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Does Flaxseed Go Bad? Your Guide to Flaxseed Shelf Life

Flaxseed is quite nutritious. They are an ideal option for anyone trying to get extra protein in their diet. The question though is whether they go bad or not, cause you sure don’t want to eat that expired flaxseed in the cupboard.

This is why we are explaining everything concerning Flaxseed. Explaining and going into the details of how to store flaxseeds as well as the shelf life of it. So, stay tuned.

Does Flaxseed Go Bad?

Perhaps you have a bag laying there that you haven’t checked for ages. You wonder if it goes bad or not, and this is why you are here.

To cut to the chase, Flaxseed does go bad. The reason for that is the rich content of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids are what make the flaxseed a great option for many people aiming to improve their diet.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that these healthy fatty acids go rancid quite fast, which causes the spoilage of the whole flaxseed.

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How Long does Flaxseed Last?

Now that we know that they definitely go bad, it’s only a matter of when.

How Long does Flax Seed Last

We have first to understand the difference between whole flaxseed and ground flaxseed, cause each to have their own shelf life.

Whole Flaxseed

Those are flaxseed that hasn’t been grounded and processed. They have all the parts of the seed intact and thus are hard to digest. Yet, they last way longer than grounded ones.

Grounded/Milled Flaxseed

To make the flaxseed much more smooth and easier to digest. Manufactures usually grind them thoroughly.

You lose on the high shelf life, yet, you manage to have a simple to eat and consume flaxseed that happens to be much more nutritious than the whole one.

After knowing the difference, here are the shelf life of each type of flaxseed:

  • Whole Flaxseed: These last the longer thanks to the other parts of the plant that protects it. It can remain in the cupboard for as long as 6 months past the use-by date. This should make you consider buying this variant more than the grounded one due to it’s lasting shelf life.
  • Grounded Flaxseed: The shortest shelf life due to the grounding process that makes the seeds more prone to spoilage. It can last you a week past its expiry date, which is not much, but can reach up to a month or even two if you store it properly.

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Flaxseed Shelf Life [Full Chart]

Flax Seeds - Unopened6 – 12 months
Flax seeds - Opened6 – 12 months
Ground flax seeds - Unopened1 – 3 months
Ground flax seeds - Opened3 months

How To Store Flaxseed?

The way you store your flaxseed can be essential for it to not go bad. There are few advices that would definitely improve the shelf life of your seeds.

How To Store Flaxseed

Let’s start by packaging, flaxseeds usually come in normal bags. They aren’t airtight so you don’t have to worry so much about sealing it.

Now to the place, the fridge is your best friend. Cold flaxseeds usually last way longer than ones stored in the room temperature. Keep the bag in the fridge in a cold and dark place to ensure it can last much longer.

Despite the fact that sealing it won’t help much, but simply protecting it from contamination can help it go a long way. Make sure to use a good package that protects the seeds.

In the Pantry

If you plan to use flaxseed within a month or two, storing it in the pantry can be a good option. Flaxseed can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. The pantry is a good option as it’s a dry area, but make sure to keep the container away from direct sunlight and heat, which can cause the flaxseed to spoil.

When storing flaxseed in the pantry, it’s important to make sure that the container is airtight, as exposure to air can cause the seed to become rancid. Rancid flaxseed will have a bitter taste and an unpleasant odor. To ensure freshness, it’s also a good idea to check the container every now and then to make sure there are no signs of mold or moisture.

In the Fridge

If you want to prolong the shelf life of your flaxseed for several months, the fridge is the best option. Storing flaxseed in the fridge can extend its shelf life by up to a year. It’s important to note that flaxseed needs to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to prevent it from absorbing moisture and odors.

Before storing flaxseed in the fridge, make sure that it’s completely dry. If there’s any moisture on the seed, it can create a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. To ensure that the flaxseed stays dry, you can store it in an airtight container with a desiccant packet or a piece of dry bread. The desiccant packet or bread will absorb any excess moisture and keep the flaxseed dry.

In the Freezer

If you want to store flaxseed for an extended period, freezing is the best option. Freezing flaxseed can extend its shelf life for up to two years. However, it’s important to keep in mind that freezing can affect the texture of flaxseed. The seed may become soft or mushy once it’s thawed.

To freeze flaxseed, place it in an airtight container or a freezer bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible from the container or bag before sealing it. Label the container or bag with the date and the contents, so you can keep track of how long the flaxseed has been frozen.

When you’re ready to use frozen flaxseed, it’s important to thaw it properly. You can thaw the flaxseed by placing it in the fridge overnight. Once thawed, use the flaxseed within a few days.

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Best Ways to Store Flaxseed

Store in an Airtight Container

One of the best ways to store flaxseed is to keep it in an airtight container. Oxygen is the main culprit behind the rancidity of flaxseed, so keeping it in an airtight container can help prevent oxidation. Glass jars or containers with a tight-fitting lid are ideal for storing flaxseed. Plastic containers can also be used, but make sure they are BPA-free to avoid any harmful chemicals leaching into your flaxseed.

