Grits are a thick and smooth porridge made from cornmeal meal popular in the American South. But do grits go bad?
Grits go bad depending on how they’re made as microwave grits can last two to five years past the expiration date. Stone grits can last a year past the expiration date and grits that have been prepared can last two to five days. When grits go bad, they get moldy, have an off smell, and they won’t taste normal.
But why do they go bad? What happens if you eat bad grits? Where is the best place to put grits? Answers to those questions and more shall be revealed below.
Do Grits Go Bad? How Long Does Grits Last?
Grits do go bad eventually and depending on the preparation, and how you store certain grits affect their shelf life as well.
How Long Does Grits Last Outside?
Microwave grits left outside won’t last very long due to temperature change. Since premade grits have milk in them, they’ll probably only last a few hours after being left out.
Stone-ground grits shouldn’t go bad as fast since they’re in a bag, but will still go bad within a month if it’s not refrigerated.
As for already cooked grits, expect it to only last about 2 hours or left out in the open. Bacteria will build on the grits as it gets colder, making it ideal to refrigerate it.
When left outside of a proper storage area, grits can go bad faster than usual. There are multiple places in the kitchen to put them in to prevent grits from going bad as fast.
How Long Do Grits Last in the Fridge?
Microwave grits aren’t supposed to go in the refrigerator since they need to be somewhere dry and cool.
In the refrigerator, stone-ground grits should stay in good shape for about 3 months.
Prepared grits will last in the refrigerator for two to five days. It is, however, the best place to put them despite them solidifying when refrigerated.
So instant grits and prepared grits can be preserved in the refrigerator. It’s not the longest-lasting place for all grits but there is a better option.
How Long Do Grits Last in the Freezer
Instant grits are not recommended for freezing as they need to be away from all moisture. They should only be frozen in certain circumstances when they have to be.
Stone-ground grits, on the other hand, can be properly frozen lasting indefinitely when frozen.
Cooked grits aren’t recommended for freezing as a primary storage method, but if you do, only do it for a month to three at a time.
The freezer isn’t the best option for microwaved or cooked grits, but it can make stone grits last as long as you need them to.
How To Tell If Grits Has Gone Bad
When grits go bad, there will be signs that you can pick up on by using your senses. Although grits can be eaten beyond their expiration date, there are three main signs that your grits are bad and need to be replaced.
Mold: Mold growing on the grits is a prime tell-tale sign that your grits need to be disposed of. Mold appears on food like grits that have gone bad when it has come into contact with too much moisture. Mold will also occur when the liquid has been taken from other ingredients of the grits and when it expires.
Smell: An off aroma is another sign of bad grits distinguishing itself from normal grits. This isn’t the case for all grits that go bad, since grits sometimes have a mild smell if any at all. This sign shouldn’t be ignored so if it smells bad then it is bad.
Taste: Sensing and off-taste might be harder to tell if the grits are mixed with other foods. If the grits by themselves do not have their mild taste as usual or they taste bad in general, then it has gone bad and belongs in the trash.
How to Store Grits?
When you aren’t using grits, they need to be put away somewhere safe where they won’t be exposed to anything that’ll make them go bad. As far as that goes, there’s a couple of options for storage.
Refrigerator: The refrigerator is the best option for storing cooked grits that will be saved as leftovers. The refrigerator should be put at below 40°F and in tight containers.
Pantry: As for instant grits or stone-ground grits, the pantry will provide an environment that is cool and dark enough to protect it from wetness or insect that could invade them.
Can You Freeze Grits? How?
If you need your grits to last as long as possible, then the freezer would be the best option for storage. It is important to note that instant grits shouldn’t be put in the freezer and the other grits have certain methods for freezing.
Container: To keep your grits safe from excessive amounts of moisture and to keep them contained. Make sure you close the container properly so it stays as cold as possible and doesn’t get everywhere.
Stone Ground Grits: Due to how perishable they are, stone-ground grits last the longest in the freezer out of all of the grits. Stone-ground grits can even last in the freezer for more than 6 months if taken care of.
Cooked Grits: Although it has been highly recommended to put prepared grits in the refrigerator, they can last in the freezer for a few weeks. One thing you must do is to let the cooked grits at room temperature before you freeze them.
How to Thaw Grits?
When they come out of the freezer, they will need to be reheated for consumption. There are three ways you can heat it to enjoy it.
Stovetop: On the top of your stove, grits can be unthawed and cooked in a matter of about 5 or so minutes.
Just stir accordingly and you can enjoy your unthawed grits in the best way possible.
Oven: It is not a popular method, but the oven can be used to reheat grits in a container.
Remember to add water or milk depending on how you like them and stir to enjoy them the proper way.
Microwave: If you want a quicker solution to unthawing your grits, then the microwave can just do the trick.
With a little water poured in and stirring, if it isn’t prepared in a minute then you can repeat the process until it isn’t lost anymore.
Frequently Asked Questions About Grits’s Shelf Life
How to Prevent Insects in Grits
Insects like weevils get inside of stone or sometimes instant grits when they go bad, left out, or sometimes, they were already there. One way you can prevent weevils in your grits by cleaning down the area with vinegar.
Making sure your grits are stored away properly is another way to prevent bugs in your grits. If there are already insects in your grits, then putting them in the freezer is the ideal way to kill them.
Why Do Instant Grits Last Longer Than Stone Grits
If you’ve noticed a trend, instant grits tend to last longer than cooked grits and stone-ground grits. Even outside of the freezer, they last one to four years longer than them making one wonder why.
For starters, instant grits have already been cooked and have been dehydrated for microwavable usage. With that and the fact that they are finely grounded, this would make instant grits last for years of possible use.
Different types of grits need different kinds of treatment to keep them fresh longer. So long as you put them where they need to be and keep them sealed, then you should be able to enjoy an essential meal for months on end.