How Long Do Tortillas Last? Shelf Life, Storage, and More (updated 2023)
Do you love Taco Tuesdays, Margarita Wednesdays, and every other Mexican night? You can’t have a proper Mexican meal without fluffy and chewy tortillas. Whether in burritos, enchiladas, or tacos, nothing holds a more versatile position than this pantry staple.
While a family can easily eat a package of tortillas in one sitting, what should you do when you end up with an abundance? This may leave you wondering how long tortillas last.
Although numerous recipes use tortillas, they may not appeal every single day. Because of this, you need to learn the shelf life and proper storage solutions for these flatbreads. To learn more, make sure to read through this article.
Tortillas – What Are They?
Tortillas are a type of flatbread made in Mexico. True to their name, these thin, round, and flatbreads are normally made with either unleavened cornmeal, wheat flour, or corn. They achieve their shape and size while patted by hand. They are then baked or cooked on an earthenware or iron griddle called a comal.
Many people say tortillas date back as early as 10,000 years BC, becoming one of the staple foods of the Aztecs in Mesoamerica. Traditionally, the Aztecs made them from corn kernels soaked in a lime solution (made with unslaked lime).
This mixture imbued the grains with an additional source of calcium and worked to help soften and loosen the hulls. Once softened, the grains were ground to form a maize dough referred to as masa. They then shaped them by hand and patted them down to achieve a thin consistency.
Today, most manufactured and commercially produced tortillas have a relatively shelf-stable outcome thanks to preservatives. The use of machines also paved the way for faster and more efficient tortilla production. However, traditional tortillas still exist and you can easily buy them fresh every day.
Shelf Life of Tortillas
As you might already know, tortillas taste best consumed fresh, especially as they have a tendency to go stale easily. Commercially and mass-produced tortillas have a different shelf life compared to homemade ones. Even then, the ingredients factor into the overall longevity of this food.
For example, homemade, fresh tortillas will only last in the pantry for two to three days. Beyond that, they can go bad, meaning their taste, texture, and appearance can significantly alter. In the refrigerator, these flatbreads can last for five to seven days. Frozen, however, can last for six to eight months.
Flour tortillas from the supermarket or even some tortillas can stay in the pantry for at least a week. In the fridge, they can stay fresh for up to three to four weeks. Corn tortillas, on the other hand, can stay in the pantry for a week to 10 days, and six to eight weeks in the fridge. Both flour and corn tortillas can stay in the freezer for up to six months beyond the printed ‘best by’ date.
In the event there’s no ‘best by’ date printed on the packaging, it’s always best to place them in the refrigerator right away. Experts say tortillas preserve better in lower temperatures.
Extending the Life of Tortillas
Without proper storage conditions and solutions, even shelf-stable bread such as tortillas can go bad faster than intended. To prolong the shelf life and preserve the overall taste and texture store them in a cool, dry place using an airtight container.
Observing the steps above allows you to avoid unwanted organic growth, such as mold. After all, humidity and a relatively hot climate can contribute to high moisture levels, affecting the overall state of tortillas when simply stored in their normal packaging.
If you live in a humid climate, experts advise using a dehumidifier to help wick some of the extra moisture away.
If you have already opened the package of tortillas, you can easily reseal them in air-tight containers or even aluminum foil to keep them fresh. Doing so will also help you avoid freezer burn should you decide to freeze these babies up for future (emergency) use.
The Bottom Line
Now that you know just how long tortillas last, you can rest easy knowing they will remain available whenever you need them. With these on hand in your fridge (or pantry or freezer), you can easily make the best tortilla-based dishes today. From tacos, burritos, enchiladas, flautas, to tostadas, you can certainly bank on these storing methods to prolong the life of your Mexican flatbread.’
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