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How Long Does Seitan Last In The Fridge

How Long Does Seitan Last in the Fridge? Storage Guide

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Shari Mason

Seitan, often dubbed “wheat meat,” has grown in popularity as a versatile vegan protein source. But just like any other food, its shelf life isn’t infinite. 

If you’ve ever experimented with or purchased this meat substitute, you might wonder about its longevity in the fridge. 

So, really, how long does seitan last in the fridge?

Let me delve into the specifics to understand its storage life and keep your meals safe and wholesome.

How Long Is Seitan Good For In The Fridge?

Chicken Seitan

Seitan [1], when appropriately stored in the refrigerator, can last 7 to 10 days if it’s homemade and kept in a tightly sealed container.

If you’ve purchased store-bought seitan, it’s best to adhere to the “use by” date on the packaging. 

“I eat nothing processed or refined – no high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, or trans-fats. I eat a lot of fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, and nuts. A lot of organic, fresh fruits and vegetables. No bread. No gluten. No wheat. No rice.” – Dean Karnazes, American Runner. 

However, if the seitan starts to emit an off-putting smell or its texture becomes slimy, it’s a sign that it’s gone bad and should be discarded, regardless of the time frame.

Always prioritize freshness and safety when consuming stored foods.

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Can You Freeze It?

Seitan is freezer-friendly and can be stored in the freezer to extend its shelf life.

Before freezing, it’s crucial to package it tightly in an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag to prevent freezer burn and retain its quality. 

When properly stored, frozen seitan can last for up to six months. When ready to use it, allow it to thaw slowly in the refrigerator for optimal texture and flavor retention.

What To Do With Seitan?

  1. Seitan Stir-Fry:
    • Cut seitan into strips or bite-sized pieces.
    • Sauté with vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, and snap peas.
    • Add soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a dash of sesame oil for a classic stir-fry flavor. Finish with toasted sesame seeds.
  2. Seitan Steaks:
    • Flatten and shape the seitan into steak-like pieces.
    • Marinate in your favorite sauce or seasoning.
    • Grill or pan-fry until golden brown. Pair with mashed potatoes or veggies for a hearty meal.
  3. Seitan Sandwiches:
    • Slice seitan thinly.
    • Layer with lettuce, tomato, onions, and vegan mayo or mustard [2] between slices of bread. It’s a protein-packed sandwich option for lunches.
  4. Seitan Tacos:
    • Crumble or slice the seitan.
    • Cook with taco seasoning, onions, and bell peppers.
    • Serve in tortillas with toppings like salsa, guacamole, and vegan cheese.
  5. Seitan BBQ Ribs:
    • Shape seitan into rib-like structures.
    • Coat with your favorite BBQ sauce.
    • Bake or grill until caramelized. These “ribs” are great for cookouts and BBQ-themed meals.
  6. Seitan “Chicken” Nuggets:
    • Shape seitan into nugget-sized pieces.
    • Dip in a mixture of non-dairy milk and flour then breadcrumbs.
    • Fry until golden. Serve with vegan dipping sauces for a delightful snack.
  7. Seitan Stews and Curries:
    • Cube the seitan.
    • Add to stews or curries and simmer with vegetables, broth, and seasonings. The seitan absorbs flavors beautifully, enhancing the dish.
  8. Seitan Salads:
    • Grill or pan-fry seitan strips.
    • Toss with greens, veggies, nuts, and a tangy dressing for a protein-boosted salad.

Signs That It Might Be Bad

Chicken Seitan on a Wooden Board
  1. Off-Putting Smell: Fresh seitan has a neutral or mildly wheaty scent. If it starts to smell sour, tangy, or simply unpleasant, it’s a sign it might have gone bad.
  2. Slimy Texture: If the seitan feels unusually slimy or sticky to the touch, it indicates spoilage.
  3. Change in Color: While a seitan’s color may vary depending on its ingredients and cooking method, any unexpected color changes, like a grayish hue or dark spots, can suggest it’s past its prime.
  4. Mold Growth: Any visible mold, be it white, green, or any other color, is a clear sign that the seitan has spoiled and should be discarded immediately.
  5. Sour or Off Taste: If you need clarification on the above signs, a tiny taste can help. However, if it tastes even slightly off, it’s best to discard it.
  6. Swollen or Puffed Packaging: If the seitan is store-bought and the packaging appears puffed up or swollen, it could mean bacterial activity and gas production. This is a sign the seitan is no longer safe to consume.

“Seitan, a culinary chameleon, graces the fridge with its presence, a promise of flavor that holds its pose for a while.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

Tips On How to Store It

  1. Airtight Containers: After opening a store-bought package or making homemade seitan, transfer any leftovers to an airtight container. This prevents moisture loss and protects the seitan from contaminants.
  2. Use a Vacuum Sealer: If you have a vacuum sealer, store portions of seitan. This can significantly prolong its shelf life, especially if you plan to freeze it.
  3. Label and Date: If freezing, always label and date your seitan. This helps you track how long it’s been stored and ensures you use it while still at its best.
  4. Refrigerate Promptly: Keep the seitan out for a short time. Refrigerate it as soon as possible to maintain its freshness.
  5. Freeze for Long-Term Storage: If you plan on consuming something other than seitan within a week, freezing is a great option. Divide it into portion-sized amounts, seal, label, and freeze.
  6. Avoid Cross-Contamination: Use clean utensils when handling seitan. This is especially important if you take some out and return the rest to the fridge.
  7. Keep Away from Strong Odors: Seitan can absorb strong odors from other foods. Storing it in an airtight container ensures it maintains its natural flavor.
  8. Store in Marinade: If you like flavored seitan, store it in its marinade or broth in the refrigerator. This not only keeps it moist but also infuses more flavor.
  9. Check Before Use: Always check seitan for signs of spoilage before using, even if it’s within its expected shelf life. Trust your senses.

FAQs

Can I eat expired seitan?

No, it’s not advisable to eat expired seitan. Consuming expired or spoiled food can lead to food poisoning or other health issues. Always check for signs of spoilage before consumption.

Why do you rinse, seitan?

Rinsing seitan, especially when making it from scratch using the “washing method” with wheat flour, helps to remove the soluble starches, leaving behind the insoluble gluten protein. This process helps in achieving the desired chewy texture of seitan.

Final Thoughts

Seitan, a versatile and protein-rich meat substitute, can remain fresh in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days if properly stored. Its shelf life might vary based on whether it’s homemade or store-bought. 

Storing it in airtight containers, labeling and dating, and adhering to refrigeration guidelines are essential to ensure its longevity and quality. 

While seitan offers flexibility in various dishes, it’s crucial to prioritize food safety and trust your senses when evaluating its freshness.

References:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-seitan-3376819
  2. https://www.seriouseats.com/mustard-manual-guide
Shari Mason

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