The chia plant has been around for centuries now, and historical evidence points at it having originated from far-flung places such as Guatemala and Mexico. The most important part of this plant is the seed, which can be consumed whole or ground. Said seeds contain deep wells of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins as well as fiber and come in as a component of food or drink.
The Quality of Chia
You can incorporate chia seeds into your diet either by eating them whole or using them ground and dissolved in drinks. Generally, the best chia seeds are the ones that have not been ground in this form, the nutritional blocks inside their stay protected from exposure to destructive agents. In addition to that, whole chia promises a long shelf life. If you love your seeds crushed, then you can always DIY using a pepper mill at the time of consumption. This way, nothing goes to waste.
Keep the seeds in a container with a tight fitting lid to avoid spillage and more importantly, exposure to the elements. All the containers should be kept dark if possible. As for the ground ones, make sure that compact containers are used and stow them away in cool, water-free places such as pantries or refrigerators.
Do Chia Seeds Go Bad?
Technically, anything that has oil in it will turn rancid after some time, and Chia seeds contain oil. However, in most cases, Salvia hispanica is horribly difficult to just turn up bad. The seed has a ‘best by date’ of 2 years(according to most manufacturing and packaging houses). This shelf life doubles if the right methods of storage are used. The refrigerator seems to be the storage unit of choice as it keeps the seeds fresh for over four years. A pantry will keep your seeds safe for around two and half years.
If you are looking for seeds that stick around for the longest time, start at the point of purchase. Always buy your seeds in the temperature-regulated sections of your local store (think freezers and refrigerators). Never keep your supply near water or moisture and always keep your containers very tightly sealed.
The good news for all of us is that while chia will expire, it is not nearly as delicate as flax because it is nowhere as near oily. To find out if your supply needs to be thrown out, give it a taste-spoiled seeds tend to be bitter as opposed to nutty.