Hummus lovers often find themselves asking does tahini go bad? This tasty paste is created with ground sesame seeds. These seeds are derived from dried out pods of the plant called sesamum indicum and are available in a variety of colors. While tahini allows hummus and other foods to maintain their consistency, most people use it infrequently. Therefore, it often sits in the pantry or refrigerator, untouched for weeks, months or even years. Let’s examine how long tahini will last, how to tell that it is spoiled and consider some suggestions to prolong its shelf life.
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Shelf life of tahini
If you opt for organic tahini, be aware that the majority of them do not contain stabilizers or preservatives. Therefore, they typically last for 6 months. Yet some tahini manufacturers tout that their tahini will stay fresh for a full year after being opened. While some have stated that tahini can last upwards of a decade in the refrigerator, this is the exception to the rule. It is worth noting that oils typically become rancid before our noses are capable of detecting a foul smell. In general, food experts believe that ground nut and seed oils like tahini should not be consumed after 6 months, even if sealed in an airtight container.
Signs That Your Tahini has Gone Bad
Rancid tahini produces a nasty smell and taste that you will be able to easily recognize. While foul smelling and foul tasting tahini might still be safe enough to eat, you won’t want to consume it considering its disgusting taste. If your tahini has an unsavory odor, throw it out right away. Although your tahini’s oil might separate from the crushed sesame seed particles, this does not mean that it has gone bad. As long as it passes the smell test and is not discolored, mix it to your desired consistency and use it as you normally would. Or, pour off the oil and use the solids if you desire a thicker tahini. Again, oil separation is completely normal.
How to Store Tahini
The oil used to create tahini is more likely to go rancid than the oil in the majority of nut butters and nuts. While it might seem prudent to refrigerate tahini, doing so causes it to become rigid. Some report that refrigerated tahini develops an ice cream-like consistency. When you remove your tahini from the refrigerator, you will have quite the struggle to mix it to the desired consistency. Mix it thoroughly before you place it in the refrigerator.
There are certain types of tahini that should never be placed in the refrigerator. Read your tahini’s label and follow its directions without exception. Each tahini brand has its own unique characteristics and instructions. Never assume that two brands will have the same storage requirements. For example, Artisana and Arrowhead Mills brands state that their organic tahinis should be refrigerated for the optimal lifespan. Joyva and Krinos offer no guidance at all for the storage of their tahinis. Ziyad is adamant that consumers store its tahini in very dry and cool place.
Tahini contents separate as it sits idly in your cupboard or refrigerator. Those who fail to regularly stir their tahini will find that the oil and the solids completely separate. Some tahini lovers actually dump their jars into the food processor, run it for a while and then place the thoroughly mixed result back into the jar. This will help to prevent the tahini contents from separating before it is consumed across the ensuing couple of weeks. If you notice lumps in your tahini, this is not necessarily an indication that it has gone bad. You can eliminate the lumps by blending it with water. If you don’t have a blender, whisk your lumpy tahini.
Once you open your tahini, store it in an airtight jar. While an airtight jar of tahini stored in the refrigerator might make it difficult to scoop the tahini out, it is a necessary evil. The use of an airtight container will help to prolong tahini’s lifespan for 6 months or longer. However, it should be noted that tahini does lose its flavor as time passes. So try to use up your opened container of tahini as quickly as possible.