Do seeds go bad

In this brief guide, we will address the query, “do seeds go bad?” We will also discuss how you should store seeds to last longer and some other interesting FAQs about this product.

Do seeds go bad?

Yes, seeds go bad. Until now, there has not been developed a way to preserve for an indefinite time any organic ingredient. With seeds, after their best-by date has passed, it does not mean they are inedible but their quality has deteriorated.

Proper storage is the key to enlarging the shelf life of any kind of seed, and it is not hard to do! So, keep reading this guide to find out what you can do to preserve them for a longer period.

How long do seeds last?

Seeds normally have a large shelf life as most of them can still be edible after three years. However, it has been reported that proper storage can enlarge their shelf life for an indefinite time.

To ensure the shelf life of your seeds, you must take care of the conditions of the environment where they will be stored. It is a must to guarantee a space free of fluctuating temperatures and humidity.

However, even though you guarantee all of these requirements, seeds will not last forever! All seeds have high oil levels, which causes them to go rancid over time.

Do all seeds have high oil content?

Seeds come from plants, and those with high oil content can be used in different industries. These oily seeds are typically used for various objectives, such as

  • Illumination.
  • Medicine.
  • Food.
  • Soap.
  • Lubricating machinery.

When talking about the seeds that contain the most oil levels, we can highlight the following crops

  • Soybean (the most important seed in terms of oil production).
  • Cotton.
  • Peanut.
  • Sunflower.
  • Rapeseed mustard.

But why do seeds have oil? Oil is important to help develop plants in the early stages of their lives, even before they are capable of catching their food from soil and air.

If you want to read more about the oil content of seeds, you can click here.

What is the proper way to store seeds?

Proper storage can enlarge the shelf life of seeds and also preserve their quality for a longer time. Certain measures, that are really easy to meet, have been proven to help seeds keep their properties, such as

  • Store your seeds in an airtight container. You can use glass jars or plastic containers.
  • Keep them in a dark, dry, and cool spot. Keeping your seeds away from sunlight, humidity and heat will help you avoid quick spoilage.
  • Put a silica gel sachet or a few grains of dry rice in the container. These elements can help you absorb humidity that can be detrimental to your seeds.
  • Avoid storing your seeds in a place with temperature and light fluctuations. These elements can mess up their chemical composition.

As you can tell, it is quite easy to properly store your seeds, make sure you attend to these recommendations and tell us if they have worked for you!

What signs indicate when seeds have gone bad?

Several signs can help you identify when seeds have gone bad, and they are usually really easy to spot. So, make sure you check for these signs before using the seeds

  • Color change. Each kind of seed has its characteristic color, whenever you notice a color variation, it is time their quality has worsened. Avoid using seeds with black or green coloration, as it can indicate mold growth.
  • Off smell. Most seeds possess an earthy odor, and it is a normal thing. So, when you notice a rotten smell, it is time to toss them.
  • Mold growth. Both of the last described signs can indicate mold growth, but there are other signs you need to check to be sure about it. If you spot a fuzzy layer, tiny hairs, or raised bumps, mold might have started growing.
  • Excessive drying. When seeds are not properly stored, they can exhibit slivering or a withering look in their shells. This can happen when seeds are exposed to high temperatures.

What seeds exhibit a larger shelf life?

Most seeds can be used for at least a whole year, but some of them can last for up to 5 years. The seeds that can last for a longer time are

  • Peppers.
  • Pumpkins.
  • Celery.
  • Lettuce.
  • Squash.
  • Basil.
  • Cardoons.
  • Cucumbers.

What seeds have a shorter shelf life?

Some seeds exhibit a shelf life of only 1 to 2 years, some of them are

  • Onion.
  • Spinach.
  • Corn.
  • Beans.
  • Dandelion.
  • Peas.


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “do seeds go bad?” We have also discussed other queries related to the subject at hand. 

Hope you found this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.