Cornmeal is a useful food product made up of flour that’s ground up with dried corn (maize). Its’ texture can be very fine but can also fall in the middle of the spectrum with some cornmeal being very coarse in its’ overall consistency. Compared to wheat flour, corn flour is not as fine and suave overall in its’ texture and consistency. Cornmeal that is made up of maize (corn) can be used for food purposes such as creating tortillas or tamales. Cornmeal that is very finely grounded into thin material is also known as corn flour. In addition, cornmeal can also be boiled and used as polenta, a side dish in different kinds of meals. There are four well-known types of cornmeal: Blue cornmeal, Steel-ground cornmeal, Stone-ground cornmeal, and White cornmeal. Cornmeal is extremely popular around the world and is used for cooking and food purposes in all six populated continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America and Australia. Cornmeal is widely available in all stores and supermarkets due to its’ wide variety of uses and purposes for different kinds of foods. If you’re at the local supermarket and you see a big sale on packages of cornmeal, what should you do? Would it be worth the savings in both time and money to buy a few extra packages of cornmeal? Could it be possible to store your cornmeal properly for the long-term? The ultimate question remains for consumers; does cornmeal go bad?
Does Cornmeal Go Bad Or Expire?
Unfortunately, like most other food products, cornmeal can go bad eventually. It’s inevitable that the quality, texture, and flavor will not be the same on a long enough timeline. Usually cornmeal doesn’t have an expiration date and has a “best before” date instead.
If you choose to continue reading this article, you’ll learn more about how to properly store the cornmeal, what the shelf life would be for the product, and what are the signs to look for to see if the cornmeal has gone bad or not.
Storing The Cornmeal
Cornmeal’s utility for foods like pizza, bagels, bread, and other tasty items should not be understated. However, what do you do when it comes time to storing all of this extra cornmeal? Usually, cornmeal will be bought from the store in a packaged container or in a tightly sealed paper or plastic bag. The key to proper storage is to make sure that you move the cornmeal to a new destination. I would recommend moving the cornmeal especially if its’ original packaging has been opened before to a tightly sealed and airtight container or glass jar. You should check the quality of the lid or cap to make sure that it doesn’t suffer from damage or is easily breakable.
As for the actual location to place the cornmeal product into for long-term storage, it’s best to choose an area that is at room temperature. Places like a kitchen cabinet, cellar or closed pantry are good areas for the cornmeal because they are dark, dry, and relatively cool. The most important thing when it comes to preserving the storage of the cornmeal is to keep it away from harmful outside elements.
You’re going to want to make sure that your cornmeal isn’t exposed to elements like water, heat, sunlight, oxygen, etc. The worst thing that could happen is that insects, moisture, and wetness will seep into your bag or container of cornmeal and cause the cornmeal to go bad prematurely. You’ll want to avoid the development of bacteria and mold as much as possible during the storage process. Always keep your cornmeal product sealed tightly especially when it is not in use.
Shelf Life of Cornmeal
The overall shelf life of your cornmeal will depend upon on a number of factors including how exactly you went about storing the product. If cornmeal is stored properly by being tightly sealed and kept at a place that is dark, dry, and at room temperature then it should definitely last for a period of two to three years total. Every package or container of cornmeal comes with a “Use by” or “Best before” date. However, this should not be confused with an expiration date because the cornmeal won’t necessarily be bad after this date passes by.
However, what will happen is that the cornmeal will begin to inevitably decline after the “Use by” date and start to lose its’ overall flavor, texture, and quality. It’s important to keep track of how long your cornmeal has been stored for and in which kind of setting and place. To get the longest possible shelf life out of your cornmeal, you will need to be creative and store it in a dark, dry place like a kitchen cabinet in a container that can be sealed tightly enough so that air and other outside elements can’t get in. Despite the desire for a long shelf life, it is recommended to use the cornmeal as soon as possible after the “Use by” date passes by. You can store cornmeal for a long time but that won’t matter when the quality, taste, and texture aren’t what they used to be six months ago.
Signs of Bad Cornmeal
In order to figure out whether or not your cornmeal has gone bad or not, it’s important to remember a couple of steps to take in order to verify whether your hypothesis is true. First, it’s important to check the cornmeal to see if it still has its’ bright yellow or beige appearance. If it does, then there’s nothing to worry about but if you see some discoloration in different parts of the bag or container, you may want to see if there’s also some noticeable mold and/or bacteria developing at the same time. If this is the case, then it may be best to send your cornmeal to the trashcan. In addition, you can also open up the bag or container of cornmeal to smell its’ contents. If the odor is off or smells particularly pungent, then that’s a clear sign that something is also wrong with the product.
Lastly, if you’re still not convinced, the best test to take for verification of the status of your cornmeal is to do a small taste test. Don’t worry because a small taste test won’t make you sick and its’ a surefire way to tell about the product. If the cornmeal tastes, smells, and looks nasty, then you should throw it out and pick up a new package at the local supermarket. It’s simply better to be safe than sorry.