When farmers coarsely grind dried maize, the resulting sand-like material becomes cornmeal.
Then, when you continue to grind the cornmeal down, it turns into the more popular corn flour.
This humble ground corn is a staple diet of numerous regions around the world. From East Asia to Africa, Europe, and the Americas, you can find cornmeal incorporated into a variety of dishes.
As a matter of fact, cornmeal is so ubiquitous that you may have unknowingly eaten cornmeal in its many forms. If you’ve ever had grits, corn chips, or even corn dogs, then you’ve had a taste of cornmeal, and it’s markedly versatile nature.
However, what can you do if you have a bag of cornmeal that’s been sitting in your cupboard or freezer for ages now? Or maybe someone gifted you with more cornmeal than you know how to handle. You’re now worried that it may all just go to waste.
Before you start incorporating cornmeal into all your dishes in a desperate attempt to avoid wasting them, let’s see if they can last a little longer in storage.
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How Long Does Cornmeal Go Bad?
Apparently, they can last for over 30 years with only a loss of color to show for it.
Researchers from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah conducted an experiment with canned cornmeal ranging in age from less than a year old up to 33 years!
They concluded that, besides the cornmeal’s loss of color, there was no remarkable decrease in its texture, flavor, aroma, or overall acceptability as an ingredient in spite of the storage time.
The researchers also saw that there was no significant decrease in the thiamine levels in the cornmeal.
So does this mean you can stop worrying about your cornmeal in the fridge or cupboard? Not necessarily. The cornmeal in the experiments wasn’t in jars or plastic bags.
They were in No. 10 cans and therefore, manufacturers had properly packed and stored them for the longest possible shelf life.
So, unless you own a canning factory, don’t expect your cornmeal to last anywhere near 30 years.
However, if you store your cornmeal correctly, you might just extend its shelf life to at least a year and even up to four years. Additionally, that lifespan has the potential to stretch even more if you store the cornmeal in the fridge or freezer!
Correct Cornmeal Storage
What then, is the best way to store your cornmeal? The first thing you need to do is to keep it in the right container. So, when you buy cornmeal from the market, make sure you don’t leave it in its plastic or cardboard packaging.
As soon as you get home, transfer the cornmeal into an airtight container but don’t forget to take note of the expiration date.
Placing the cornmeal in a sealed container will keep insects and moisture out of your cornmeal.
Afterward maintain the cornmeal away from direct light and store it, preferably, in the cool dark as well as dry place, such as your pantry or better yet, the refrigerator. Also, try to minimize the number of times that you open the container.
Alternatively, you can also divide a large pot of cornmeal into smaller containers. Then, label the containers, so you’ll know what’s inside and how long it has been there. Afterward, you can freeze the containers that you don’t plan to use soon.
Signs of Spoilage
So, what if you’re looking at the cornmeal you’ve stored and you’re unsure if it has gone bad? Well, there are several signs that you can look for to determine if your cornmeal has expired or spoiled already.
Moist Or Sticky Grains
Inspect the cornmeal. Has it become shiny and moist? Maybe it has even become sticky. These signs mean the cornmeal has started to spoil and may soon ferment or lead to molds.
Spotting snow-like material or dark green spots and patches is a quick and dead giveaway that the cornmeal has spoiled and will thus need chucking out.
Strong, Bitter Smell And Rancid Taste
Due to the oil content in cornmeal, improper storage can lead to it going rancid. Once it goes rancid, it will start emanating a bitter smell.
Meanwhile, its taste will resemble that of old and used cooking oil. This spoilage commonly happens to cornmeal that was not kept in an airtight container.
Another visible sign of cornmeal that’s ready for the trash are any bugs that may have entered the container and have taken residence in the cornmeal. These insects may be large and prominent or small and wispy critters.
Concluding Thoughts For How Long Does Cornmeal Go Bad?
Cornmeal can potentially last a very long time. With proper storage techniques, cornmeal will keep for at least a year!
Additionally, stricter storage practices, such as using air-tight, moisture-proof containers, will maximize the lifespan of your healthy yellow grains.
Now you know “Does Cornmeal Go Bad?”, thanks for reading my article.