If you’re into cooking, or if you’re looking to save money by eating more dried beans, then you’re probably wondering how long dried lentils last. The good news is that they can last for quite a while—but there are a few things you need to know to make sure they stay fresh. In this article, we’ll discuss the shelf life of dried lentils and some tips on how to store them properly so they stay fresh for as long as possible.
What Are Dried Lentils and Why Are They a Good Choice for Cooking?
Dried lentils are simply the seeds of the lentil plant that have been harvested and then dried. Like many other legumes, lentils are never eaten raw. They are an excellent choice for cooking because they are nutritious, easy to prepare, and versatile.
Lentils are a good source of protein, fiber, and iron, and they can be used in a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and veggie burgers. Dried lentils are also relatively inexpensive, making them a great option for budget-minded cooks.
Unlike many other legumes, lentils don’t need to be soaked before cooking, which can save you valuable time in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking for a healthy and hearty meal or a simple and affordable side dish, dried lentils are a great option.
How Long Do Dried Lentils Last?
With proper storage, dried lentils can stay fresh for up to 12 months. That said, it’s important to keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. If you live in a hot climate or don’t have a pantry, the fridge or freezer is also an acceptable option.
Just be sure to allow the lentils to come to room temperature before cooking, as this will help them cook evenly. With a little care, your dried lentils will be fresh and delicious for many months to come.
How Can You Make Them Last Longer?
There are a few things you can do to extend the shelf life of your dried lentils. First, be sure to store them in an airtight container. This will keep them protected from moisture and oxygen, which can cause them to go bad more quickly. You can also add a desiccant packet (make sure it is food-grade) to the container, which will absorb any moisture inside the container and keep your lentils moisture-free for months.
Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to use food-grade silica gel packets inside all of your airtight, dried-food containers. Moisture is the enemy of dried foods, so make sure you keep yours dry so that they last!
How to Store Lentils?
Dried lentils are a delicious and nutritious pantry staple, but now you know they can go bad if not stored properly. The best way to store dried lentils is in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Darkness is necessary, as it extends the shelf-life of those precious nutrients for which lentils are so popular.
You can also extend the shelf life of dried lentils by keeping them in the fridge or freezer. Just be sure to let them thaw completely before cooking. If you notice that your lentils have started to turn color or develop an off odor, it’s best to throw them out. With proper storage, dried lentils can last for several months.
How Can You Tell If Dried Lentils Have Gone Bad?
Dried lentils are a versatile and nutrient-packed ingredient, but like any food, they can go bad. The good news is that there are a few easy ways to tell if your lentils have gone bad.
Check the color of the lentils. If they are discolored or have developed dark spots, it’s a sign that they have gone bad. Then smell the lentils. If they have a musty or sour odor, it’s another indication that they should be thrown out.
Optionally, you can taste a small amount of the lentils. If they are sour or bitter, it’s a sure sign that they’ve gone bad and should not be eaten any further. By keeping an eye out for these signs, you can make sure that your dried lentils are always fresh and flavorful.
Tips for Cooking Dried Lentils Perfectly Every Time
Dried lentils are a great addition to any meal. They’re packed with protein and fiber, and they cook up quickly, making them perfect for busy weeknights. However, cooking dried lentils can sometimes be a bit tricky. If they’re not cooked properly, they can end up being mushy or undercooked. Follow these tips for perfectly cooked dried lentils every time.
Make sure to sort through the lentils and remove any rocks or other debris. Then, rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer and place them in a pot with enough water to cover them by two inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until they’ve reached a desirable tenderness. Simmer for less time if they will be stored for use in other cooked dishes. Drain any excess water and enjoy!
Dried lentils are a great pantry staple to have on hand. They’re nutritious, delicious, and versatile, and they can last for more than 12 months when stored properly. Be sure to keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. You can also extend their shelf life by keeping them in the fridge or freezer. If you notice that your lentils have started to turn color or develop an off odor, it’s best to throw them out. Follow these tips, and you’ll be enjoying dried lentils all year long!