Tortillas: How Long are They Good?
Despite their Mexican heritage, tortillas are a staple in homes around the world. Both corn and flour tortillas are used in a variety of dishes and commonly found on weeknight dinner rotations everywhere. A common question is, how long tortillas are good for? Lets take a look everything you need to know about tortillas, including, how to store them and how long they stay fresh.
What are Tortillas?
A tortillas, is essentially, a soft flat bread. Tortillas can be found in both corn and flour varieties, both of which have a distinctly different flavor and texture. Tortillas are commonly used in many dishes, such as: tacos, quesadillas, burritos, and many other ethnic dishes. Corn tortillas are also commonly fried to make taco shells, tortilla chips, and other crisp varieties of vessels. Tortillas can be found in many different sizes, ranging from 6 inches up to large 12 inch burritos sized.
Tortillas are made from masa or flour depending on the variety. A thick paste like dough is rolled into small balls that are then flattened in a cast iron or heavy metal device. The result is a thin flat piece of dough. The round of dough is then lightly cooked and then in most cases, it is lightly cooked or heated once again before serving.
Tortillas are often made in bulk and sold in large quantities. You can purchase tortillas at most any grocery store or market. If you are looking for fresh tortillas but don’t have the time to whip up a fresh batch yourself, you can check with local Latin bakeries. If you are lucky enough to live close by a tortilla company or distributer, you can also often contact them for direct purchase of freshly made tortillas that haven’t seen a store shelf.
How to Store Tortillas
Whether you are lucky enough to have fresh tortillas or you settled for a pack of store bought, it is always important to properly store them. Store bought tortillas should be stored in their original plastic packaging in the refrigerator at a temperature between 30 and 40 degrees. Once tortillas have been opened or if you are looking to store homemade tortillas, an air tight container is recommended.
If you have purchased your tortillas in bulk or have made a large batch, store them in smaller stacks. The more tortillas you have in a stack, the more weight that will be pushing them together, thus, causing them to stick. If you have homemade tortillas that you are concerned are to delicate, you can also place a square of plastic wrap between the layers to avoid them sticking to one another.
Tortillas do not have to be refrigerated and can easily be stored at room temperature with breads and other perishable items. The environments should be cool and dry; preferably without frequent temperature changes. Like most other perishable items, an environmental temperature of above 85 degrees will speed up the process of spoiling and decrease the lifespan.
Tortillas can also be frozen for an increased life span. Simply place them in an airtight freezer safe container before placing them in the freezer. For an added layer of protection, you may also choose to wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap before placing them in the air tight container.
How Long Tortillas are Good For
Not unlike most other items you purchase pre-made, store bought tortillas will have a best buy date printed somewhere on the package. However, when properly stored, they should last beyond the listed sell date. Tortillas are perishable over time, but have a longer lifespan than most other bread like products.
How long tortillas last will depend on many different factors. Homemade tortillas, without preservatives, won’t have as long of a life span as those you purchase in stores. There is also a matter of ingredient variations. Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, and spinach tortillas all have different base ingredients, resulting in different flavors and life span.
- Flour tortillas that have been stored in the pantry or bread box, should have a life span of 1 week past the best buy date on the package. The lifespan is increased to 3-4 weeks past the date when stored in the refrigerator. Frozen store bought flour tortillas can last for as long as 6-8 months past the sell by date when stored in the freezer.
- Corn tortillas have a slightly longer life span. They can last for around 8-10 past the best buy date when stored at room temperature. The refrigerated life span for corn tortillas is 8-10 weeks past the date, while, freezing them will prolong their life span for the same 6-8 months past the date
- Homemade tortillas have a much shorter life span in comparison to their store-bought counterparts. When stored at room temperature, homemade tortillas will last for only 2-3 days. Storing them in the refrigerator will increase their life span to 6-7 days. However, freezing homemade tortillas will give you the same 6-8-month life span as the store-bought tortillas.
Despite the sell buy date on the product, you should always carefully check your tortillas and use your own judgement. If you see moisture inside of the container, there is a good chance you may find mold beginning to grow as well. Keeping tortillas stored in an air tight container is a must. Any small amount of moisture can promote the early growth of mold.
As with all other foods, if there isn’t a visual cue that your tortillas have gone bad, smell them. Tortillas will also begin to get stiff and hard to bend as they are going bad. Good fresh tortillas should be very pliable and easily bend without major breakage or cracking.
No matter how you choose to store them or where you decide to purchase them, tortillas can make a great addition to almost any meal. With the proper amount of storage, a large pack of tortillas could be accompanying your meals for months to come. Do you have a great tip on how to store tortillas or a secret to their freshness? Share your opinion in the comment section below!