If the lentils are one to two years beyond the shelf life, take a close look at the condition of them, and you can decide whether or not they are still good. Check your expiration dates before storing, but you can expect that your lentils should last for 1 -2 years at their peak.
How long your lentils will last depends on how you store them, and if they are dried, canned, or cooked. Lentils that are already cooked, regardless of whether they are canned or dried initially, will last for around three to five days in the refrigerator. When it comes to dried lentils, they last for months and even years beyond this date, depending on the conditions of storage.
A bag of dried lentils lasts about one year after its best-by date, whereas a jar of lentils lasts about one or two years after it is best-by date. If stored correctly, dried lentils typically will last for a few years, even past their labeled best by date. Generally, one bag of dried lentils will last for a few years, although you will want to make sure that it is free from any signs of spoilage before using it.
Dried lentils can last up to two or three years when stored correctly in a cool, dark, and dry place in the kitchen or pantry. Properly stored, dried lentils generally remain of good quality for approximately two to three years at normal room temperature, though stored correctly they generally will still be safe for use beyond this time. If you properly store dried lentils, they last years, with the only drawbacks of long-term storage that you may encounter being slight changes in quality and vitamin losses.
The best place to store lentils is a cool, dry area, out of direct sunlight and kept at room temperature. Lentils should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from any heat or light that can cause them to rancid more quickly.
You will want to store the lentils in either a sealed baggie or an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark area. Now that they are cold and dry, just put your lentils into a container that is sealed, and store them in the dryest part of the freezer, away from any sources of cold moving air, like fans or vents.
|Cooked||5 days||6 months|
|Dried||5-7 days||2 years|
If you take care to take care of all these things, storing Lentils in an air-tight container away from any sources of light, heat, or humidity, Lentils can last up to three years. Despite their high protein content and great nutritional profile, lentils actually last very long under normal circumstances, provided that they are kept dry and packaged. The reason is because when dry, they will not let any bacteria to grow on them, and remain ideal for long-term consumption, until their expiration date.
Since lentils have become widespread, there is a large range of different types of lentils that can be cooked. As far as I know, the different types just impact the way they bake and freeze, and do not impact shelf life. Yes, you can freeze lentils, but there is very little reason to freeze dry varieties, as they will last several years in a sealed, airtight bag in the pantry.
Boil the lentils briefly before freezing, so that they can be finished cooking in your stew or soup recipes. You can also store leftover lentils in the cooker in which you cooked them, seal the lid, and store the entire cooker in the refrigerator. Once you have opened your canned or cooked homemade lentil soup, use leftovers in 4-5 days, at best, and store refrigerated and covered. If you opened the lentils in a can, and know that you likely will not be eating them again for several days, be sure to first thoroughly wash them in cold water, strain them, then place them into a tight-sealed container.
If you are unsure whether your 5 year-old lentils are safe to eat, just assume that they are not and throw them out. Lentils can start losing their freshness and quality of taste, and will still be perfectly safe to eat a few months after this date. Dried lentils, the type you might find in a plastic bag, will still be fine about one year past their best-by date. Soaked lentils will last about three days in the refrigerator, however freezing is not a great idea as they are already filled with water, which could cause lentils to break down during thawing.
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In theory, all of your cooked lentils can last longer, however each time you open the freezer door, you risk having the lentils turning rancid or getting freezer burn. In reality, dried lentils can be stored on the pantry shelf for an unlimited amount of time as long as they are stored properly, either in sealed packages or in an airtight container. Cooked lentils can last 5 days in the refrigerator in sealed containers, or can be frozen for up to 6 months. On average, fresh, freshly prepared lentils that are kept refrigerated may last up to six days, although that can shorten depending on the conditions of storage. Like most dried foods, keeping lentils in a cool area (think pantry, not refrigerator) increases the shelf-life ([USU]).
The exact answer depends heavily on the conditions in which they are stored: To maximize shelf life, store dried lentils in cool, dry areas. If you wish to store dried lentils long-term, for example, in an emergency pantry long-term storage, pack them in a non-oxygen-containing container first, as noted above, and store them in a cool, dry, elevated, and pest-free location.
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Once you cook the lentils, place in a strainer and remove all the excess water as much as possible. Start by washing the lentils to remove any nastiness, bring three cups water to a simmer with a cup of lentils, lower the heat, and cook them down to soft, about 15-20 minutes. As mentioned earlier, if lentils are not cooked and are still sitting in their packaging, these temperatures are not likely to result in the development of bacteria or fungal colonies, considering the fact that dried lentils provide a mostly hostile environment for microbes.
What happens if you don’t soak lentils?
Since lentils are so small, they don’t even need to soak to cook for a respectable period; depending on the variety, unsoaked lentils will cook for 15 to 30 minutes. However, strive for soaking them for no less than two hours and no more than twelve if you want to perhaps ease digestion. (A reasonable beginning point is two to four hours.)
How long do cooked lentils last out of fridge?
Cooked lentils will last in the fridge for up to four days and outside the fridge, for only 2 to 3 hours. After that, they should be discarded. If you’re not sure if your lentils are still good, take a close look at them. Cooked lentils should be soft and have a slightly mushy texture.
What happens if you eat bad lentils?
If you eat bad lentils, you may experience some gastrointestinal distress. However, if they are not cooked properly, they can cause food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning from bad lentils include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. If you experience these symptoms after eating lentils, it is important to seek medical attention.