Lovers of hummus know just how important tahini is. Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It has a distinct amazing flavor and has so many uses.
A lot of people, like me, use it as an ingredient in hummus. Tahini makes hummus creamier and also enhances its flavor. Hummus always tastes better with some tahini in it.
Tahini is one of those ingredients that are so versatile. I never want to run out of tahini because I use it a lot. Personally, I never let my tahini go to waste. I use it as a salad dressing, a dip, and also spread it in my sandwiches.
A few weeks ago I discovered a jar of tahini sitting in my pantry. I badly wanted to use it for the salad I was making for dinner but I was not really sure how long it had stayed in the pantry. I did not want to use it and then end up having stomach complications.
I kept wondering, does tahini go bad? If yes, how long does it last? That is how I started digging up information about tahini.
Since tahini is made from sesame seeds, it can last for a really long time. When stored properly, tahini can last for up to 6 months past the best by date. However, it is important to note that its quality deteriorates with time. I recommend using tahini before it reaches its best by date for the best experience. If tahini stays for more than 6 months past its best by date, it will go bad.
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The best by date
Every jar of tahini usually comes with a best by date. The best by date is not an expiry date. You can still safely use the tahini for months past its best by date as long as there is no sign of spoilage.
The quality of the tahini may not be as good as it was before the best by date, but this does not mean that you will get sick from using it.
The best by date is just a mere estimate of how long tahini will retain its good quality.
If your jar of tahini was stored properly and there are no signs of spoilage, you can still use it.
What is the shelf life of Tahini?
When stored properly, tahini will last for a long time. Organic tahini lasts for a shorter time compared to one that has some preservatives and stabilizers.
Preservatives tend to extend the shelf life of tahini. If you want your tahini to last for a long time, you should consider going for the one that has some preservatives.
Generally, unopened tahini lasts for approximately six months past the best by date when stored in the pantry. On the other hand, opened tahini only lasts for one to two months past the best by date when stored in the pantry.
However, if you store it in your fridge it will last for up to six months past the best by date.
You should keep in mind that once you open your jar of tahini, its quality will deteriorate at a faster rate compared to when it is unopened. So once you open the jar you may want to use it up as fast as possible before its quality deteriorates.
When tahini stays for a long time, it may stop being creamy. In fact, it will separate in such a way that the oil will be on top of the tahini and the other solid ingredients will be at the bottom. This does not mean that your tahini has gone bad. It is a natural process.
You can still safely consume it. Try whisking it and see if it will regain its creamy consistency. However, if you love your tahini creamy as I do, it is okay for you to discard it for quality reasons.
Does tahini go bad? Signs of spoilage
Although we cannot tell exactly when tahini goes bad, it is important to note that the oil contained in sesame seeds can go rancid with time.
The good news is that you can use your sense of sight, smell, and taste to know whether or not tahini has gone. Here are a few signs that indicate your tahini is no longer safe to use.
This is the first obvious sign that you should definitely throw out the tahini. When tahini goes bad, molds grow around the rim of the tahini jar.
You may also notice greenish specks throughout the tahini. That is a sign of molding. Before using your tahini, look at it carefully and make sure no molds are growing inside the jar.
- Rancid odor
Tahini usually has a pleasant odor. If you open the jar and notice that it smells off or rancid, chances are that your tahini has gone bad. It is no longer safe to use and you should definitely throw it out.
- Weird taste
When the oil inside the tahini starts going bad, it significantly affects the taste of tahini. So if you taste your tahini and notice its taste is off, it has probably gone bad and is no longer safe to consume. Discard it for your own good.
If you are ever in doubt about whether or not the tahini is still safe to consume, just discard it. Better safe than sorry.
What makes tahini go bad?
The main culprit is oxygen.
Tahini and oxygen are not friends at all. If oxygen finds its way into your jar of tahini, oxidation will take place, and consequently the oil in the tahini will go rancid. This rancidity usually alters the smell and taste of tahini.
Other factors that may make tahini go bad are high temperatures and light. Consider storing your tahini in a place where it is not exposed to oxygen, heat, or light.
How to correctly store tahini
You can store tahini in your pantry, kitchen cabinet, or fridge. Once you open your jar of tahini, the best place to store it is inside the refrigerator.
This is because it will retain its quality for a much longer time compared to when you store it in the pantry or kitchen cabinet. Here are a few pointers on how to correctly store your tahini so that it lasts for a longer time.
- Store it in a cool, dry place
Like I mentioned earlier, tahini may go bad if you expose it to heat. You should store tahini in a cool place. The pantry and the fridge will work just fine.
- Store it in a dark place
Both natural and artificial light may alter the quality of your tahini. Keep the sunlight away if you want your tahini to last for a long time.
- Close tightly after every use
Once you open your jar of tahini, you need to make sure that you close the jar tightly after every use. If you don’t, oxygen and contaminants may get into the jar and cause it to spoil.
- Once you open your tahini, store it in the fridge
The quality of tahini tends to deteriorate at a faster rate when you open the jar. For this reason, I recommend that you store it in your fridge if you want it to last for a long time.
However, you should keep in mind that the texture of your tahini will change when you store it in the fridge. It will become thicker than usual. When this happens, you do not need to panic. I will explain the procedure of restoring the texture of tahini down below.
How to restore the texture of tahini after refrigeration.
If you have a blender in your kitchen, then restoring the texture of tahini will be a very simple task. Just follow these instructions to have your creamy tahini ready in no time.
- Scoop the tahini you want to use from the jar and place it inside a blender.
- Add a teaspoon of water or sesame oil to the tahini.
- Blend the tahini with water or sesame oil until it reaches the consistency that you want. You can add more water or oil if need be.
- Remove from the blender and use it.
You should only blend the amount of tahini that you will definitely use at that time. If you blend more than is needed, you cannot return the tahini into its original jar. Pay attention to the amount of tahini you will need so as to avoid wastage.
Alternatively, you can use a food processor for this procedure. It all depends on your preference.
If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can restore the texture of tahini in the old-fashioned way. You will need a fork, lots of energy, and lots of patience as well.
All you need to do is use your fork to stir your tahini continuously until it goes back to its creamy consistency. This may take a long time but eventually, you will have your creamy tahini ready for use.