There’s nothing better than a healthy morning breakfast like grits!
You can easily get them from your grocery store and have a wholesome meal.
However, the sad part is you can’t keep them forever. If grits are not kept properly, they can perish sooner than their shelf life. Thus, it is crucial to store them properly to prevent them from going bad.
I will help you with this by this article as I have given a complete guide to preserving grits.
Why are grits so healthy?
One of the primary reasons grits are considered a nutritious breakfast or dinner meal is its several health benefits! Not only are grits refreshing, but they are also rich in iron, vitamin B, and powerful antioxidants.
So that’s it? No, we are just getting started with the list! Grits are made from crushed corn and thus contain various minerals, Vitamin E, Potassium, etc.
However, if you purchase a regular pack of grits, then it may contain fewer vitamins. This is because the nutritional parts of whole corn kernels, such as germ and pericarp, get removed during its processing.
Besides, the stone-ground version of grits comprises several vital vitamins and minerals missing in other packs. Also, the processed variety of grits contains less fiber than stone-ground ones.
How Long Does Grit Last?
Grits are available in different variations, such as:
- Quick and regular
- Instant pack
All of them are produced from ground corn but vary in nutrients. Generally, the shelf life of grits is considered to be around a year which is sufficient enough to consume them.
But they can get spoiled if not stored in a suitable space; let’s discuss this in more detail.
When you purchase grits, you will see a best-before or use-by date mentioned at the back of the packet. Generally, storing the grits pack at room temperature will last for about a year.
However, once their best-by date passes, they are still safe to eat but only for a limited period. Look for signs of spoilage after the expiration date has passed to ensure you do not consume contaminated food.
Author’s Note: The date markings indicate their nutritional value, and taste will start changing from the given time.
As soon as you open a grit packet, they become susceptible to becoming stale due to moisture and storage conditions. This is why it’s highly suggested to ensure grits remain fresh and keep them in a cool and dry place.
Opened grit packages also last for around a year, but you can extend their shelf life by freezing. Impressively, by doing so, grits can be edible for 2 to 5 years!
I have written about their preservation methods in-depth below.
Although cooked grits taste fantastic, they, unfortunately, do not last long. This is because they lack preservatives. Typically, homemade grits are edible for 5-7 days in the pantry but may get spoiled.
So, it’s recommended to keep them in the refrigerator for the same time frame; nonetheless, the taste and consistency of it will change.
How to Tell If Your Grit Has Gone Bad?
To determine if uncooked or cooked grits have been spoiled, it’s best to check it by your senses! It may sound weird, but they are reliable in identifying perished food.
One of the first steps is to assess its appearance and texture. Dry grits are edible for approximately a year when stored ideally; afterward, they could get moldy.
If you see whitish, yellow, or green layers on the packet, it has been spoiled, so dispose of them immediately.
If you see that the water has been separated from the ingredients in the cooked grits, then chances are they have gone bad.
Next, you should smell the dry or prepared grits. If you notice a stinky or weird scent, it indicates the grits are no longer safe to consume. Sometimes the smell can be mild and tough to make, so you can cross-check it by tasting them.
Usually, grits have hints of oil, due to which they can go rancid and smell rotten.
If you are still unsure whether the grits have perished or not, take a tiny bite of it. Stale grits will taste sour or bitter. However, do not take big bites of suspicious food since they could be contaminated and cause health hazards.
Author’s Note: If your dry grits do not bake as they did before, they have likely gone bad.
What Happens If You Eat Expired Grit?
An expiry date only states that the taste and consistency of the ingredients will change from the given date. So, there is no major problem if you eat expired grits. However, it’s safe only for a limited period since they are more prone to go bad.
In short, yes, you can munch on your favorite grits, but their quality will not be the same as it was.
Warning: Expired food quality deteriorates significantly with time, and they will taste different than before.
Can You Freeze Grits? Refrigerated vs. Shelf-Stable Grits?
Now, let’s learn if you can store these in the fridge or pantry.
This version of grits is a processed one that is pre-cooked and dehydrated. You can choose to keep them in the pantry or freezer. It depends on your storage area and preference.
Ideally, a cool and dry cupboard is suitable for the grit to reserve their consistency and flavor. Take a plastic bag or container and place the grit after it has been cooled so that they do not release steam.
If they do so, then it will increase the chance of mold formation and ultimately spoil the grit. Ensure that the cabinet is not near an external heat source like a stove or fridge since its exposure can create moisture to develop within the packet.
If you want your grits to last upto 5 years, you have to freeze them.
As I said earlier, the stone-ground grits do not go under heavy processing; thus, they do not have a long shelf life like instant grits. A dry and cool cabinet is an appropriate space to preserve these nutritious grits.
The Best Way to Store Grits
So, storing grits is not all that complicated, but which is the best method to preserve them? Let’s find out!
You probably know that vacuum sealing food can be quite helpful in extending the shelf life. It is true! But most of us do not have one at home, so what can we do?
I have a quick DIY technique to help you seal your plastic bag like a vacuum sealer!
- Let the grit sit for a while until it cools down (to avoid moisture)
- Place the dry or cooked grit inside a plastic bag
- Slowly seal the plastic bag but leave a tiny corner open
- Prepare a container and add water to it
- Gently drop the bag into the water
- When it reaches the bottom, seal it completely.
What are the little black specks in grits?
Ans: The presence of black specks or spots is quite common in grits. This is because corn has a part called a germ that is dark in color.
If you use stone-ground grits, you will see their occurrence more as they are crushed along with the nutritious parts of the corn.
Can you get sick from eating undercooked grits?
Ans: There is no definitive answer for this, but you could eat some uncooked grits. However, your body might be able to digest it, and it is risky to consume them without being cooked.
Also, ensure the meal is baked well and stored, so it does not become stale. So, it’s advisable to munch cooked grits to be on the safe side.
Altogether, grits are the perfect healthy meal, but you need to store them according to their version, so they do not get contaminated. Ensure you check the packet diligently after expiration to avoid consuming stale grits.
If you have a suitable pantry that is both cool and dry, it’s best to keep them there; if not, a fridge is your only option.