Do Lentils Go Bad?

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Lentils are edible seeds that belong to the Legumes family clipped in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and South Asia. These are called a source of iron. Lentils are available in cans, frozen, and in dry forms. Dry Lentils can be used by soaking them in the liquid for some time. You can also cook and enjoy them.

As it is known that dry foods go bad eventually, but for Lentils, you have plenty more time before they can go bad. It also depends on the storage conditions you are storing them. If you are storing them right, you can use them for years.

How to Store Lentils?

The best you can do to store Lentils is to find a cool and dry place for them, as every other bean is stored in a place away from moisture, heat, and light.

Dry Lentils

As for dry lentils whichever color they are, the storage guidelines are straight. You can store your dry Lentils as mentioned above, away from heat and light.

Store them in their original packaging as you brought them from the market or store. A pantry is preferable but a cupboard in the kitchen will also work.

If you have an opened packet of them, you can store them in the same place as with the unopened ones, by sealing it tightly or transferring it to a sealed jar.

Canned Lentils

Now moving to the canned or tinned Lentils, they are stored the same way as other cans or tins are stored. This means that unopened cans are stored in a spot away from moisture, heat, and sources of light. A pantry would be the best spot for it.

If you have an opened can of Lentils, then you should seal it by transferring it to a sealed container and then refrigerate it.

Cooked Lentils

If you have some leftover cooked Lentils, you can store them the same way you store your cooked meals. Let them cool down a bit, transfer them to an airtight container, seal the container and then place it in the fridge.

It will be good if you use a shallow container for storing your cooked Lentils because it could make the cooling process a lot quicker than usual.

Can you freeze Lentils?

If you want to store cooked Lentils for a longer-term, you can freeze them. So that whenever you need them you can reheat them and use them in your meals. However, freezing them may result in the decay of their flavor and texture.

Cooked Lentils

Freezing them isn’t a big deal. You can freeze them by following these steps:

  • Put some pressure on the lentils after you’ve cooked them to strain them.
  • Put them in a plastic bag and remove all the air from the bag. You can also use glass containers. After putting them in the glass container you should leave a space for up to 1 inch so that it may provide some space for them to expand during the freezing process.
  • Label all the plastic bags or containers with the date. So that you can use them safely.

Canned Lentils

Sometimes you are left with leftovers in canned lentils and you want to store them for a longer period. You can do so by freezing them. They can last longer in the freezer than in the fridge.

For this purpose, you should wash them thoroughly with cold water.

Seal them in the plastic bag, freezer bag, or airtight container and then put them in the freezer. They can last up to 2 months in the freezer.

How long does Lentils last?

You can find both canned and dry lentils in the grocery store, but you should prefer dry ones. Because dry lentils have a longer shelf life. Dry lentils packets also come with an expiration date.

However, they can last long past the expiration date. The date is just an estimate for the lentils’ quality. They have a benefit for their dried texture. It allows them to avoid them to grow and mold or bacterial growth.

If they are stored properly, they can last up to 2 to 3 years at room temperature. However, it doesn’t mean that they are not safe after this period.  Unopened Canned lentils will keep their quality for up to 2 years.

How to Tell If Lentils Is Bad?

The following points will clarify the facts that now your lentils have now gone bad.

  • You may find bugs or insects in the package of the lentils. However they don’t make them bad, but after seeing that you may not want to eat them.
  • You can also notice some signs of mold inside the packaging. This may happen due to some water droplets that may have got in the package.
  • If the can is rusted, leaked, or dented you should discard it.
  • You may notice an off smell or odd taste which is obviously not a good sign.