How long do raw pumpkin seeds last. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a delicious and nutritious snack that are enjoyed by many people around the world.
They are commonly consumed raw, roasted, or as an ingredient in various dishes. However, like many other types of nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds have a limited shelf life and can spoil over time.
If you’re a fan of pumpkin seeds, you may be wondering how long they can last before they go bad.
In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect the shelf life of raw pumpkin seeds and provide some tips for storing them properly to ensure that they remain fresh and flavorful for as long as possible.
How long do raw pumpkin seeds last
The shelf life of raw pumpkin seeds depends on several factors, including their processing, storage, and exposure to air, moisture, and light.
Generally, raw pumpkin seeds can last for up to six months to a year if stored properly. However, this timeline may vary depending on various factors.
Factors That Affect the Shelf Life of Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Several factors can impact the shelf life of raw pumpkin seeds. Some of the most important ones are:
The packaging plays a significant role in determining how long the pumpkin seeds will last. If the seeds are stored in airtight containers, they can last longer than if they are exposed to air, moisture, and sunlight. The packaging material should also be of good quality to prevent any contamination or moisture from entering.
2. Processing Method
The processing method used for raw pumpkin seeds can affect their shelf life. Unshelled pumpkin seeds have a longer shelf life than shelled ones as their shells act as a natural barrier against air and moisture. In contrast, shelled pumpkin seeds are more susceptible to oxidation, which can cause them to spoil quickly.
3. Exposure to Air, Moisture, and Light
Exposure to air, moisture, and light can also affect the shelf life of raw pumpkin seeds. When exposed to air and moisture, pumpkin seeds can become rancid, stale, or moldy, which can cause them to spoil. Similarly, exposure to light can cause pumpkin seeds to deteriorate and lose their nutritional value.
4. Storage Conditions
The storage conditions can also affect the shelf life of pumpkin seeds. If the seeds are stored in a cool, dry place, they can last longer than if they are stored in a warm, humid environment. Heat and humidity can accelerate the process of spoilage and lead to the growth of bacteria and mold.
How to Store Raw Pumpkin Seeds Properly
Proper storage is key to extending the shelf life of raw pumpkin seeds. Here are some methods to store raw pumpkin seeds properly:
1. Store in an Airtight Container
One of the best ways to store raw pumpkin seeds is to keep them in an airtight container. Airtight containers prevent air from entering and oxidizing the oils in the seeds. You can use a glass jar or a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
Make sure the container is clean and dry before storing the seeds. You can also use a vacuum sealer to remove the air from the container, which will extend the shelf life of the seeds.
2. Refrigerate the Seeds
Another way to store raw pumpkin seeds is to refrigerate them. The cool temperature of the refrigerator slows down the oxidation process, which helps to keep the seeds fresh for a more extended period.
To refrigerate raw pumpkin seeds, put them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator. The seeds can last for up to six months in the refrigerator.
3. Freeze the Seeds
If you want to store raw pumpkin seeds for an extended period, consider freezing them. Freezing slows down the oxidation process and keeps the seeds fresh for up to a year.
To freeze raw pumpkin seeds, spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer and put them in the freezer for a few hours until they are frozen. Once the seeds are frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag and place them in the freezer.
4. Store in a Dark and Cool Place
Raw pumpkin seeds should be stored in a dark and cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat. Exposure to sunlight and heat can accelerate the oxidation process and spoil the seeds. You can store the seeds in a pantry, cupboard, or any other dark and cool place in your home.
5. Roast the Seeds
Roasting raw pumpkin seeds can also help to extend their shelf life. Roasting removes moisture from the seeds, which reduces the risk of oxidation.
To roast raw pumpkin seeds, spread them on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown. Once the seeds are roasted, let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag.
6. Do not Store with Moisture
Raw pumpkin seeds should not be stored with moisture. Moisture can cause the seeds to mold and spoil quickly. Therefore, make sure the seeds are completely dry before storing them.
You can dry the seeds by spreading them on a baking sheet and leaving them in a cool and dry place for a few hours.
Signs of Spoilage
Here are the signs of spoilage in raw pumpkin seeds so that you can identify them and avoid consuming them.
The first sign of spoilage in raw pumpkin seeds is a rancid odor. When pumpkin seeds go bad, they start to develop a musty smell that is unpleasant to the nose.
This odor is caused by the oxidation of the natural oils present in the seeds. If you notice a rancid odor coming from your pumpkin seeds, it is best to discard them immediately.
Another sign of spoilage in raw pumpkin seeds is discoloration. Fresh pumpkin seeds have a light green color that can range from pale to bright green.
However, if you notice any dark spots or blackening on the seeds, it is a clear indication that they have started to spoil. This discoloration is caused by mold growth on the seeds, which can be harmful to your health if ingested.
Soft and Moist Texture
Fresh pumpkin seeds have a crunchy texture that is enjoyable to eat. However, if you notice that the seeds have become soft and moist, it is a sign that they have started to spoil.
The moisture content in the seeds can create a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can cause food poisoning and other health problems.
If you taste your pumpkin seeds and notice a bitter taste, it is a clear indication that they have gone bad. The bitterness is caused by the breakdown of the natural oils in the seeds, which can also cause a rancid odor. Consuming bitter pumpkin seeds can cause stomach discomfort and other digestive issues.
Most commercially available pumpkin seeds come with an expiration date printed on the packaging. It is important to check this date before consuming the seeds to ensure that they are still fresh. If the expiration date has passed, it is best to discard the seeds even if they do not show any signs of spoilage.
What is the best way to store raw pumpkin seeds?
Raw pumpkin seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard. They can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for even longer shelf life.
Can raw pumpkin seeds go bad?
Yes, raw pumpkin seeds can go bad if not stored properly or if they are past their expiration date. Signs that raw pumpkin seeds have gone bad include a rancid or stale smell, a bitter taste, or discoloration.
How can I tell if raw pumpkin seeds are still good?
To check if raw pumpkin seeds are still good, give them a sniff to see if they have a fresh, nutty scent. If they smell rancid or stale, they may have gone bad. You can also taste a few seeds to see if they have a bitter or off flavor.
Can I eat raw pumpkin seeds that are past their expiration date?
It is not recommended to eat raw pumpkin seeds that are past their expiration date. The quality of the seeds may have degraded and they may not taste as good or be as nutritious.
Can I roast raw pumpkin seeds to extend their shelf life?
Roasting raw pumpkin seeds can help to extend their shelf life by removing moisture and making them more stable. However, it is important to note that roasting can also change the flavor and texture of the seeds.
In conclusion, raw pumpkin seeds can last for varying lengths of time depending on various factors such as storage conditions, packaging, and processing. When stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, raw pumpkin seeds can last for up to six months. However, if they are stored improperly or exposed to moisture, heat, or air, they may spoil much quicker.
It’s essential to check the expiry date and storage instructions on the packaging before purchasing raw pumpkin seeds to ensure their freshness and longevity. Additionally, it’s recommended to purchase from reputable sources and store them properly to ensure that you get the most out of these nutritious and delicious seeds.