Lentils are a great protein, potassium, iron, and fiber source. They are low in saturated fat and are rich in polyphenols, which create antioxidants in the body. They can be used in a variety of recipes or merely served as a side dish. Read on to learn how long lentils last in the fridge. You may also find them in your pantry, and remember to store them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
How Long Do Lentils Last in the Fridge?
If stored properly, cooked lentils last up to one week and at least three to five days in the refrigerator. The estimated shelf life of lentils under various storage settings is displayed in the table below.
- Drying out: 1 year after the product is first opened
- Cooked and kept cold for 3-5 days on average, but no more than a week.
- 6+ months cooked and frozen
If you follow the storage recommendations, an unopened can of lentils has an endless shelf life. Lentils in can don’t usually need to be refrigerated.
As long as the can is sealed, it can remain in a dry, calm, and dark environment with a constant temperature. The lentils must be refrigerated after opening the can, just like cooked lentils. The lentils will be kept for a maximum of one week.
Do Dried Lentils Go Bad?
The quality and nutritional content of aged lentils frequently deteriorate. However, unless you make them go bad, dry lentils rarely do.
Insect infestation: It is best to throw away any lentils with insects, whether one or two, dead or alive.
Unpleasant Odor: The lentils’ amusing odor is caused by mold growth, and the lentils’ rancidity also gives them a foul odor. The lentils should ideally be thrown away in either scenario.
Mold: Since mold clearly indicates that food has spoiled, moldy lentils should be discarded immediately. The presence of mold suggests that lentils were exposed to dampness.
How Should Dry Lentils be Kept?
Dry lentils can be stored in good condition after printing the expiration date. However, the nutritional profile of ancient lentils will be subpar.
The manufacturer’s prediction of how long the lentils will be at their best is represented by the “best by” date on the label. These deadlines are pretty rigorous to shield the business from any legal actions in the event of food safety problems.
Dried lentils should be kept in a cool, dry, and dark area away from heat sources and pests for the most extended shelf life. A pantry or kitchen cabinet makes terrific storage options.
Consider transferring the lentils to an airtight container or a freezer bag after purchase if the original packaging is not sealable.
How Should Cooked Lentils be Frozen?
This freezing technique is instrumental if the lentils will be eaten whole after thawing. The steps are as follows:
- Onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper spread the cooked, drained, and cooled lentils in a single layer.
- In the freezer, slide the tray. Lentils should be pre-frozen for a few hours. If the lentils will be pureed after thawing, there is no need for pre-freezing.
- Fill a freezer bag with the tray’s contents and seal it tightly. Before placing the bag in the freezer, take out as much air as you can and label it.
How to Choose and Prepare Lentil?
The least expensive, if adequately prepared, they maintain their texture. They can replace black beans in a vegan burger or as a side dish and are also effective in soups.
These lentils, also known as French ones, cook up hard and have a nuttier flavor. The ideal lentil for salads is green. Beluga lentils are also available, which are newer to the market and have a texture similar to French lentils but a black hue.
These cook the quickest, losing their form and turning golden when done. Compared to green lentils, they are softer and sweeter. Could you utilize them for Indian dals and purees?
Lentils are simple to prepare. Before rinsing to remove dirt, comb through the lentils to eliminate any small, rigid material. Lentils don’t require presoaking to cook as other legumes do.
Put lentils in a pot, add about 1/2 inch of water, and heat until boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer—Cook red lentils for 20 minutes, brown lentils for 30, and green lentils for 40 minutes. Regularly check them, and add water if necessary. Avoid overcooking. Add garlic, cumin, thyme, or other ingredients to flavor them. Serve cooked lentils over rice or add them to soups, stews, and salads.
What are the Health Advantages of Eating Lentils?
Lentils rank second in terms of protein content compared to other legumes (soybeans take top honors). They can provide the same protein level as meat with a whole grain, such as brown rice. However, choosing lentils over red or processed meat is better for your heart health.
The building blocks of bones, muscles, and skin are proteins. It can also help you lose weight because it makes you feel full for longer than other foods.
Fiber also satiates you. There are plenty of lentils, and a single serving provides 32% of the daily recommended fiber intake. In addition to preventing diabetes and colon cancer, it can decrease cholesterol. A daily fiber intake helps your digestive system move waste out while preventing constipation.
Lentils’ potassium, folate, and iron have a wealth of advantages. Potassium decreases blood pressure and counteracts the adverse effects of salt. Folate helps your body make red blood cells and safeguards your heart. The growth of your unborn child depends on getting enough folate if you’re pregnant. Iron protects against weariness.
Why Eating Lentils Bad for You?
Low in fat and substantial in protein and fiber, lentils are a healthy meal option. However, the following factors may make these legumes hazardous for some people:
All beans, including lentils, contain lectins that can produce unpleasant reactions when consumed raw, making lentils and other legumes unsafe.
