Tortillas we all love them. They serve as the basis for a number of dishes and recipes and a soft, fluffy tortilla truly is a delight for the senses, particularly when combined with the finest mix of ingredients possible. But do tortillas go bad?
Many people assume that tortillas won’t go bad and will last for months and months on end; others simply find themselves asking the question of, “how long do tortillas last?”
There is something of a common misconception that tortillas won’t go bad and that they will last almost indefinitely. However, this is most certainly not the case, and too many people find themselves falling trap to this belief when it comes to eating their old tortillas, only to find that they have gone stale or even worse green from mold.
There are very few things worse than getting hyped up for a delicious meal, only to have it ruined by food that has gone bad and is no longer edible. As such, understanding the shelf life of your favorite food products and finding out an answer to the question of, “how long do tortillas last” is vital to ensuring that you don’t end up disappointed when it comes to meal time!
What Are Tortillas Used For?
Tortillas are some of the most delicious and versatile products that can be found! Tortillas—whose name is derived from the word ‘torta’, meaning round cake in Spain—themselves are fairly simple foods; they are traditionally thin and savory variants of pancakes that are crafted from maize (corn) flour mixed with water. Often, a little salt and oil will be added during the cooking process to give modern tortillas their distinctively chewy texture.
Tortillas have been loved by people for thousands and thousands of generations, with the first and most rustic tortillas having been made by the Aztec people around 12,000 years ago, where ground corn was first made into a special type of dough known as masa. Though the production methods have changed over the millennia that followed the first creation of tortilla cakes, the overall recipe has remained largely unchanged and has stood the test of time, and those simple ingredients are still delighting people today!
Tortillas are used as shells for other ingredients primarily, however people also eat tortillas now as tortilla chips where the tortilla itself is cut into small triangles or ‘chips’ and fried in vegetable oil to make them crisp up into a delicious snack.
Oddly, though, there is a greater use for tortillas nowadays than just as a simple foodstuff. While almost everybody enjoys a good tortilla, some people have even taken this adoration to an extreme and use tortillas as bases for their artwork; the tortilla dough is baked until it is especially hard and dry and can then be used as a basis for promoting the work and culture of Latino artists and creatives.
How Long Do Tortillas Last Before They Go Bad?
Tortillas often are presumed to be able to last for months and months and months on end before going bad, however, this is not always the case. Tortillas can usually be expected to last a good week at least before they begin to go bad, with some modern (shop bought) recipes and products also using preservatives to increase the standard and expected shelf life even further. It is usually advised that tortillas can still be enjoyable past their best before date, though, and for pantry tortillas, this can be assumed to be extended by as much as a week or more before the tortillas start to go dry and unappetizing.
How To Store Tortillas To Stop Tortillas Going Bad
There are a number of ways in which you can store your fresh tortillas in order to ensure that they stay fresh for longer. Tortillas typically are sold either fresh or as a pantry product and how you store them after purchase will have an effect on the expected life of the tortillas and how long you can expect them to be enjoyable for after their stated best before date has passed. One of the biggest difficulties, of course, is knowing how long your fresh homemade tortillas will last; this will largely depend on how well you prepared the tortillas, whether or not they were cooked properly—overcooked tortillas will often go stale or dry faster than perfectly cooked tortillas—and how well you have stored them (for example, whether they were put in an airtight bag or box or if they were just wrapped loosely with foil after cooking.
There are three ways in which a tortilla lover can store their freshly made or purchased tortillas at home: in the fridge (refrigerated or otherwise chilled in a cooler box); in the freezer; or in a cool and shaded pantry. Tortillas should always be kept in suitable packaging or containers, regardless of how they are stored, as this will determine whether they age normally or if they start to go bad more quickly.
An unopened packet of tortillas from the store can often be expected to last for months from the time of production (usually between 6 and 8 months before they start to go bad). However, when trying to learn how to store tortillas and how long before tortillas go bad, it is vital that a tortilla lover remembers that exposing the tortillas to air (for example, when you first open the packet) will start something of a countdown to the tortillas going bad.
But do tortillas go bad really? The answer to this is, yes. After being opened, tortillas will begin to dry out and as time passes (usually a few weeks) they will go stale, hard, and unappetizing. After this point, the tortillas will then start to slowly go moldy; the low moisture content in the tortillas will help to slow down the growth of mold however water vapor in the air will allow mold to begin slowly growing on the stale and hard tortillas. No one likes a tortilla that goes snap; this is how they will go if you leave them exposed to the air for extended periods of time.
How Long Do Tortillas Last When Stored Chilled VS Cool
Tortillas always require storing in cool and dry conditions at least and should never be stored somewhere hot and damp; the ideal choices for storing tortillas is in a cool and dry cupboard, chilled in either the refrigerator, or frozen in the freezer.
But how long do tortillas last when stored in chilled conditions VS when they are stored in cool conditions?
Tortillas that are kept in cupboards can be expected to last for about a week past their best before date, and if they are unopened, this can mean that pantry tortillas could last for over 8 months. Those that are stored, chilled, in a fridge can last closer to three weeks or so after their best before date, and incredibly, frozen tortillas can last nearly a whole year longer than they are supposed to. However, it should always be noted that refrigerating or freezing tortillas may cause them to be damp or soggy when it comes to eating them, and this can make them sticky and generally unpleasant compared to normal.
When it comes to storing your tortillas, you should always ensure that whatever the type of storage you choose—be it in a cupboard/panty, a fridge, or a freezer—you need to always ensure that the temperature will remain fairly consistent so that the tortillas will not be subjected to fluctuations in the temperature of the surroundings. Temperature changes can often lead to condensation forming inside the packaging in which your tortillas are stored, and this will make the tortillas wet and sticky as well.
Do Tortillas Go Bad: How To Tell When A Tortilla Has Gone Bad
The most obvious sign of your tortillas starting to go bad is when they begin to go stale and crisp and crack when you try to use them. After this point, the tortillas will then begin to show the obvious mold signs that one might expect from any other bread or dough based products, such as mold beginning to form on the tortilla or dark, unappetizing splotches appearing. The tortillas could also begin to go darker and may start smelling slightly acrid and acidic, which is a sign that they are beginning to turn and go bad.
When it comes to deciding whether or not a tortilla is safe to eat, it is always important to consider a number of factors. If the tortilla has been stored well and looks and smells normal then it is likely to be fine; if it doesn’t look or smell like it used to, though, you might want to consider buying or making some more instead.