brown lentils are likely to last longer and are easily available at the market.
- Green lentils can act as a substitute for brown lentils and are excellent for long-term storage purposes.
- Black lentils are a good source of protein but it can be quite costly to store bulk amounts of this lentil.
- Red and yellow lentils can also be stored for a long time. It can be used to provide a thicker texture for soups.
Other FAQs on lentils that you might be interested in.
Why are lentils excellent for long-term storage?
- Lentils are a good source of protein. Sprouting them adds to an increased nutritional content.
- Lentils can be cooked quickly especially if you are too busy to cook.
- You do not require to presoak them to cook them thus saving time.
In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How long do dried lentils last?” as well as provided methods to detect spoilage in dried lentils and store the dried lentils.