Pumpkin seeds are a nutritious snack that can last for quite some time if stored properly. However, like any food item, they have a limited shelf life. In this article, we will explore the factors that affect the longevity of pumpkin seeds and provide a guide to their shelf life.
Factors That Affect Pumpkin Seed Shelf Life
The shelf life of pumpkin seeds largely depends on the way they are stored. A few factors that affect their longevity are:
- Moisture: The presence of moisture can shorten the shelf life of pumpkin seeds. Moisture can lead to the growth of mold, bacteria, and fungi. It is essential to store pumpkin seeds in a dry place to ensure they last longer.
- Temperature: High temperatures can also shorten the shelf life of pumpkin seeds. It is advisable to keep them in a cool, dry place to ensure they stay fresh longer.
- Light: Exposure to light can cause pumpkin seeds to go rancid faster. It is best to store them in a dark place to preserve their freshness.
- Air: Oxygen can also speed up the degradation process of pumpkin seeds. Therefore, it is essential to store them in airtight containers to prevent air from reaching them.
- Processing: The processing method used on the pumpkin seeds can also affect their shelf life. Raw pumpkin seeds are likely to have a longer shelf life than roasted ones. Roasted pumpkin seeds contain oils that can turn rancid faster than raw ones.
Pumpkin Seed Shelf Life
Unopened Pumpkin Seeds
Unopened pumpkin seeds can last from six months up to a year if stored in a cool, dry place such as your pantry cupboard. If they are kept in the refrigerator or freezer, they can last for up to two years.
Opened Pumpkin Seeds
If you have opened a bag or container of pumpkin seeds, their shelf life will be shorter due to their exposure to air. With proper storage, they can last up to three months in a pantry or up to six months in the refrigerator. However, to extend their shelf life, it is advisable to store them in an airtight container, especially if you reside in humid regions.
Signs that Pumpkin Seeds Have Gone Bad
It is not always clear if pumpkin seeds have gone bad. Some signs that they have gone rancid include a sour or musty odor, a bitter taste, or a change in color.
Over time, the oil inside the seeds breaks down and turns rancid, which can result in staleness, mold, or mildew giving off a less than pleasant smell.
Tips for Properly Storing Pumpkin Seeds
To preserve the freshness of pumpkin seeds and extend their shelf life, follow these best practices:
- Store Them in Airtight Containers: This helps to prevent air exchange, keeping the pumpkin seeds fresh for an extended period.
- Avoid Moisture: Moisture can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria, which can shorten the shelf life of the pumpkin seeds. Store them in a cool and dry place to avoid moisture.
- Keep Them in a Dark Place: Prolonged exposure to light can cause the pumpkin seeds to go rancid. Store them in a dark place to slow down the process.
- Store Them In The Refrigerator Or Freezer: Pumpkin seeds can last up to two years if stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Roast Your Own Pumpkin Seeds: If you plan to store pumpkin seeds for an extended period, consider roasting them at home. Raw pumpkin seeds have a longer shelf life than roasted ones.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein and other nutrients. By storing them properly, you can extend their shelf life and enjoy their benefits over some time without worry. Ensure you follow the best practices on how to store pumpkin seeds to maintain their quality.
How long do pumpkin seeds last once opened?
Once opened, pumpkin seeds can last up to three months in a pantry or six months in a refrigerator.
How long can pumpkin seeds last in the freezer?
Pumpkin seeds can last up to two years when stored in a freezer.
How do I tell if my pumpkin seeds have gone bad?
If your pumpkin seeds produce an unpleasant odor or have a bitter taste, it could indicate that they have gone bad.
What’s the best way to store pumpkin seeds?
The best way to store pumpkin seeds is in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place. Alternatively, you could store them in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf life.
Can I store pumpkin seeds in a plastic bag?
Yes, you can store pumpkin seeds in a plastic bag, provided it’s airtight.
Do pumpkin seeds go bad?
Yes, pumpkin seeds have a limited shelf life due to their natural oils that can turn rancid over time. It’s crucial to store them properly to extend their freshness for as long as possible.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Nutrition for Everyone: Seeds. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/food-and-recipes/seeds.html
Food Safety and Inspection Service (2021). FoodKeeper App. Retrieved from https://www.foodsafety.gov/foodkeeper-app
The Spruce Eats. (2021). How to Store Pumpkin Seeds. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-store-pumpkin-seeds-4683795