What is the average shelf life of poppy seeds? How long do poppy seeds last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store poppy seeds to increase their shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:
Shelf Life of Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds come in two forms: white poppy seeds and foreign poppy seeds. Both are very tasty, but the foreign variety is readily available in the US, and this type is tastier than white poppy seeds. Poppy seeds are usually used for baking and cooking. They need proper care, as their oil content is high, which makes them become rancid quickly. Always check the expiration date of poppy seeds before purchasing them. Also before buying, ensure the seeds’ shelf life is more than two weeks; otherwise, do not buy them. Plain poppy seeds can last for more than two years, but the roasted and bleached variety last for only five months. To extend the shelf life of poppy seeds, do not keep them with other spices. Protect the poppy seeds from moisture, as it can cause fungus and bacteria to grow on the poppy seeds. You can store them safely in a brown bag or airtight container.
Purchasing Poppy Seeds
When purchasing them, make sure to buy unwashed poppy seeds. It is better to go for dark poppy seeds and tiny ones rather than the poppy seeds that are light in color. The color of the poppy seeds should be black or dark blue. Always smell poppy seeds before buying them; they should have an outdoor and earth-rich smell, and the smell should be free of chemicals. Do not buy poppy seeds that have a scent similar to an air freshener. You can also check the poppy seeds at home by putting them in water for 20 minutes. The seeds are edible if the water turns cloudy.
Storing Poppy Seeds
After buying poppy seeds, move them into airtight containers to preserve them for an extended period of time. Keep the sealed jars in a cold, dark, and dry place. You can keep the airtight container in a fridge, which will help the poppy seeds last for six months. You can also freeze the sealed container to preserve the poppy seeds for a year. It is ideal that your freezer has fan ventilation that will keep the seeds fresh and tasty.
How to Handle Poppy Seeds
Before using poppy seeds, clean them, and remove any stones. Soak them in warm milk or water for at least 2 hours. By soaking them, the outer layer of the seeds becomes soft, and they can then easily be used in a variety of dishes. After soaking, drain and let them dry. The seeds can be used whole or they can be ground to be used with other species. They are delicious and make food especially tasty.
Cooking Poppy Seeds
Roasted poppy seeds are mostly used to decorate rolls and bread. Poppy seed powder is used in fillings and sauces. You can also add poppy seed powder to salads and vegetables for dressing. They can be added to cakes, pancakes, and curries, as well, to achieve a nutty taste. They are mostly used in Turkish, Bengali, and Indian cuisines.