Seitan is a popular high-protein alternative to animal products and is incredibly versatile for a wide range of flavors and recipes.
It does take some time and effort to make, so many people prefer to make it ahead of time and use it later. But if you make seitan ahead of time, how long will it last? What’s the best way to store seitan?
Seitan does need to be stored in the fridge or freezer for it to stay fresh. It can be stored in an airtight container.
Here’s a complete guide to how to store seitan and use it safely.
Does Seitan Expire?
Seitan is high in both protein and moisture, so it can go bad and expire. If you purchase pre-made seitan, always note the expiration date on the packaging.
If you make your own seitan, it can harbor bacteria or mold, so it should be stored properly.
If seitan has been stored beyond its expiration date, or if develops an unusual smell or appearance, it should be discarded.
When making seitan in large amounts, only make as much as you plan to use within five days.
Does Seitan Have to be Refrigerated?
Seitan does need to be refrigerated in order to stay fresh and good. Seitan should not be left out for longer than two hours.
How Do You Store Seitan in the Fridge?
To store seitan in the fridge, you can use the dry method or the wet method, depending on how you will use the finished seitan.
- Storing dry seitan in the fridge: If you have baked your seitan, it should be wrapped in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. Wrapping your seitan well ensures that it won’t absorb any odors or flavors from other items in the fridge.
- Storing wet seitan in the fridge: If you have boiled or steamed your seitan, you can store it in the fridge in a broth or a marinade. Place the seitan in a container and ensure that it is completely covered with the liquid, and then cover it with an air-tight lid. The seitan will continue to absorb the flavors of the broth or marinade as it sits in the refrigerator.
How Long Does Seitan Last in the Fridge?
The length of time seitan will last depends on your storage method.
- Dry seitan will last in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Wet seitan will last in the fridge for up to 10 days. If you are storing seitan in the broth you cooked it in, you could remove it from the fridge and re-boil it after 5-7 days, which will kill bacteria and extend its storage life for another week.
However, if you plan on storing seitan for longer than a week, it is better to freeze it than refrigerate it.
Can You Freeze Seitan?
Always make sure that cooked seitan has cooled to room temperature before freezing, although it is better to cool seitan in the refrigerator before freezing it.
How Do You Store Seitan in the Freezer?
To store seitan in the freezer, you can do it with or without a liquid broth or marinade.
- To freeze seitan in a broth: Use a small container to eliminate excess air and ensure that the liquid covers the seitan. Use an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
- To freeze dry seitan: Wrap it well in an airtight wrapping and press out excess air. Wrapping in double layers will help prevent freezer burn.
When freezing seitan, always put a date on the package so you know how long your seitan has been stored.
How Long Does Seitan Last in the Freezer?
Seitan will last for up to six months in the freezer.
How to Defrost and Use Frozen Seitan
Seitan defrosts quickly, without a lot of planning ahead. As with many frozen foods, it’s always a good idea to portion seitan before freezing, so you only thaw as much as you need at once.
It may be helpful to slice seitan into cubes before freezing, so you can remove only as much as needed.
You can defrost dry seitan by placing it in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
Seitan stored in a broth takes longer to defrost in the refrigerator, and may take up to 8 hours.
Just like with other foods, do not re-freeze thawed seitan. Repeated freezing and thawing will damage the texture and makes it more difficult to keep track of expiration dates.
Tips on How to Store Homemade Seitan
If you want to store raw, uncooked seitan, simply follow the instructions above.
Wrap it in an airtight package and refrigerate or freeze it. Consider portioning your seitan before freezing it for easier defrosting when you need it.
Tips on How to Store Cooked Seitan
Seitan is prone to absorbing odors and flavors from neighboring foods in the refrigerator and freezer.
Storing seitan with the “wet” method, in a broth or marinade, is a great way to protect and enhance the flavor of your seitan.
If you’re storing seitan dry, consider double- or triple-wrapping it to protect it from other nearby foods.
Pre-portioning seitan is a great way to make sure that it freezes more quickly and evenly, and makes it easier to defrost and use later.
The best way to freeze cooked seitan is to slice it into cubes or break it into crumbles, spread the pieces evenly on a sheet pan, cover the sheet pan with tin foil or cling film, and place it in the coldest part of the freezer.
Check the seitan within an hour or two to ensure that it has frozen solid, and then place the frozen pieces into a freezer bag or container for longer storage.
Spreading food out evenly allows it to freeze quickly and at the same rate, instead of freezing slowly from the outside to the inside, which may damage the texture.
Seitan needs to be refrigerated but is also easy to store in the fridge or freezer.
The most important thing is to use a broth or marinade, or wrap it securely, to prevent it from absorbing unwanted odors for flavors.
With the right techniques, seitan can be stored for up to 6 months.