Whether you like tahini or not, certain dishes simply won’t come together without it. Thus, it is always good to have it at home. (Among other uses, it makes an amazing salad dressing too.)
But how long is tahini good for? Luckily, the shelf life of tahini is quite long. An unopened jar of tahini will last 6 months past its ‘Best by’. Once opened, tahini will keep well in the pantry for 1 to 2 months and up to 6 months in the fridge. For long term storage, you can store tahini in the freezer.
Continue reading to learn more about the shelf life and storage methods of this versatile paste.
Also read: All About Tahini: What It Is and 6 Yummy Ways to Use It
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Can Tahini Go Bad?
Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds. As sesame seeds are rich in oil and nutrients, it is only natural that tahini goes bad.
Depending on where you store it, the shelf life of tahini will differ. The fridge will certainly make your paste last a lot longer.
But a lot depends on how you store your tahini. If you do everything right, you can make a big batch of tahini and enjoy it for months.
How to Store Tahini?
You can store tahini both at room temperature and in the fridge.
An unopened jar of tahini can be easily stored in the pantry or a kitchen cabinet where it is dry and cool. It is important to keep this sesame seed paste away from sunlight and heat. Don’t leave your jar with tahini near the oven or any other heat source. Otherwise, it will go bad quite quickly.
While it is recommended to keep an opened jar of tahini in the fridge, you can store it in the pantry if it is not overly warm where you live. Especially if you are someone that uses tahini often, having it at room temperature at all times is very convenient.
The reason why many people choose to keep opened tahini in the pantry or kitchen cabinet is that lower temperatures cause this paste to thicken up. And it is not easy to use thick tahini in a sauce or as a dip. Additionally, it is almost pointless to refrigerate tahini if you will be using it within a week or two given that you can provide the necessary storage conditions.
If you do want your paste to keep for much longer and be safe as far as the temperature is concerned, store it in the fridge. If the thickened consistency is what bothers you, here’s what you can do.
Every time you need tahini, scoop out the needed amount, and blend it with a small amount of water and oil. And there you have tahini of the perfect consistency.
Whether you store tahini in the pantry or in the fridge, keep it in a tightly sealed container, preferably a glass jar. The latter does a better job of maintaining the freshness of products than plastic containers do.
How Long Does Tahini Last?
Tahini has a moderately long shelf life, especially if you store it right. Store-bought tahini pastes usually contain preservatives and stabilizers. These, indeed, make tahini last much longer.
Unopened tahini stored in the pantry has a shelf life of 6 months after its ‘Best by’ date. There is no need to refrigerate an unopened jar of tahini.
Once opened, the shelf life of tahini stored at room temperature is reduced to 4 to 8 weeks. Store it in the fridge to keep tahini good for around 6 months.
Always check your tahini for a “Best by’ date. Additionally, see if the manufacturer has any recommendations for storage. If the label tells you to store the paste in the fridge. Don’t risk it. Put it in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Tahini?
Freezing tahini is a good idea as it will keep your product fresh almost indefinitely.
We recommend freezing tahini in smaller portions as often you need only a small amount of it to use in a recipe. If you freeze an entire jar of tahini in a big portion not only it will take you many hours to thaw it but you will also need to use it up within a week.
Freeze tahini in ice cube trays for smaller portions or use small freezer bags for convenient storage. Airtight containers are also an option. However, they take up more space and are usually on the bigger side.
When defrosting tahini, keep in mind that it might have undergone texture changes. Give it a good stir to restore the original texture.
While frozen tahini will keep indefinitely in stable freezer temperatures, it is best to eat it sooner rather than later for the best flavor.
How Can You Tell If Tahini Is Bad?
Before we get into the signs of bad tahini, here is what you should know.
As tahini sits in the pantry or fridge, oil separation takes place. Like in the case of nut pastes, you may notice a layer of oil sitting on top of the paste itself. Why does this happen?
Tahini comes as a creamy and uniform paste. Does separated tahini mean that it is bad? No, it certainly doesn’t. This happens to pastes that have oil content, and tahini is not an exception.
All you need to do is to give your tahini paste a good stir. If you need it quick, use a blender and the job will be done in a minute or two.
Signs That Tahini Has Gone Bad
Tahini doesn’t mold as many other products do. The reason is that tahini contains a lot of oil from the seeds it is made of. This environment is not suitable for bacterial growth.
In rare cases, such as when you have had the tahini paste in your pantry for too long, you may find something in your paste that won’t seem right to you. In such cases you should discard the tahini, and make a new batch or open a new jar.
The oil content in tahini makes rancidity a common problem for it. Tahini may go rancid for the following reasons: oxygen, daylight, heat. If you have exposed your paste to any of these factors, then don’t be surprised to find it rancid in no time.
While eating rancid tahini won’t cause serious health issues, it is certainly not recommended. Rancid tahini tastes very ‘off’ and will ruin the taste of any dish you will use it in.
To not let an entire batch of sauce made with tahini go to waste, take up the habit of trying a small amount of the paste before mixing it with other ingredients or serving.
Spoiled tahini also smells and tastes different. Tahini has an earthy and somewhat bitter taste. If it tastes funky and overly bitter, then it has certainly gone bad. Stale smell is also an indicator of the fact that you should discard your tahini paste.
If you are not sure whether tahini is good or not by just looking at it or smelling it, taste it. If it doesn’t taste good to you, then has most likely gone bad.
How Long Does Homemade Tahini Last?
Many people prefer homemade tahini over store-bought sesame seeds paste. This is natural as to make tahini you only sesame seeds, a good blender or food processor, and around 25 minutes of time.
But how long does homemade tahini last? The shelf life may vary depending on the recipe. We do recommend following the storage instructions and shelf life estimations in the particular recipe you are using.
In general, homemade tahini may last around a month or two in a cool pantry or kitchen cabinet. However, we suggest storing homemade tahini in the fridge where it will keep for up to 6 months. As homemade tahini doesn’t contain preservatives and additives like most of the store-bought tahini pastes do, it is susceptible to temperature changes.
Thus, it is best to be safe and store it in the fridge rather than find out that your tahini paste has gone bad at the very moment when you are about to use it to make hummus.