Raw grains can be stored in an airtight container for years if kept in a cool, dry, and dark place. Quinoa is the edible seed of the amaranth family’s flowering plant.
As dried uncooked grains, they can be stored in the pantry for up to 2 to 3 years past their expiration date, and even longer if stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Storing them in the following containers with an oxygen absorber will ensure their freshness for a longer period of time:
- Glass mason jar
- Airtight plastic container
- Vacuum pack
Why Store Quinoa?
Quinoa is regarded as a superfood because it contains more nutrients than most grains. Cooked, it contains 21% carbohydrates, which is comparable to barley and rice. It’s also the only carbohydrate source with all nine essential amino acids. It also contains iron, phosphorus, manganese, and copper.
This grain is also high in fibre and protein, as well as being gluten-free. Because of its high fibre content, it can also maintain satiety, or the feeling of fullness, for longer periods of time. This is useful in the event of a SHTF because it can lead to the preservation of the food supply. Preppers and survivalists should think about including this superfood in their emergency supplies.
In addition, the grain can be sprouted and planted. Quinoa is a relatively simple crop to grow and harvest. It is a very hardy plant that can grow in a variety of climates. It also produces a large number of seeds per plant, which reduces the amount of growing space required. In a SHTF scenario, having a versatile grain that has a long shelf life and can be planted easily will be critical to survival.
Methods for Keeping Quinoa Fresh
When storing quinoa, there are four things to keep in mind. The pantry, the freezer, the appropriate containers, and an oxygen-free environment are all required. All of these factors contribute to keeping quinoa, or almost any food, fresh for a longer period of time.
The pantry is a place where ingredients are typically kept. It can range from as small as a cabinet to as large as a small room. The most important aspects are that it is kept dry, cool, pest-free, and that sunlight is not allowed to enter the space. This is due to the fact that these factors contribute to the faster degradation of food and its packaging.
Quinoa can be stored in the pantry for up to two to three years after its expiration date. This is because it is kept in an airtight container and the pantry is in perfect condition (dry, cool, pest free, and no sunlight is getting in).
Freezer and refrigerator
The freezer can be integrated into a refrigerator or purchased separately. The main distinction between the two is that a freezer can reach and maintain temperatures below 0 oC (32 oF), whereas a refrigerator can only reach 1oC (33.8 oF), where food does not freeze.
Quinoa can be refrigerated for more than 3 years after its expiration date if properly stored in an airtight container and the temperature is kept below 5 degrees Celsius (41 oF). It may last longer if stored in the freezer. However, if the grains are not properly packed, freezing can result in faster degradation.
At temperatures below freezing, oxygen contributes to the moisture loss of all poorly packed frozen food, resulting in texture and taste changes. This is referred to as freezer burn. As a result, when preparing quinoa for freezing, a vacuum pack is the best way to store it because it removes almost all of the air in the packaging and prevents air from getting in.
Quinoa’s shelf life cannot be extended in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer without the proper storage containers. It is critical to use the appropriate type of vessel depending on where you intend to store them.
Glass mason jar
A mason jar is any glass jar with a screw thread around the outside of the mouth for a screw-on lid. What makes it superior to other types of jars for storing quinoa is that the mason jar remains airtight for years as long as it is stored in a dry place.
This container is best suited for quinoa storage in the pantry. It can also be used in the refrigerator or freezer, but the disadvantage is that it is bulky. Glass jars can be frozen, contrary to popular belief, if done correctly.
Water expands when frozen and is the leading cause of freezer glass breakage.
However, because raw quinoa has a very low moisture content, this isn’t much of an issue.
If the weight of the container is an issue, plastic containers are an alternative to glass jars. Not all plastic containers, however, are created equal. Only four types of plastic are suitable for long-term storage. They are as follows:
- Plastic #1: PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
- Plastic #2: HDPE (High Density Polyethylene)
- Plastic #4: LDPE (Low Density Polyethylene)
- Plastic #5: PP (Polypropylene)
Look for the triangle symbol with a number inside it to determine the type of plastic used in a container. This is frequently discovered at the bottom of any plastic container. This isn’t a recycle sign, and it doesn’t say how many times the plastic can be recycled. The resin identification number identifies the type of plastic used to make the object.
One disadvantage of using plastic containers is that most are not freezer-safe. This means that if the container is stored in the freezer for an extended period of time, it will warp, break, or degrade.
This is possibly the best container for storing quinoa in case of SHTF. The majority of vacuum packs are made of polyethylene (plastic #1), making them suitable for food storage. Vacuum packing eliminates air and oxygen, making it ideal for freezing. It can also be used to store food for an extended period of time in the pantry or refrigerator.
The only drawback is that the packaging cannot be resealed. An opened packet should be moved to another airtight container. It outperforms all other containers in terms of keeping quinoa or other food fresh for a longer period of time in the context of prepping.
Small, permeable bags filled with iron powder are used as oxygen absorbers. Rust is formed when iron oxidises as a result of reactions with oxygen and moisture in the air. This item, combined with vacuum packing, is the most effective way to keep quinoa fresh for the longest time.
Why Do These Methods Work?
The low temperature, low oxygen exposure, low moisture, and lack of sunshine exposure are the key reasons why these procedures operate.
Low temperatures in a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer decrease the metabolic processes that decay food naturally. Microorganisms that cause spoiling are also deactivated or killed at extremely low temperatures.
Pests won’t be able to eat quinoa if it’s kept in an airtight container, and germs won’t be able to get into contact with the grains. Furthermore, it is shielded from the impacts of oxygen. Oxygen initiates a chemical reaction in the food, causing it to go rancid and change its texture, smell, and taste.
Another element that can promote degeneration is moisture. This is because it has the potential to degrade the packaging, allowing bacteria and oxygen to enter the contents. It also encourages the growth of bacteria and fungi. The influence of moisture and oxygen is eliminated with the inclusion of an oxygen absorber.
Aside from these benefits, keeping the quinoa out of direct sunlight helps to prevent photodegradation. Some nutrients are sensitive to light. The nutritious content of food can be destroyed by exposure to sunshine.
How To Store Quinoa Long-Term Bottom Line
To summarise, the easiest approach to keep quinoa fresh is to vacuum seal it and store it in the refrigerator or freezer with an oxygen absorber. Food stock must be stored in a designated pantry that is cold, dry, and dark for preppers. The easiest way to keep food is to refrigerate or freeze it, however when SHTF, the absence of energy from the grid can be an issue.