Do Sunflower Seeds Go Bad? (Updated 2024)
Commercially packaged sunflower seeds have a best-by date on their label, indicating when they expire, and the best time to consume them. These seeds are incredibly delicious, especially the roasted variety. Often consumed as snacks, sunflower seeds are nutritious and proven to lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
Rich in B complex vitamins and a good source of magnesium, sunflower seeds offer a number of health benefits. You don’t even need to cook the seeds; you can simply grab some and remove the shells.
So, do sunflower seeds go bad? Here’s a guide to the shelf life of sunflower seeds and how often to eat them.
Interesting Facts About Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are native to South America and were used by locals more than 5,000 years ago. They are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, phytosterols, healthy fats, protein, B-complex vitamins, selenium, and vitamin E.
In addition, they are naturally cholesterol-free, gluten-free, low glycemic index, and low in saturated fat, as long as they aren’t salted. By eating these seeds, you can reduce anxiety, depression, and neurosis, as they enhance GABA activity inside the brain.
Consumption of sunflower seeds helps to maintain the integrity of cell membranes and protects from harmful free radicals. This is useful for maintaining a youthful glow of the skin from the antioxidants.
How to Tell If Sunflower Seeds Are Bad
Just like any food item, knowing the expiration date of sunflower seeds matters to avoid diarrhea and other health conditions. The truth is, they have a long shelf life, up to six months to a year depending on the packaging and storage.
One way to know if the seeds have gone bad or have spoiled is by the aroma or smell when natural oils are breaking down. Exposure to oxygen creates a rotten, weird, sour smell that you can easily distinguish. However, if unopened, packages have a longer shelf life, and remain fresh for up to two years depending on the manufacturer.
The appearance of mold is another thing to consider, as spoiled sunflower seeds can have mold. Moisture is another big factor in the shelf life of a food item, that’s why roasted seeds last longer than regular sunflower seeds.
When it comes to taste, spoiled seeds may have a bland flavor, which is an indication that you need to throw them away. Keep in mind that seeds may last longer when frozen, but the taste surely degrades over time.
The presence of insects also shows that the seeds are bad. Be sure to throw them out if insects have invaded the packaging.
How to Extend the Shelf Life of Sunflower Seeds
The best way to store them is to keep them in a cool, dark place, away from high temperatures. Refrigerators prolong the shelf life, but storing them in a ceramic container easily absorbs moisture which promotes spoilage. Instead, use a freezer bag to keep them cool while avoiding moisture.
The freezer will keep the seeds at the best quality. When properly stored in the freezer, the seeds can last up to 12 months without losing taste, quality, and texture.
If the seeds are packaged in plastic, simply remove them and transfer them to a different container like glass. After opening, the seeds must be placed in a tightly sealed, airtight container, or a heavy-duty plastic bag.
How Long Do Sunflower Seeds Last
The answer to this question depends on the type of seeds, and whether commercially packaged or bought in bulk.
Unopened sunflower seeds can last up to five months when unopened. When stored in the refrigerator, they can last for 12 months or more, as long as they’re sealed.
Meanwhile, for seeds brought in bulk, the shelf life is two to three months. When stored in an airtight container inside the refrigerator, they are safe to consume for up to 12 months. These timelines are estimates only, and you still need to monitor the appearance, aroma, and taste of the seeds, just to be sure.
Overall, it is not recommended to delay the consumption of food items, even if they are seeds. Consume within three months to avoid spoilage. You can always buy in smaller packages to avoid storing longer than recommended.
Sunflower seeds are incredibly nutritious snacks that anyone can enjoy. They are easy to consume with no cooking or preparation needed, plus, they help lower blood pressure and blood sugar. The seeds can last up to 12 months, as long as you store them in an airtight container inside the refrigerator.
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