Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas in North America, are nutrient-packed seeds that come from pumpkins. They are great for a snack and can be eaten raw or toasted. But can pumpkin seeds go bad?
Yes, pumpkin seeds can go bad. Pumpkin seeds in an unopened container generally lose their quality between 1-3 months after the best-by date on the package. Opened containers can lose their freshness after 2-3 months when stored at room temperature, or 6-12 months when stored in the refrigerator. Pumpkin seeds stored in the freezer can retain their quality for over a year.
The determining factor in how long pumpkin seeds stay fresh is predicated by how they are consumed (raw or toasted), and how they are stored. Read on to find out if your pumpkin seeds have gone bad or are still safe to eat.
Do Pumpkin Seeds Go Bad? How Long Do Pumpkin Seeds Last?
Pumpkin seeds can go bad, and the timeframe in which they go bad is dependent on the conditions in which they are stored. If you want your pumpkin seeds to last, store them in a manner that will prolong their shelf life.
How Long Do Pumpkin Seeds Last Outside?
When stored at room temperature, raw pumpkin seeds can maintain their freshness and quality anywhere from 2-3 months. Pumpkin seeds stored at room temperature should be kept in a cool, dry area.
Once the package containing the pumpkin seeds has been opened, you’ll want to prolong their freshness and quality by keeping them in an air-tight container or plastic bag.
Baked or seasoned pumpkin seeds will keep at room temperature in an air-tight container or plastic bag for as little as a few days or up to a week.
How Long Do Pumpkin Seeds Last in the Fridge?
When stored in the fridge, raw pumpkin seeds can maintain their freshness and quality for as long as 6-12 months. Store raw pumpkin seeds in the fridge in an air-tight plastic container or plastic bag to maximize their shelf life.
Toasted or seasoned pumpkin seeds have a much shorter shelf life, and storing them in an air-tight plastic container or plastic bag will preserve their freshness and quality for about a week.
If you’re storing pumpkin seeds removed from a pumpkin to be used for planting the following year, store them in a plastic container with holes poked into the top to avoid condensation building up inside the container. Your pumpkin seeds will then be ready to harvest the following year.
How Long Do Pumpkin Seeds Last in the Freezer?
Pumpkin seeds will maintain their freshness and quality when stored in an air-tight container or plastic bag in the freezer for well over a year.
Pumpkin seeds kept in the freezer will maintain over time depending on the temperature the freezer is kept at. Pumpkin seeds stored in the freezer at a temperature of 0 degrees will keep indefinitely.
Toasted or seasoned pumpkin seeds will also keep for an extended period of time when stored in the freezer. Use a freezer bag or airtight container for best results.
Pumpkin seeds can last a long time, depending on how they are made and stored. Having an understanding of these factors can help you maintain the freshness and quality of your pumpkin seeds for a long time.
How To Tell If Pumpkin Seeds Have Gone Bad / How To Know Pumpkin Seeds Are Fresh
Before eating pumpkin seeds that have been stored, it’s best to check first if they are still fresh and edible. There are a few ways you can check to determine if your pumpkin seeds are still edible:
Appearance: One of the most obvious signs your pumpkin seeds have gone bad is visible mold. Pumpkin seeds are prone to mold contamination, so if you spot mold on your pumpkin seeds, they are no longer fresh or edible.
Taste: Your pumpkin seeds may look safe and edible visually, but if you eat them only to discover a bad taste or a loss of flavor, your pumpkin seeds have gone bad.
Smell: Pumpkin seeds generally do not have a strong smell, but when they have gone bad, you may notice an unusual smell. This is a definite sign they are no longer edible and should be discarded.
How to Store Pumpkin Seeds?
After opening a bag of raw pumpkin seeds or toasting pumpkin seeds, there are a few different ways in which they can be stored to maintain their quality and freshness.
Airtight Container: Storing your pumpkin seeds in an airtight container is best when storing them at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.
Plastic Bags: Pumpkin seeds can also be stored in plastic bags with an airtight seal, such as Ziploc bags. You want to ensure all the air is locked out of the bag before sealing to maintain freshness.
Freezer Bags: When storing pumpkin seeds in the freezer, using an airtight freezer bag is another option. Just make sure to seal off any air in the bag before sealing it.
Can You Freeze Pumpkin Seeds? How?
You can freeze pumpkin seeds, but there are methods you should follow to ensure you freeze them correctly and avoid them from going bad.
Containers: Always use an airtight container, whether your pumpkin seeds are raw or have been toasted. An airtight plastic container, plastic bag, or freezer bag should work.
Time: When stored in the freezer correctly, your pumpkin seeds can maintain their freshness for over a year.
How to Thaw Pumpkin Seeds?
When thawing pumpkin seeds, the intention behind the use of the seeds to be thawed will determine the process in which they are thawed.
Snack: If you are using your pumpkin seeds to be consumed as a snack, simply let them thaw on the countertop at room temperature, and enjoy.
Roasting: If you need to use your frozen pumpkin seeds to be roasted or toasted, simply take them out of the freezer, add your seasonings, and cook away. No extra time is needed to wait for them to thaw out.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pumpkin Seeds’ Shelf Life
Will Pumpkin Seeds Grow After Being Frozen?
Pumpkin seeds will not grow after being frozen. In normal conditions, the moisture from rising temperatures in the springtime can cause pumpkin seeds to sprout. Kept in the freezer at cold temperatures, sprouting is prevented.
Can Pumpkin Seeds Make You Sick?
Pumpkin seeds can potentially make you sick. Pumpkin seeds that were handled in an unsanitary manner or left out to dry for too long after coming straight out of a pumpkin can contain E. Coli.
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy, nutrient-rich snack to enjoy alone or sprinkled in salads or other dishes. By understanding how best to store them, you can enjoy your pumpkin seeds well into the next year.