As preppers, we’re continuously striving to seek out essentially the most dietary and shelf-stable meals for long-term storage, and lentils are on the prime of the record.

Nonetheless, as with all non-perishable items, questions all the time come up as to how lengthy lentils truly final, in addition to one of the best ways to retailer them.  

Relaxation assured, with the correct tools and proper information, lentils can last as long as 30+ years

Why You Ought to Embrace Lentils in Your Longterm Storage

Not solely do lentils have a naturally very good shelf life, however they’re additionally extremely nutritious and an awesome supply of many important nutritional vitamins and vitamins together with:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Important amino acids 

Moreover, they’re excessive in protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. All of that are completely obligatory to keep up performance. Plus, they’re gluten-free

In addition they prepare dinner rapidly and simply and are an awesome supply for flour. 

Do Lentils Go Dangerous?

Despite the fact that lentils are “non-perishable,” like any meals merchandise, oxygen, time, moisture, and organisms all threaten their lifespan. Similar to different dried items, legumes are in danger for pests, mould, and oxidization

Particularly, oxygen feeds microbes, which ultimately results in degradation. This will trigger the oils in your lentils to turn into rancid.

Lentils have a comparatively lengthy shelf life on their very own, however if you happen to see any indicators of pests, mould, or foul odors, suppose twice earlier than consuming. In any other case, be at liberty to eat them lengthy after their “use by” date.

Nutritionally talking, nonetheless, oxidization causes your meals to lose its vitamin and mineral content material inside two to 3 years. For this reason correct storage is paramount.  

Most agree that by 12 months 5 all vitamin content material is totally diminished. Though, it ought to be famous that their carbohydrate and protein content material stays intact. With correct long-term storage strategies, nonetheless, you possibly can lengthen the dietary worth of your lentils as much as 30+ years.

What’s The Precise Shelf Lifetime of Lentils?

Dried lentils final two to 3 years in your pantry shelf with none help in any respect. The “greatest if utilized by” date scares many people, however it merely means their dietary content material is waning

Their shade, texture, and taste might change, they usually might take slightly longer to prepare dinner. However, they’re nonetheless suitable for eating and nonetheless present sufficient protein and carbohydrates no matter their age.

Be warned although! Due to their phytic acid content material, undercooked lentils are arduous for the physique to digest and might trigger gastric misery. So, you’ll want to prepare dinner them till they’re delicate and tender. 

Greatest Methods to Retailer Lentils Lengthy-Time period

It’s pretty simple to increase the shelf lifetime of lentils and for essentially the most half, relatively cheap. Listed here are a number of the hottest storage choices amongst preppers and homesteaders. 

 First, it ought to go with out saying label the whole lot!

1.  Hermetic Containers

Photograph by: JL Wells

When you’re trying to shelve your lentils for longer than just a few years, select hermetic containers. Relying in your desired portion sizes, use canning jars or BPA-free buckets. 

For smaller portions, fill jars just under the rim and add round 125-150 cc of oxygen absorbers per quart.

For bigger stashes, use 5-gallon BPA-free buckets, which basically stop chemical substances from leeching into your meals. Moreover, gamma seal lids are simplest in conserving oxygen out. 

As along with your jars, fill your bucket with lentils and add round 3000 cc of oxygen absorbers. Simply bear in mind, if you happen to open your bucket at any level, don’t neglect so as to add further oxygen absorbers.

The draw back to jars and 5-gallon buckets is that they’re huge, cumbersome, and heavy. A 5-gallon bucket holds round 36 kilos of lentils. So, ought to you need to go away your location on foot, likelihood is you’ll be leaving your legumes behind. 

2.  Mylar Baggage

oxygen absorber
Photograph by: JL Wells

Then again, mylar baggage are an hermetic choice that provide a number of further advantages:

  • Light-weight and transportable
  • Sturdy 
  • Cheap compared
  • Present each oxygen and light-weight boundaries
  • Have quite a lot of sizes

I like Wallaby’s mylar baggage as a result of they’re prime quality and made particularly for preppers. 

When utilizing mylar baggage, seal your oxygen absorbers contained in the bag as rapidly as doable. As a result of they soak up room air, they’ll solely final 15-Half-hour in any other case.

Probably the most environment friendly solution to distribute your lentils into mylar baggage is to:

  1. Fill all your baggage without delay leaving sufficient head house and seal them midway.
  2. Drop an oxygen absorber into one bag at a time squeezing out any extra air. 
  3. Seal shut along with your chosen sealer. 

Moreover, many preppers advocate utilizing mylar baggage together with 5-gallon buckets, mason jars, or #10 cans for added safety measures. 

