●Flavored using chocolate or other essences
Sometimes, they are ground into SunButter, a great alternative if you are looking for a healthy spread or are allergic to peanuts.
The tricky thing about their shelf life is that they can keep for so long that sometimes one has to wonder, do they ever go bad?
Before we get to the specifics of their shelf life, we will start with the storage methods.
What Is the Proper Way to Store Sunflower Seeds?
First off, let’s start with the condition they are in when you get them. You have a few options, including buying them in a shell or as kernels (shelled), roasted, salted, or flavored. No matter what kind you get, the storage guidelines we have here apply to them all.
When you get them from a grocery store or supermarket, they are usually placed near trail mix or nuts. Even though the supermarket storage is ideal, it is only great for short term spells (a couple of months maybe.)
If you buy the package to consume during a game happening in the space of one to two weeks, the sunflower seeds can sit at room temperature and still be fine by the time you want to consume them. However, even as they are stored at room temperature, you should make sure that they are in a cool and dry place away from sunlight to ensure that they stay in the same condition as when you bought them.
If you plan to keep them longer than that, you’ll have to change your tactics a bit.
Buying in bulk (because there was an offer or because you don’t know when you’ll have a chance to get more) will mean that you have to store them for longer, and that is where more specialized methods of storage come into play.
The pantry may not be an ideal place to store them for longer than 1 or 2 months.
For long periods, you will need to put them in an airtight container and keep them in a refrigerator or freezer. The low temperatures in there ensure that the seeds do not become rancid, which is a common cause of seeds of any kind going bad.
: To ensure that they stay fit to eat for longer, keep them in low-oxygen packaging. If you have bought the seeds in bulk or have already opened the package, transfer them into a resealable freezer bag and squeeze out the air before closing the bag to make sure that they stay the same until you are ready to eat them again.
How Long Can Sunflower Seeds Stay Edible?
We could get into how long the sunflower seeds can stay when they are shelled, unshelled, roasted, or not roasted but, the difference in time is quite negligible, so we will discuss the general details.
Here is a simple way of looking at it.
●Commercially packaged sunflower seeds– If you buy the sunflower seeds in factory packaging, check the best-by date printed on the label. Notice that it does not say ‘expiration date.’ However, it is a great indicator of how long you can keep the seeds before they go bad. If the bag stays unopened and is stored at room temperature, the seeds should be suitable for use two months after their best by date. If you keep them in a freezer using the storage methods we talked about above, they can easily stay in there for a year and be viable.
●Open packages and bulk purchases– if you keep the seeds sealed in a pantry, they should keep for at least two months or sometimes 3. If you want them to stay for a year, they have to be refrigerated or frozen.
You should know that these are estimates. Sometimes, the seeds can keep for longer than indicated. But, overestimating how long you can keep them increases the chances of getting it wrong or providing inaccurate information.
For you to know if they have survived for longer than you thought, you’ll need the expertise that will allow you to tell when they have gone bad.
How Do You Know When Sunflower Seeds Have Gone Bad?
The signs of spoiled seeds are usually the same. Sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower all exhibit the same signs when they go bad. Here is what to watch out for:
A Rancid or Strange Smell
You know what fresh sunflower seeds smell like, right? If you smell anything new or unusual, the seeds have probably gone bad. Sunflower seeds are oily, and one of the signs that they have gone bad is that they become rancid.
What happens is, the oil gets exposed to air, light, or humidity (moisture) and oxidizes. That is what rancidification means. The good thing is, you will not get sick from eating rancid seeds, but the smell and taste is not pleasant.
It is best to discard the seeds if they do not smell right.
You’ve eaten fresh sunflower seeds and know exactly what they taste like. You can tell when the seeds have gone bad just by tasting them or if they smell strange once you take a bite. Please give them a taste to make sure that they still have the same quality you depend on for nutritional benefits.
If they taste sour or even off, discard them.
Mold is unlikely to be seen unless you were storing the seeds in a really damp place, but if it does, do not bother tasting them. They are spoiled if they have mold. The best thing to do to make sure that they do not get moldy is to ensure that no water or moisture gets into the packaging. Mold showing up is rare but not impossible. Unlike the rancid seeds that won’t make you sick, eating mold is not safe.
: If you are not sure that they are good to eat, the assumption you should make is that they probably aren’t. We have been around for a long time on the earth, enough to have a keen intuition for what’s good to eat and what’s not. If your intuition doesn’t feel like the seeds are good, do not eat them.
FUN FACT: Did you know that sunflower seeds are native to North America. The native Americans were the first to discover the seeds’ nutritional benefits and incorporated them into their diets. To find out more about the seeds, check out the National Sunflower Association’s official website.
How Long Can Sunflower Seeds Keep When Prepared in A Dish?
The answer to this question is dependent on how long the food you made lasts. Generally, food lasts as long as the ingredient that expires fastest in the recipe.
How Do I Store Sunflower Seed Butter or Sunbutter?
To be on the safe side, you should refrigerate it, especially after you open the package. Make sure to transfer the contents of the original to a resealable, airtight container. If there is no best before date, most SunButter makers assert that it is safe to eat for a year after the manufacture date.