As someone who loves to eat healthily and heartily, I look for natural super foods known to give me energy and a stronger body. One of my favorite super foods would have to be quinoa, known for its nutty flavors and rich protein content. It's similar to rice, and you can use it as a complement to individual dishes, but how long does cooked quinoa last for if you have leftovers or would like to set aside some for your next meal?
Read on as I show you facts about quinoa and how long it will last for, may it be used for the next day or later consumption.
What is Quinoa?
You may have already heard of quinoa (pronounced as KEEN-wah, by the way), a popular superfood found in a lot of supermarkets and health store. But what is it and what good can this ingredient do for our bodies?
The video below will tell you what you need to know about Quinoa
Quinoa isn't a grain, but a seed cooked like one. It is similar to buckwheat and related to certain vegetables and beans, such as spinach and beets.
Farmers have cultivated this seed for thousands of years. It was known as the mother of all grains (weirdly, since it is a seed), referred to as the first and original crops of Americas.
Many consider it as a superfood because of its many nutrients and rich protein content. Quinoa has the complete essential amino acids, which is more than brown rice or potatoes. Another advantage is that it has a lot of fiber and B vitamins, along with iron and zinc. Plus, it's gluten-free, replacing pasta and rice.
Quinoa has many nutrients and rich in protein
While quinoa has a consistency comparable to oatmeal or rice, it has the less carb content, making it a source of protein for vegetarians!
There are three different types of quinoa, depending on its color and texture.
- White quinoa is fluffier (similar to white rice) and has a mild, nutty flavor. It's also one of the most popular types of quinoa available.
- Red quinoa has an earthier and flavor and chewy texture, adding more color to your salad or other dishes.
- Black quinoa is unique and difficult to find. It has a crunchy texture and has a bolder flavor, taking a bit longer to cook than the other types.
Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice. You just need to wash and strain the uncooked quinoa, then boil it. Or, you can cook it in a rice cooker as well.
Quinoa goes well on salads or as side dishes because of its consistency. Like mentioned, you can replace your rice with it or use it as meat substitutes because of its high amount of protein.
How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last?
While uncooked quinoa can last for about three years (either in pantry or refrigerator), how long does COOKED quinoa last?
If you have leftover quinoa to store, or you plan on meal prepping for the next several weeks, here are the lifespans of cooked quinoa (the expiration date goes for ALL types of cooked and uncooked quinoa)
Quinoa cooked storage types
The expiration date
In the fridge
About 1 week
In the freezer
At room temperature
< 2 hours
Cooked quinoa has different shelf life depending on how it is stored
You will know if the cooked quinoa is spoiled if:
- It lost its chewy texture or has a hard and dry consistency.
- The scent is unfamiliar as compared to the usual nutty or earthy smell.
- The cooked quinoa starts to form mold or smell like it.
Your senses will play a huge roll here, so trust your instincts and throw it away if it looks unsafe to consume.
Tips on How to Prolong Your Cooked Quinoa's Lifespan
Now that we answered the question "How long does cooked quinoa last?", the next question is: What can you do to extend its lifespan and have it safe to eat?
Here are some tips to store your quinoa properly
Some Tips to Store Your Quinoa Properly
- Store quinoa in the fridge to retain its freshness. Leaving it out in the open will quickly shorten its lifespan, spoiling it within a few hours. Keep it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for it to last for about a week.
- Do NOT leave cooked quinoa under the sun or at room temperature for more than two hours. The bacteria will easily enter the quinoa and develop quickly.
- If you want your quinoa to last for a few months, then store it in the freezer in freezer-friendly containers or resealable plastic bags. I recommend this method for those who prep their weekly or monthly meals for quicker cooking.
If you want to reheat quinoa after storing it in the freezer, make sure to let frozen quinoa thaw for a few hours or overnight, then heat it in the microwave or stove. Another way to thaw frozen quinoa quickly would be to steam water in a pot and leave the container of frozen quinoa in the pot of hot water, changing the water every half hour.
For uncooked quinoa, you should put it in an airtight container and leave it in a cool area away from the sun. While you can leave it in the refrigerator, that won't extend its lifespan.
I hope that this article answers your question, "How long does cooked quinoa last?" Besides cooked quinoa, it’s also very important to learn about the different lifespans of other healthy foods, such as tortillas and almond milk! Not only will knowing about the lifespan of food keep you safe, but it will also help reduce any wastage.
If you have any questions or would like to add your knowledge on the question "How long does cooked quinoa last?" then comment down below! I would love to hear what you have to think.
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