Wallaby Food Grade Buckets

Mylar baggage are additionally helpful for bugging out. You get the oxygen-free zone in a light-weight, tear-resistant, transportable bundle. It’s a handy solution to carry a enough quantity of meals on foot. 

When you’re new to mylar baggage, learn our full information for extra in-depth info. 

3.  #10 Can

Utilizing #10 cans (10-pound cans) for meals storage requires a little bit of an funding as a result of a can sealer is important. In immediately’s market, a top quality sealer hovers between just a few hundred {dollars} and some thousand. However if you happen to can afford one, they’re effectively well worth the expense. 

To make use of an open-top can sealer: 

  1. Fill the can simply shy of full. 
  2. Place round 500 cc of oxygen absorbers.
  3. Place your lid on prime of the can and mount it to your can sealer. 
  4. Comply with the instructions in your can sealer to safe your lentils.

One advantage of utilizing a can sealer is that it’s the right answer for a grid-down state of affairs as a result of it doesn’t require energy. Whereas electrical fashions do exist, many homesteaders and preppers are content material with the hand mannequin. 

However very like your 5-gallon buckets, weight turns into cumbersome below sure situations. Then again, cans supply many benefits that different air-tight containers don’t. They’re:

  • Extra sturdy than glass, mylar, or BPA plastic
  • Proof against mild, moisture, and oxygen
  • Extra vulnerable to surviving floods, fires, hurricanes, and different pure disasters. 

4.  Rice and Bay Leaves

Many people who grew up within the days earlier than on-line purchasing and mylar baggage realized the worth of rice and bay leaves in meals preservation, and this information shouldn’t be forgotten. You by no means know whenever you’ll be going through a long-term grid-down state of affairs, product shortages, or provide chain disruptions. 

So when all the trendy know-how fails, having some historic knowledge would possibly simply save the day. 

Bay leaves received’t assist with moisture or oxidization, however they’ll preserve pests at bay. Likewise, rice received’t assist preserve the bugs out, however it should assist stave off moisture. 

Even with modern-day preservation strategies, many homesteaders nonetheless toss just a few bay leaves of their storage gadgets. It received’t essentially get you thirty years, however in a pinch, it’ll do.

If you end up in a state of affairs the place all you might have is essentially the most primitive provides, or if you happen to simply don’t have further funds, rice and bay leaves will add slightly longevity to your meals storage

5. Freezing

Are you able to freeze your lentils? Sure

Do you have to? No.

In case you have the house, long-term freezing is all the time an choice. Nonetheless, most homesteaders and preppers agree they’d relatively use their freezer house for issues requiring strict temperature management

Moreover, when contemplating long-term meals storage, it’s greatest paired with worst-case situations. A lot of which contain long-term energy outages. For that reason, I wouldn’t advocate long-term freezer storage for something. 

Contemplating all these strategies, most ag extensions advocate mylar baggage or #10 cans. Air-tight containers retain dietary worth for much longer. 

Nonetheless, a completely rounded meals storage just isn’t a foul thought. Using a number of preservation strategies ensures you might have all of your bases coated. 

Simply you’ll want to clearly label the whole lot and rotate your inventory faithfully in a typical first-in, first-out trend

Why Not Vacuum Sealing?

airtight bags
Photograph by: JL Wells

The principle causes vacuum sealing shouldn’t be used for long-term preservation are: 

  1. Mylar baggage block each mild and oxygen significantly better. Each of which contribute to meals degradation and lack of vitamins. 
  2. Whereas vacuum sealing removes oxygen round your meals, it doesn’t take away the oxygen inside your meals. This implies microbes and infestations are nonetheless believable.
  3. As famous within the image above, it’s not unusual for vacuum-sealed baggage to tackle air in a comparatively brief interval.
  4. Mylar baggage are tougher for pests to chew by. 

Learn: Vacuum sealing vs mylar baggage

That stated, you need to use vacuum sealing to protect the innate shelf lifetime of lentils. When you do, you’ll want to freeze them for not less than 72 hours to destroy any bugs which may be lingering. Vacuum sealing just isn’t 100% oxygen free

Afterward, go away them out till they attain room temperature earlier than continuing with vacuum sealing. In any other case, an excessive amount of moisture is current.

When you dwell in a damp space, desiccants are non-obligatory. There’s no want to make use of an oxygen absorber with vacuum sealing as a result of meals storage baggage are semipermeable. 

To reiterate, vacuum sealing shouldn’t be thought-about for long-term storage and may solely be used if you happen to plan on utilizing your lentils inside 12-18 months.

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