Tortillas are unleavened, thin, round Mexican bread usually made in corn flour and baked on a flat iron or earthenware plate. People use them to wrap ingredients in tacos, burritos, and various sandwich-style meals.
Nowadays, you’ll probably buy this delicious food commercially packaged, so the important questions are – do the tortillas go bad, and how long do the tortillas last? Let’s see.
Are tortillas bad?
Unfortunately, you can expect tortillas to go bad over time just like any other flour product. While homemade products may not last more than 2 to 3 days when stored in your pantry or just a few extra days in the refrigerator, commercially made tortillas can last much longer.
Since the product always has an expiration date or best-before date printed on the label, you can use that as a guide.
However, the longevity of tortillas will depend primarily on the humidity level in the region you live in, the type of flour used to make them, and the way they are stored. The rule of thumb is to store the food in its original packaging whenever possible.
Otherwise, you should store them in an airtight bag and keep them away from temperature fluctuations and the resulting condensation.
Always keep in mind that tortillas are not a very expensive food, so there is no reason to stock up in large quantities. A better option is to regularly buy fresh tortillas, so there is no risk of spoilage.
How long do tortillas last?
In general, you can expect tortillas to last about 5 to 7 days after the best-by date printed on the package when stored in the pantry. However, their shelf life will also depend on the ingredients they are made from and the processing and storage methods.
You will get the best results when this product is stored properly in an original, unopened package. Once you open the packaging and the tortillas are exposed to air, they will harden and lose their normal flavor. Under such circumstances, they will only be able to eat for a few days.
Remember that the expiration date on tortillas is the last moment a manufacturer can guarantee their quality. This is not a safety measure for tortillas. In other words, you can extend the shelf life of this product and use it a little more when storing it properly at a lower temperature.
5 Tips to Tell If Tortillas Are Spoiled
You can find the expiry date printed on the packaging, and you should follow it as there is no rule that applies to all brands. You should know that companies do not use the same preservatives, so their products will be edible for different periods.
Your senses aren’t always perfect, but they can be reliable tools for determining if tortillas are still edible. The problem with these foods is that they look great at first glance, but they are actually rotten.
So, you should be careful, especially with homemade tortillas. Let’s take a look at the topic.
As soon as you notice an unusual smell when opening the packaging with the tortillas, you should know that the product is no longer edible. In most cases, such products are affected by mold.
Any unusual spots on the surface of the tortillas are a sure sign that you have a loose product. If you have green spinach tortillas, you’ll know something is wrong when they turn yellow or brown.
Soft and flexible tortillas will become hard, dry and stale over time. In fact, the first signs of degradation will begin after opening the packaging, although you may not see it.
Thanks to some recipes, you can use them even if they’re not fresh and perfect but be prepared that changing the texture will spoil the taste.
Although tortillas look and smell suspicious, you can take another step in trying to save your food. Cut off a small piece and taste it before making a final decision. If you’re still not sure, you can reheat them and then taste again.
If you store them in a high humidity area, you should expect your tortillas to become thin and moldy. Once you see visible blue-green or even dark spots on the surface of the tortilla, it’s time to get rid of them.
Sometimes, you can see the entire color of the tortilla turn white and black, meaning the entire packaging is affected.
3 Tips for Storing Tortillas
A rule of thumb is that you should store tortillas the same way they are stored in the store.
A cool, dry pantry is a great place to store tortillas for a while. This product will last at least a week if you protect it from significant changes in humidity and temperature.
You can refrigerate the tortillas if you plan to keep them for a few weeks. Avoid storing in the original packaging after opening to prevent the harmful effects of high humidity. Store them in an airtight container before storing them this way.
- Packaged Tortillas – Depending on the type you use, you can store an unopened product in the refrigerator for one to two months.
- Opened Tortillas – It is best to avoid having tortillas in open packaging. Keep them in an airtight container and store properly.
- Homemade Tortillas – Unfortunately, homemade tortillas aren’t easy to store because they usually don’t contain any preservatives or chemicals. You can keep them in the fridge for about a week, but always keep them separate with a cloth cover between two layers.
Place them in a zip lock bag or airtight container and seal tightly to prevent air from entering. Just in case don’t forget to check them daily.
Freezing is a great way to keep tortillas fresh for months, including those you’ve bought frozen. Wrap each one in wax paper and then put them all in a resealable bag.
It’s best to pack only a few tortillas in a bag because repeated opening can allow heat to penetrate quickly. In such a case, they may melt, and their quality will decrease over time.
Danger of using expired tortillas
To clarify, you cannot get sick after eating expire tortillas. The only problem is using a hard and tasteless product that you won’t like. Basically, the date on the packaging will tell you how long the tortillas will be delicious and soft.
You can add a few more days when storing the packaging properly, but nothing will happen after that period. The only problem will be the mold that can appear on the surface of the product, but even then the tortillas will often be edible.
It will be enough to remove the fungus with a knife and use the tortillas as usual. However, don’t expect to enjoy their flavor under these conditions. It is better to throw out the expired food and buy fresh instead.
Can you freeze tortillas?
It is not uncommon for tortilla lovers to store this food in the freezer and keep it for at least 6 to 8 months longer than expected. This solution is perfect when you want to have the product whenever you need it. When stored at a low temperature, tortillas will stay fresh, soft and delicious after thawing.
Remember that the important thing is to protect the tortillas from cold air. Therefore, you should find a way to wrap them well and place them in a resealable freezer bag or airtight container before putting the packaging in the freezer.
Always place a divider between two tortillas before freezing them. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble separating them after thawing. When you usually need a certain number of tortillas, you should freeze them in a few bags. That way, you’ll only take the necessary amount at once without defrosting the whole bunch.
Unfortunately, freezing will cause a slight change in texture, especially if you freeze the product in its original packaging. Once you want to thaw the tortillas, you should remove them from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for an hour.
Another option is to heat in the microwave with the timer set to defrost. Be careful with the temperature selected as prolonged heating will result in a wet product that will explode when used.
Tortillas can go bad like any other flour food, but you can extend their shelf life by months when you store them properly. However, not every tortilla type will be the same, and much depends on the flour and added preservatives used to make them.
On the plus side, this product rarely causes negative side effects, and you can also find recipes that include dry and hard tortillas. This is a beautiful indestructible product!
How long are tortillas good for after expiration date?