How Long Do Corn Tortillas Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: Up to 8 months

A tortilla is a popular flatbread derived from Mexican culinary traditions. Tortillas can be made with a variety of base ingredients including corn, flour, and whole wheat. This base ingredient determines the longevity of the product. Apart from the store-bought, packaged tortillas, making them at home is also a common practice.

Tortillas have a versatile and extensive role to play in a variety of Latin American delicacies. Famous dishes like burritos, quesadillas, and tacos are made with this special flatbread. Corn tortillas can also be deep-fried to make tortilla chips. Moreover, when stored under the right conditions, tortillas can be used over an extended period of time.

How Long Do Corn Tortillas Last

How Long Do Corn Tortillas Last

Unopened and sealed corn tortilla packets can be stored well for a long duration. The sole concern for storing these otherwise perishable items is to keep them away from humidity and high temperatures.

Corn tortillas are known to have one of the longest shelf lives when compared to those made with other base ingredients like flour or wheat. Under optimal storing conditions, corn tortillas remain fresh and usable for prolonged periods of time.

The shelf life of the corn tortilla varies in proportion to the condition of the product. If a sealed pack of corn tortillas is kept in the cupboard, then the duration of its usability is severely compromised. Such a pack of corn tortillas will only last for 7-10 days.

When you refrigerate a sealed pack of corn tortillas, you essentially help extend the shelf life of the product. If a packet of corn tortillas is refrigerated under the right temperature settings, they will remain fresh for up to 8 weeks. Refrigeration of the product helps extend its longevity and preserves its freshness.

Corn tortillas stored in the freezer remain viable for consumption for the longest time duration. Freezing a pack of corn tortillas will extend the longevity of the product for up to 8 months. However, handmade tortillas have a shorter shelf life and must be consumed within a shorter window of time.

Once the seal is broken, corn tortilla packets must be refrigerated and consumed within 7-10 days. In the cupboard, an unsealed corn tortilla pack will only last for 2-3 days.

In Summary:

Condition of StorageDuration of Shelf Life
Cupboard (Sealed)7-10 days
Cupboard (Unsealed)2-3 days
Refrigerator (Sealed)6-8 weeks
Freezer (Sealed)6-8 months
Refrigerator/Freezer (Unsealed)7-10 days

Why Do Corn Tortillas Last This Long?

The longevity of corn tortillas is a result of the starchy nature of its base ingredient. Corn tortillas outlast their flour or wheat-based counterparts because they are made with a cornmeal base. This makes them more durable than any other core ingredient used in the manufacturing of tortillas.

Much like other perishables, when storing corn tortillas, the goal is to delay the process of decay and the growth of harmful microbial contaminants. The seal of the packet is the most important barrier between the infectious contaminants on the outside and the food product inside. The chances of retaining the freshness of the product remain quite high as long as the seal remains unhindered.

When stored in the cupboard, corn tortillas have a limited shelf life because the heat of the outer environment accelerates the process of decay. This may also result in the formation of mold or other microbial growths on the tortillas.

Refrigerating the pack eliminates this catalyst of decay. Under cool conditions of storage, the sealed pack of corn tortillas is protected from any form of bacterial or fungal contamination. The colder subzero temperatures of the freezer help extend the durability of the product even further.

Nevertheless, if a packet of corn tortillas has been opened, it is vulnerable to microbial contaminations. Keeping it out in the cupboard will make the possibility of fungal growth more plausible. Refrigerating the unsealed pack can help decelerate the process of decay. However, the constant freezing and thawing of the product can truncate its shelf life.

Conclusion

Tortillas have become a part of the long list of comfort foods for most people. Their simple and healthy constituents make them a popular choice for most individuals. The diversity of their usage is an added advantage. The only catch in using these flatbreads remains the dilemma of storing them.

When stored under conducive conditions, corn tortillas can be enjoyed over a prolonged period of time. Keeping them away from moisture and fluctuating temperatures is key. Refrigerating or freezing the sealed pack can help increase its longevity. However, once the pack is opened, the contents must be consumed at the earliest.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1984.tb10430.x
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0260877410003572

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AboutNidhi

Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

21 Comments

  1. This article was both informative and engaging. I feel like I learned a lot about tortilla storage and preservation methods.

    1. Absolutely, it’s not often that you get such detailed information about everyday food items. It’s been eye-opening.

    2. I agree, this article has definitely made me more aware of how I store tortillas and other food products in general.

  2. The section on why corn tortillas last so long was very well-explained. It’s clear that a lot of science and thought goes into food preservation.

    1. Definitely, it’s fascinating to learn about the chemical and biological processes that impact food shelf life.

  3. I appreciate that this article not only provides information on storage, but also explains the science behind it. Very insightful.

    1. Yes, it’s great to have a better understanding of the factors that influence food spoilage. It helps us make more informed choices.

  4. I’m surprised to learn about the shorter shelf life of handmade tortillas compared to store-bought ones. It’s something to consider for homemade meals.

    1. Yes, it’s definitely worth noting. This article gives a lot of insight into the different factors that affect tortilla longevity.

  5. Who knew there was so much to know about storing tortillas? This article has been an enlightening read.

    1. Absolutely, it’s amazing how much thought goes into ensuring food stays fresh. This article really highlights that.

  6. I never thought I’d be so interested in the shelf life of tortillas, but this article was really engaging. A great read!

    1. I feel the same way. It’s amazing how much there is to learn about something as seemingly simple as tortillas.

    2. Definitely, this article made me appreciate the science of food preservation in a whole new light. Very interesting.

  7. I found the breakdown of different storage durations and conditions very helpful. It’s a useful guide for maximizing tortilla lifespan.

  8. I appreciate the detailed breakdown of the storage durations for corn tortillas. It’s very informative and helpful for meal planning.

  9. The explanation of why corn tortillas have a longer shelf life due to their base ingredient was fascinating. I never thought about it that way before.

    1. I agree, it’s interesting to learn about the science behind it. Makes me appreciate corn tortillas even more.

  10. I had no idea that corn tortillas could last for up to 8 months when stored in the freezer! This article has been really eye-opening for me.

    1. This is great information to know, especially for those of us who like to stock up on corn tortillas. Now we know how to make them last.

    2. I know, right? I always thought they would only last a few weeks at most. It’s amazing how the right storage conditions can make such a difference.

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