Have you heard about quinoa?
If not, it is high time you did. Quinoa seeds are packed with essential nutrients your body craves for. Being gluten-free, it is a perfect choice for people with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
If you have already discovered quinoa and incorporated it into your dietary plan, you know that it is easy to prepare. Still, if you are busy, as most of us are, you might want to cook enough quinoa to last you a few days.
People who are on a gluten-free diet and consume quinoa on a daily basis as an alternative to grains are most probably most interested in finding an answer to the question of how long does cooked quinoa last.
So, let’s find out!
What Is Quinoa And Why Is It Good For You?
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has been cultivated for more than 5,000 years. Incas considered it to be “the mother grain,” and that is why it is called “the gold of the Incas.”
Many suppose it to be grain, but they are wrong as it is actually a type of seed. The mistake is understandable since quinoa is prepared like most grains are.
Just a few years back, quinoa was not nearly as popular as now. It was mostly sold in health food stores and reserved for people who suffer from gluten intolerance. Now you can find it in most supermarket aisles.
Why Did The Popularity Of Quinoa Grow So Much?
At least some of it has to do with its pleasant nutty taste, but it is mostly due to its superfood qualities. People also appreciate how easy and quick it is to cook.
Why Should You Eat Quinoa?
- Quinoa is a high-protein seed packed with beneficial nutrients. First of all, it is rich in vitamin B that has a vital role in preserving your good health and well-being.
- B vitamins keep your energy levels high as well as regulate your brain function and cell metabolism. They also prevent infections.
- Quinoa is also a source of iron, riboflavin, lysine, magnesium, and manganese – the essential building blocks of a healthy body. Finally, quinoa contains all nine amino acids that serve to build and preserve your muscles and keep your body fit.
- As we have already mentioned, quinoa is gluten-free too. Therefore it is indispensable in any healthy gluten-free diet.
- Now that you know how valuable quinoa is, all there is left to do is learn how to prepare and store it properly.
How To Prepare Quinoa?
Quinoa is easy to cook. Better yet, cooking it will take very little of your precious time.
You can prepare quinoa just as you would any grain or pasta.
Most cookbooks and online recipes recommend cooking one cup of quinoa with two cups of water. We have tried this, and the result was a gummy product.
Disappointed, we have tested multiple other quinoa-to-water ratios and found that you should ditch about one-quarter of a cup of water for perfectly fluffy cooked quinoa.
Before you start cooking quinoa, you must rinse it! Why? Quinoa is covered with saponin, a natural coating that makes it taste bitter & soapy.
How Can You Get Rid Of This Coating?
Easy! Simply rinse the quinoa just before cooking. Some boxed quinoa is already rinsed during production, and you do not need to rinse it at home, so make sure you check the label.
Quinoa makes a superb side dish for your meals. If you want it to taste even better, you can try cooking it with broth. Do not forget to add a bay leaf to the pot too!
There are numerous recipes you can try! Do you have a good one to share with us?
Good To Know Quinoa Facts
- One cup dry quinoa yields three cups of cooked quinoa.
- You need 1 3/4 cups of liquid to cook one cup of quinoa.
- Quinoa will cook in 20 minutes.
- The natural bitterness of quinoa can be removed by rinsing it in a mesh strainer.
- Quinoa tastes best when cooked in vegetable or chicken broth.
- Quinoa can be cooked in your rice cooker too.
Can Quinoa Go Bad?
Quinoa is sold dry and has quite a long shelf life. Still, it is not impervious to spoilage.
At some point, dry quinoa will go bad. You can delay that by making sure you store the seeds properly. There are two main rules you need to follow to prolong quinoa’s shelf life:
- Store it in an air-tight container to protect it from moisture
- Keep it in a cold place away from high heat.
As long as you respect these simple rules, your dry quinoa will last a long, long time. After all, quinoa is not cheap, and you should try to secure proper storage and make the best of it!
An unopened pack of quinoa can be stored in the pantry at room temperature. Opened packages of quinoa should better be kept in the fridge as that will extend its shelf life. If you keep them in the refrigerator, they will stay fresh for two to three years.
Even if you store it properly, quinoa can go bad.
Always make sure to check for mold before you start preparing your quinoa. If you notice the presence of mold, discard all of the quinoa.
It’s difficult to tell if uncooked quinoa has gone bad simply because there will be little to no changes in its color or flavor.
Mold is the visible sign that something has gone bad, but quinoa can be spoiled even when it has no changes you can notice. However, once cooked, it will show its true colors.
If your cooked quinoa has an unusually hard texture or funky aroma, it is probably not safe to eat. You should best throw moldy cooked quinoa in the trash, or you can endanger your health.
How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last?
Once cooked, quinoa will go bad in only a couple of hours. At temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F, bacteria will grow fast, and in only about two hours, your quinoa will be unsafe to consume. YOu should better throw it away than risk your health.
It is, therefore, crucial to refrigerate cooked quinoa as soon as possible!
How To Do That Properly?
- Transfer the cooked quinoa into an air-tight container. The less free space there is, the better. Place the container into the fridge and try to open it only when obliged. As an alternative, you can use resealable plastic bags too.
- If you follow these rules, cooked quinoa will remain fresh in your fridge for five to seven days.
Can You Freeze Quinoa?
Yes. Quinoa leftovers can be frozen if you do not plan to eat it in the next few days.
Unfortunately, once thawed, cooked quinoa will change its texture significantly. It is most evident once you reheat it.
How To Freeze Cooked Quinoa?
- You do not need to go through any special preparation, simply put the cooked quinoa into a freezer-safe air-tight container and put it in the freezer. For safety and quality, you can use plastic bags to pack single servings of cooked quinoa.
- At a temperature of steady 0 degrees Fahrenheit, your cooked quinoa will be good to eat for a whole year, or even more. Still, for best taste and quality, try to consume it within two months.
- If you do not mind the altered texture, it is the safest method to keep your quinoa stored for a long time.
- You can even freeze uncooked and unopened packs of quinoa. In this way, they will remain safe to eat for three to four years.
How Long Does Cooked Quinoa Last After Being Thawed?
Once thawed, cooked quinoa should be either eaten right away or refrigerated as soon as possible. It can be kept in the fridge for up to four days.
If you thaw cooked quinoa in the microwave, consume it right away.
Quinoa is not only good for you but also easy to cook and store. If you follow a few simple rules we have shared with you, your quinoa will last long and taste as good as freshly cooked.
Proper storage will save your hard-earned money too since quinoa is quite pricey!