Plants manufacture lectins, a specific protein, to defend themselves against predators. These proteins stick to the digestive system and cause several unpleasant side effects.
Twenty percent of all food poisoning cases globally are traced to raw legumes, and eating uncooked lentils can result in vomiting or diarrhea.
Some lectins are horrible and unquestionably cause issues (for example, wheat germ agglutinin, which is mainly present in wheat).
Lectins may not result in any immediate troubles. Still, they frequently result in various long-term problems, including the inability to properly absorb vitamins and minerals, food allergies, arthritis, and other disorders.
Lectins are likely to be much more of a problem for you if you already suffer from autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s or Hashimoto’s or gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome.
Raw or undercooked Lentils are extremely dangerous and, in some cases, fatal. It’s a good thing that lectins are heat-sensitive since when they are cooked, they degrade, giving you a completely safe and delectable diet. To make them safe to consume, thoroughly cook them or sprout them.
What are the Different Types of Lentils?
Due to their resemblance to lenses, lentils are a type of legume (together with beans and chickpeas) and were given that name by Latin.
Lentils come in a wide range of variants, with five primary categories (though there are hundreds within each), including:
Yellow and Red Lentils (Split Lentils)
Red and yellow lentils are used frequently in soups and stews, especially when you want a soft texture. They are the mildest, sweetest, and most “tender” of the different lentil species. These are frequently used in pureed soups and sauces since, in contrast to other types, they don’t keep their shape (or texture) effectively when cooked because the seed coat has been removed (particularly within Indian -like dal- and Middle Eastern cuisine).
Legumes in green (French Lentils)
Green lentils have a nutty, peppery flavor and hold up well after cooking in contrast to red or yellow lentils. It’s crucial to keep in mind that they take the longest to prepare. However, green lentils are a healthy addition to salads and a tasty side dish because of their texture.
The “original green lentil” from the French region of Le Puy is included in this category, as well as Puy lentils (French lentils). Unfortunately, these lentils are somewhat pricey.
Brown lentils, one of the most popular (and cost-effective) kinds, are simple to use, have a moderate yet earthy flavor, and retain their texture after cooking. These can be used in salads, as a base for burgers and patties, soups and stews, and other dishes, similar to the all-purpose lentil.
Black Lentils (Beluga Lentils)
Black lentils are known as “beluga caviar” because of their appearance, which resembles caviar, and savory, earthy flavor (similar to black beans). Fortunately, this pulse is entirely vegan! Because of their robust flavor, these lentils go well with meaty vegetables and marinated meats like mushrooms, tofu, and seitan.
What are Different Methods of Cooking Lentils?
Utilizing a Pressure Cooker
Your pressure cooker should be filled with lentils, water, or broth. Close the vent, and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes (up to 10 for more tender results).
After that, let the pressure go. Remove the cover and check the food’s doneness after it has been fully released. If they aren’t done, just put the lid back on and let them steam for a little to finish cooking.
Red/Yellow lentils can be cooked in a pressure cooker for just a few minutes, but they will turn to mush; thus, only soup or dal should be made with them.
To a saucepan, add the lentils and the water or broth (with a lid). Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
Once it has boiled, cover the pot with the lid, lower the heat, and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. After 30 minutes, assess and adjust as necessary.
To your slow cooker, add the lentils and water or broth. Cook until tender on low for 6 to 8 hours with the cover on. At the 6-hour point, check on the lentils; if they’re still rough, cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes at a time until they’re soft.
Combine the lentils with the water or broth in a Dutch oven or another oven-safe dish with a lid.
Bake the covered pot for 30 minutes, or until it is soft, in a 325F/160C preheated oven on the center shelf. I advise checking at the 30-minute point and extending it by five minutes at a time until tender.
How are Lentils Used?
- Combine with other grains to make Rainbow-vegetable lentil fried rice or as a side dish or grain bowl.
- Add to casseroles and stews, such as this hearty red lentil and vegetable stew or this rustic root vegetable and lentil stew.
- Add to soups, such as Butternut squash and potato lentil soup with turmeric.
- Utilize in curries and other curried foods (like dal)
- Use as a protein substitute for dishes such as lentil tacos, chili, and nachos.
- Sprinkle over salads (warm or cold), such as this tahini-dressed lentil chickpea salad from the Mediterranean.
- Add herbs and spices to make it into a side dish.
- Use as stuffing for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
Cooked lentils can be kept at room temperature for three to five days and up to a week if properly preserved. Unopened lentil cans have an indefinite shelf life if you store them according to the instructions. Generally speaking, canned lentils don’t require refrigeration.
They can stay in a temperature-controlled, dry, cold, and dark environment as long as the can is sealed. Like cooked lentils, the lentils need to be refrigerated after being opened from the can, and the lentils will be stored for no more than a week.