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Shelf life for uncooked lentils

by Millie Lev
(Toronto, Ontario Canada)

Millie's question:

How long can I keep raw lentils in my pantry?

Suzy's Answer:

Thanks for a great question, Millie! One of the advantages of dried legumes, including beans, split peas and lentils, is that they have a long shelf life. In fact, if they are stored properly in a sealed package or airtight container, they will last on your pantry shelf indefinitely.

Caveat: Keep in mind that this long shelf life does not apply to cooked lentils or lentils that have been exposed to dampness or insect damage due to improper storage.

Cooked lentils may be refrigerated in a sealed container for 5 days or frozen for up to 6 months. However, frozen legumes tend to become fragile and may fall apart when you thaw them to use them later. This does not affect their flavor or nutritional value, just their presentation.

Legumes, including lentils are an inexpensive way to add variety and nutritional value to your meals. They are loaded with nutrients in the form of protein, vitamins and minerals, while at the same time being low in fat and high in fiber. They are versatile and can be used in soups, stews, pilafs, salads, dips, etc.

Thank you for visiting our healthy eating website!

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Tips for eating legumes

If you're not used to eating foods from the legume family, introduce them slowly. It's normal for everyone to produce a certain amount of gas during digestion, but it should not be painful, putrid or pervasive.

When using canned beans, always discard the juice and rinse the beans before adding them to your recipe.

If you are using dry beans, throw out the soaking water (or use the water for your plants or garden), rinse before cooking and cook thoroughly.

Eat slowly, chew your food well, and do not overeat.

If legumes are a real problem for you, try taking one of those enzyme products, like “Beano,” right before you eat. This may help lessen gas problems by aiding digestion.

Add some fennel to your beans (or chew some fennel seeds later, should you feel any adverse effects from eating legumes or any other foods).

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