Store in a Cool, Dark Place

Flaxseed should be stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Heat and light can speed up the oxidation process and cause flaxseed to go rancid faster. A pantry or cupboard away from the stove or oven is a great place to store flaxseed. Avoid storing flaxseed in the refrigerator or freezer, as the moisture can cause it to spoil.

Grind Flaxseed as Needed

Whole flaxseed can last longer than ground flaxseed, but once you grind it, the oxidation process speeds up. If possible, grind your flaxseed as needed instead of grinding it all at once. This will help prevent it from going rancid too quickly. If you do need to grind flaxseed in advance, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Use Fresh Flaxseed

Flaxseed is at its freshest and most nutritious when it is first harvested. Look for flaxseed that has a fresh, nutty smell and a bright color. If your flaxseed smells rancid or has a dull color, it’s time to replace it.

Ground Flaxseed

Ground flaxseed is a healthy and versatile ingredient that can be added to a variety of dishes, including smoothies, oatmeal, and baked goods. However, like any other food item, ground flaxseed can go bad and spoil if not stored properly.

In this Part, we will discuss how to store ground flaxseed to prolong its shelf life and answer some common questions related to its storage.

How to Store Ground Flaxseed?

The storage of ground flaxseed largely depends on whether it has been opened or not. Unopened packages of ground flaxseed can be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place like a pantry, whereas opened packages should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

In the Pantry

Unopened packages of ground flaxseed can be stored in a pantry for up to a year. The pantry should be cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight. You can store the package as is or transfer it to an airtight container to prevent moisture and air exposure.

However, once opened, the package should be consumed within a few weeks to maintain its freshness.

In the Fridge

Ground flaxseed that has been opened should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to keep it fresh for up to 4 months. The fridge provides a cool and dry environment that slows down the oxidation process and prevents spoilage.

Make sure to label the container with the date you opened it to keep track of its freshness.

In the Freezer

Ground flaxseed can also be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. This is an excellent option for those who buy ground flaxseed in bulk and want to prolong its shelf life.

Before storing, make sure to transfer the ground flaxseed to an airtight container or a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn and maintain its freshness.

Does Ground Flaxseed Go Bad?

Yes, ground flaxseed can go bad if not stored properly. It contains oils that can turn rancid when exposed to air, light, or moisture. Rancid ground flaxseed has a bitter taste and an off-putting odor. Consuming rancid ground flaxseed can lead to digestive issues and other health problems.

How Long Does Ground Flaxseed Last?

The shelf life of ground flaxseed depends on various factors like its packaging, storage conditions, and whether it has been opened or not. Unopened packages of ground flaxseed can last up to a year in the pantry.

However, once opened, it should be consumed within a few weeks if stored in the pantry, up to 4 months if stored in the fridge, and up to 6 months if stored in the freezer.

Does Ground Flaxseed Need to Be Refrigerated?

Ground flaxseed that has been opened should be refrigerated or frozen to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. If you plan to use it within a few weeks, you can store it in an airtight container in the pantry. However, for long-term storage, it is best to store it in the fridge or freezer.

What Happens if you eat expired flaxseed?

consuming expired flaxseed can potentially pose health risks. Flaxseed contains delicate omega-3 fatty acids that can go rancid rapidly, leading to an unpleasant taste and causing digestive discomfort such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Additionally, expired flaxseed may also contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning and lead to symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea.

Therefore, it is not recommended to eat expired flaxseed, and it is crucial to check the expiration date before consuming any food product.

How To Tell If Flaxseed Has Gone Bad?

Let’s assume you didn’t do your best and forgot to store the flaxseed properly, but somehow it was past the expiry date, how do you know that it has gone bad or not?

How To Tell If Flax seed Has Gone Bad

If you are lost on that matter, here are few hints that can help:


Smell is your best friend when it come to flaxseed. This is why you should take a whiff and see how it turns out, if you happen to feel it toasty, then you have good flaxseeds. Once the smell deteriorate and you start to feel it getting more rancid of a smell and you should just dispose it away.


Just because it smells good, doesn’t mean it will be good. This is because sometimes the seeds can go rancid. Taste a single seed and see how it tastes, if it feels rancid and dusty, perhaps discarding it away seems like the better option.

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Can I grind flaxseed in advance?

If possible, it’s best to grind flaxseed as needed. However, if you need to grind it in advance, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Can rancid flaxseed make me sick?

Yes, consuming rancid flaxseed can lead to digestive issues and even damage to your liver.

Wrapping Up

Perhaps after knowing all of this, you can feel rest assured that the flaxseed you are consuming is safely stored. You also now know how long it takes for it to spoil as well as how to make sure you are eating good ones.

If you have any questions you wanna ask, simply leave them in the comments and we will reply as soon as possible. Thanks for reading.

Can Flax Seed Go Bad

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