So you decide one evening you want to make homemade hummus for the upcoming party. Naturally, hummus is very simple to make but needs a few unique ingredients that will turn it into irresistible dipping, and tahini is one of them!
You instantly remember there’s a full jar of tahini stored somewhere in your pantry, but you quickly realize its passed by it’s best-before-date.
But, wait… Does tahini go bad?
This is the question that many dedicated tahini fans have also asked themselves at least once or twice. Fortunately, this article will answer all of your burning questions, from does tahini go bad to shelf life and storage tips, so read on!
Does Tahini Go Bad?
Unfortunately, tahini doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life and will eventually go bad. The lifespan of tahini depends on multiple factors. But first, we need to learn how long it will be safe to consume.
So How Long Does Tahini Last?
It is actually tricky to determine tahini’s exact expiration date since it is mostly made of sesame seed oils, and it isn’t such a perishable product.
The best-by-date will inform you of how long the product should retain its freshness, but that date is a rough guess. Tahini can easily be good for consumption even 6-12 months after the label’s date, as long as it is properly stored.
Sadly, organic tahini will go rancid faster, because it doesn’t have additional ingredients such as preservatives or stabilizers.
An unopened jar of tahini will last from 6 months to even 3 years if stored correctly. But it depends on the type and the tahini brand because some manufacturers use preservatives and stabilizers.
Tahini is sensitive to temperature changes, so once you open it, the degradation process will accelerate. An opened jar of tahini will last from 3 to 6 months in the cupboard and 6 months to 2 years in the fridge. But we suggest consuming it within the first 3-5 weeks to enjoy its best quality.
As for homemade tahini, it doesn’t have preservatives, so it should be good to keep for 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator.
The shelf life of tahini may depend on the type of sesame seeds and the preparation method. For example, raw sesame seeds will be good for 6 months, while roasted seeds can be good for up to 3 years, under the proper conditions.
What Is Tahini?
Tahini is made from sesame seeds in the form of a thick paste. Some brands also add vegetable oils, salt, or other ingredients such as preservatives. It is creamy dipping with a nutty flavor, and it is part of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
This paste is a typical flavoring agent and thickener for salads and sauces. It is one of the ingredients that is usually added to the hummus and many other desserts and dishes such as halva, baba ganoush, and falafel.
As for nutritional value, tahini is caloric, so it should be enjoyed in moderation like 1-2 tbsp per day. Also, it is high in unsaturated fat, and it has a good amount of minerals and protein. Moreover, it is high in calcium.
Types Of Tahini
There are two types of tahini: hulled and unhulled.
- Hulled tahini is paler and creamier than an unhulled version because the sesame seeds’ outer shells have been removed during the production. On the other hand, hulled tahini is less nutrient-rich and contains less fiber.
- Unhulled tahini is made of whole sesame seeds and, thus, has a more bitter taste.
Also, tahini paste can be raw or roasted. Raw one is less strong in flavor and has a lighter color, and it has a higher nutrient content. Roasted tahini paste is stronger in taste and has a much darker color.
The color of the tahini ranges from lightly sandy to deep brown. The dark varieties tend to have a stronger flavor that some people may find bitter. They are usually more textured and gritty.
How To Store Tahini?
The proper storage can make tahini go a long way. Yet, there are some temperature, humidity, and location factors that you should consider to exceed its shelf life:
Always store your tahini in a dark place, away from sunlight. The ideal storage location for your unopened jar of tahini is a pantry or a kitchen cupboard. Moreover, you can store it in the fridge if you like, but it is not necessary.
As for the opened jar of tahini, you should keep it in the refrigerator at all times. Although, some people keep it in the pantry, just like they do with the peanut butter. Anyhow, you should put it in the fridge as chilling the paste will maximize its quality and shelf life.
Also, homemade tahini should be kept in the refrigerator as it doesn’t contain preservatives, and the chances of going rancid are higher. You can keep it in a glass jar or a plastic container with an airtight lid. That way, you will protect it from chilly temperatures.
Chilling fridge temperatures will make tahini’s consistency very thick, ice cream-like, and hard to pour.
Pro Tip: To fix your tahini texture, take it out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes before using it. Then, separate the desired amount and mix it in the blender with a little water or vegetable oil.
You should store your unopened tahini in a cool and dry place. Keep it away from moisture and heat sources.
The most important thing to remember is always to keep the lid sealed tightly, as the excess moisture and air can make it go rancid quickly.
An unopened jar can be kept at room temperature, while the opened one must be kept in the fridge.
Moreover, you can also freeze your tahini, but keep in mind that the flavor and consistency changes may occur.
It is best to follow the instructions printed on the label, as some manufacturers suggest keeping tahini in the refrigerator after opening, while others recommend keeping it in the pantry.
Also, since the tahini is high in oil content, after a while, the oil will come to the paste’s surface. But don’t worry as this is entirely normal and it happens to some similar products like peanut butter.
Pro Tip: To fix this problem, give it a good stir or put it in the food processor, and you’re good to go!
How To Tell If Tahini Is Bad?
Tahini is made of sesame seeds, and it contains a good amount of oil. It usually doesn’t contain any other added ingredients, so such an environment makes it difficult for fungi and bacteria to grow.
So, it’s unlikely that you’ll find any type of growth or mold on the surface of your tahini, but it can still happen. Unwashed hands, dirty utensils, or containers may spoil tahini quickly. If you notice any discolorations, or some green and black spots all over your tahini, toss it in the trash.
As we’ve already mentioned, oil separation on top of tahini is normal, and that doesn’t mean your tahini has gone bad. However, like any other oil-containing product, it can go rancid as the oils will start to break down after some time. Thus, give it a sniff, and if it has an off-odor, it is probably spoiled. Spoiled tahini usually has a strong rancid smell, and some people even say it smells like crayons or a soapy aroma.
If you’re still not sure, you can taste it, as even if it is rancid, it won’t harm your health. Spoiled tahini will have a very unpleasant rancid-like, stale taste. So, you’ll know for sure if it has gone bad the moment you taste it.
Heat, humidity, and air exposure will determine how fast your tahini will go rancid. Because of that, it is vital how and where you’ll be storing it.
Does Tahini Go Bad? – Final Thoughts
Overall, there is no definite answer to how long will your jar of tahini last.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t have an indefinite shelf life. Same as molasses, tahini can last even months after its best-by-date if stored properly.
However, we have to say; it won’t taste the same as fresh one does, and it is better to discard it if you notice any changes in appearance, smell, or taste.
When not in use, keep your tahini jar closed tightly and store it in a dark place, away from sunlight and heat sources. Unopened tahini can be held in the pantry or the kitchen cupboard, while we recommend storing opened ones in the refrigerator or even in the freezer.
Ultimately, if you have a jar of tahini that has been sitting in your pantry for quite a while, it might be a good time to make some hummus!