Ohayo gozaimasu! Annyeonghaseyo! Are you an avid fan of Japanese cuisines? Or maybe you got some love for Korean food? If you know sushi, kimbap, onigiri, temaki, and the like, you would probably know that dark-green wrapper that embraces and holds it together with the rice and other stuffed ingredients in it. In Japan, they call it nori. In Korea, they call it gim.
Nori is a paper-thin seaweed sheet that is made from dried red algae seaweeds or drive laver. Once the algae are dried, they are turned into sheets as if you are producing paper.
Nori is a versatile ingredient for Japanese, Korean, and other East Asian cuisines. These green thin seaweed sheets are not only for sushi-making but also for making delicious ramen, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, bibimbap, and many more! It has a savory umami flavor with a kick of sweet and salty taste. Besides that, nori is delicious, and it is rich in nutrients such as protein, fiber vitamins, and minerals like iron and iodine.
Nori comes in two forms: toasted and untoasted. Toasted nori is the most common form packaged and shipped to make it automatically ready for making sushi. On the other hand, untoasted nori is actually done on purpose for different kinds of dishes. Sometimes, nori is plainly eaten as a snack!
Alright! As for this post, we will share about the nori wrapper’s shelf life, storage, and storage of these savory wraps that make our favorite sushi more attractive and tasty!
Table of Contents
How to store nori?
In storing nori, your main goal is to protect it from moisture. Nori sheets can potentially absorb, making it soggy, and it sticks together. You do not want to eat that for sure. So, you have to provide the right storage condition that will help extend your nori wrapper’s shelf life.
Some things you need to do when storing nori:
- You have already compromised the quality of your nori once you have bought it at the store. This naturally happens because of changes in temperature and environmental conditions from the store to your home. So you always have to take care of them.
- To keep nori wrapper fresh, once opened, you can keep it in its original packaging and make sure to reseal it properly. The original packaging is good enough to protect your nori wrapper.
- You can also transfer the nori sheets in a zip-lock bag or in a glass jar with a tight seal along with its package of silica gel. The silica gel or that small package says “DO NOT EAT” will absorb moisture to keep your nori seaweed dry. In transferring the unused nori to another container, make sure that the sealable container is clean and dry.
- Store the nori in a clean and dry space or storage area where the temperature is consistent and not humid. Ensure that the storage area is not dusty, and it should be free from any possible contaminants.
- Nori is actually shelf-stable, and it is considered a non-perishable food item. It is best to never keep your nori wrapper inside the refrigerator. Why? Low temperatures in the fridge will make your nori wrapper leathery. Thus, it is best to keep the nori sheets in the kitchen cabinet or someplace where the temperature is temperate.
- Make sure to keep your nori away from direct sunlight exposure or in any heat or light sources.
- Find an area where the air circulation is good, especially when you happen to live in a humid or tropical environment. In other words, find somewhere where the temperature is stable.
- As for the type of container that you will use to store your nori wrapper, a plastic box is ok as long as it has enough space for your nori to spread out properly.
- If you can, try to wrap the container with a clear plastic film so that you can prevent pests from getting inside it.
Can it go bad?
As a traditional Japanese or Korean food item, nori wrapper is known for its long shelf life. However, that will depend if you have stored it correctly or not. The longevity of nori lies in its dryness, wherein it makes it hard for bacteria to thrive. But once it gets wet or moist, then that’s the beginning for it to spoil and affect its taste or texture.
It is still safe to eat nori even if it is already months or years past that date. However, as time goes by, the taste dissipates. So, some years old nori sheets won’t taste as good as the fresh one. Again, you can still eat it, though.
How long does it last?
Maybe you have noticed that other nori wrapper packages do not come with expiration dates. Why? That is because nori wrapper does not technically expire as long as it is stored properly. Just because it doesn’t have an expiration date does not mean that it will never get spoiled.
And there are also packs of nori wrapper that come with an expiration date. You can keep it in storage for 2-3 years past its printed date.
Here’s a fact. Any nori wrapper you got from Japan is usually safe to keep it for a longer time as long as you store it properly. Useful lasts as long as the package is still unopened.
Once you have open the package, your nori wrapper will last up to a few days inside a container. And if you just leave it in open-air, it will only last for a few hours. You can toast the nori wrapper if it gets wet. If you just place it inside the fridge, you won’t be able to use it again unless you toast it.
How to tell if it has gone bad?
Remember. Good nori is easy to tell. The best quality nori should have a seaweed smell, crispy texture, grassy and salty taste, dark-green in color, and it holds its shape firmly.
These are the characteristics if your nori wrapper has already gone bad.
- Off-color. Nori usually is dark green in color. If there are any signs of discoloration, that means it might have already been contaminated with molds or with other chemical contaminants. Never use the nori wrapper that had turned to shades of yellow or pink.
- Mold growth. If your nori wrapper was moistened for a long time, it creates a possibility for mold to grow on the surface. This also happens if your nori is placed in temperatures that constantly fluctuates.
Brittle. If the seaweed wrap becomes too dry due to heat exposure, it can result in brittleness, making it unable to perform the job of wrapping your sushi. As a result, it will just break apart when you try to roll and wrap your sushi.
Off-flavor. Nori is supposed to taste grassy, salty, and savory. Long-stored nori sheets should be tasted first before using it in a dish. If it tastes something else, then it has already passed its prime. So, you have to consider discarding it away. As nori can absorb foreign smells stored with it in one place, it also changes its tastes. If you have uncovered aromatic or spoiled items in the fridge, it could contaminate the whole storage space. Or maybe, your refrigerator needs deep cleaning for it to produce clean cold air.
Off-smell. A good nori wrap smells seaweedy or something like the ocean. If it tastes sour and rancid, consider not using it anymore. This could happen maybe because your nori wrapper was exposed to foreign scents around its storage, especially when you kept them in the fridge in an unsealed container.
Leathery texture. This happens when nori is exposed to moisture. It absorbs moisture in the air, and then it becomes tough and leathery to eat.
Soggy. Nori wrapper becomes soggy if it gets wet. If that happens, it won’t properly wrap your sushi, and it will just fall apart.
You need to find out in opening a pack of nori seaweeds whether or not it has been toasted. A toasted nori wrapper has a crispy texture that it is known for. If it is not toasted yet, then, of course, you will have to toast it after opening a pack of it. Use an oven or a toaster to make your nori wrapper crispy. If you don’t have these appliances, you can swiftly pass your nori wrapper over your stovetop’s open flames. Just make sure you won’t burn the wrapper and yourself as well. After toasting, you need to store it properly.
Is it still safe to eat leathery nori?
Eating moistened and already leathery nori is not most what people prefer or enjoy. As long as it still looks dark green without any signs of discoloration, there is a way to fix this. You’ll just have to get rid of the odor that was absorbed by your nori wrapper. So, just toast it! Here is how to do it: