Quinoa for Long term Food Storage

Asked February 10, 2013, 6:21 PM EST

How long can I expect Quinoa seeds to last in my long term food storage? I have it in #10 cans with oxygen absorbers in a dry place in my basement. I have heard it should be treated like a soft grain and that it should be good for at least 8 years, but I haven't been able to confirm that. Any thoughts?

Clackamas County Oregon

1 Response

It sounds like you are doing as good a job as possible on storing your quinoa for the long haul. The less exposure to heat, light and air, the slower it will deteriorate. The vitamin E content is supposed to help preserve it, as is the protective coat of the unwashed quinoa.

Keep in mind that if you are storing it for planting as seed, germination rates and germination times go down over time, no matter how well you store seeds. The best way to keep germination high is to plant what you have stored every few years, harvest it and restart your storage.

For keeping quinoa as food, I have seen one manufacturer claim their product stores for 20 years. I don't know if they have been in business long enough to verify that claim, but your 8 year mark would be reasonable in that light. Again, the chemical composition of quinoa is supposed to help it store well, as people claim it does not get an off taste over time because of the nature of the oils in it. As with storing it for seed, you may wish to rotate your storage after a few years just so you don't get an unwelcome surprise.