The shelf life of hemp foods can be extended by following proper procedures for storing. Once nature’s package (the hull) is removed from the seed, its natural protection from light and oxygen is gone, leaving the seed to go rancid quickly unless it is vacuum-packed or stored properly.
Hemp foods should be stored in dark packaging and in a cool, dark place. Any hemp food, including oil, is best frozen to extend shelf life. The greatest destructive agent is light because it produces free radicals in oils. Oxygen is the major cause of rancidity.
The following are approximate recommendations for properly stored hemp foods:
- 24 months – for whole hemp seed from the date of harvest.
- 12 months – for hulled hemp seed from the date of hulling.
- 12 months – for true cold-pressed extra virgin hemp seed oil from day of pressing, if sealed and kept cold in an oxygen free environment.
- 9-12 months – for hemp ice cream, if kept frozen.
- 6-12 months – for hemp seed bars, sprouted breads, or other products that have been cooked at low temperatures for a short period of time, store in a cold, dark place.
- 1-3 months – for roasted hemp seeds, but the fresher the better.
- 5-7 days – for freshly baked hemp flour-based bread.
- 1-2 days – for freshly produced and untreated hemp milk.
- 2-4 days – for other cooked hemp foods not heated above 105°F for 20 minutes, then refrigerated.