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Exactly how long does tahini paste last?

I have a jar, purchased about a year ago from a local Middle Eastern market. It's been refrigerated since I opened it. Is it still safe to use? This recipe is sounding really good to me tonight: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/...

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  1. Heh...I think that since it's been in the fridge, you're fine...can't hurt to taste a little on your finger, though, to check for rancidity. I cannot believe how much that stuff has jumped in price, by the way...I went to make hummus this weekend and thought I should replace my can that's been on my shelf for about 5 or 6 months now...darned thing now costs $7.00 at Publix!!!! I said "no way" and used my older tahini, which tastes fine but it's almost gone now. The brand I have is Joyva...will check this out at the Asian grocery store over the weekend...I think Publix is just flat-out ripping folks off on some things...the Goya Extra Virgin Olive oil I bought at Target was $3.89...Publix had it for $8.99, same size bottle...now come on!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Val

      I have used tehini for many years and have never had a problem if it going bad. I buy a large container from a company in NY for about $10.00.

    2. As far as I know, like Val said, it should be fine as long as it has been in fridge. I use Tahini a lot and it seems to last forever (almost forever). :)

      1. I'm happy to say that the tahini smelled and tasted fine, and that I seem to be alive and fully functioning today. The salad was tasty and easy too.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Megiac

          Having had it go bad in my fridge before (it was probably in there for way longer than you want to think about), I can promise me that you WILL know when it has gone bad....

        2. I am sorry if this is off the original subject, but I bought Tahini once, and it was so hard, I couldn't stir or hardly spoon it out of the jar. I ended up throwing it out, as I thought it was bad. Is it always like that? If so, how do you work with it. I wanted to make Hummus also. thanks in advance.

          4 Replies
          1. re: marycarol

            The can I'm almost done with is my first can of tahini..Joyva brand, 15 ounces. It's a little like natural peanut butter...the oil separates and sits on top of the paste so you have to mix it in til smooth each time you use it. (Well, that's how I did it anyway.) That can I bought at Publix supermarket by the Kosher items...but I can't wait to go to the Asian market to try to find it...doesn't have to be the same brand but that price at Publix just killed me. I really love making my own hummus and I don't use a ton of the tahini in mine, maybe a tablespoon or so per 15 ounce can of drained chickpeas, nor do I use any olive oil. But, I love for my hummus to have a bright, lemony flavor without much salt so I tend to use lots of lemon in it. Each to her own...you'll love making your own hummus. Oh, and there's a nice tahini salad dressing recipe on the Joyva can that we've also enjoyed for a change up from our homemade balsamic dressing. Marycarol...here's a link to recommended brands of tahini just in case you can find these...sheesh! There's the Joyva...glad I just happened to find a good brand my first time around...I would have bought whatever they had on the shelf:
            http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tasti...

            1. re: Val

              Thank you, Val, and Drucie. The Tahini I bought was the Joyva (from Cost Plus World Market) and it was so thick/hard, I couldn't hardly stir it. So I will try it again, and maybe add some water to it. Thanks so much!

              1. re: marycarol

                Don't add water to a jar of all-sesame, unprepared tahini that you buy, it could grow mold. I'm not sure you were planning on doing that, I might have misunderstood the post, but just in case.

                Mostly I try to find other people, who are more interested in a cardio/upper body workout than myself, when it comes to stirring up a jar of tahini.

                1. re: shahkbhaji

                  I take it all out of the can or jar and put it in my FP, mix it up really good, then return it to the original container and refrigerate. It kind of solidifies that way and doesn't separate as easy.

          2. I keep tahini (opened and unopened) on a closet shelf, and hate to say, it doesnt go bad, even at room temp in my experience. Has sat there for years. so dont worry about your refrigerated jar. If the tahini has separated usually you can just turn it upside down for a few days to recombine. Or scrape out some of the hard part and add some of the oil in the food processer with the water. lemon etc (if you are making tahini sauce, hummus, etc)

            1. I pour a little tahini on my oatmeal. Gives the dish a little pizazz.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Cameraman

                The poster who said you'll know when it goes bad was right. It can go rancid and you will smell that it is off.

                FYI re: Joyva tahini - this product is different from most tahini in jars. You need to prepare it before use for most recipes. If you want it to be like "tahini" you need to add water and whisk or blend it before using. Tahini in the jar is already prepared and is runnier than Joyva in the can. You can add more or less water to make it the precise consistency you need.

                1. re: drucie

                  Im not sure I agree. I believe tahini is just the generic word for sesame - All of the Tahini I buy, unrefrigerated, off the shelf in jars in mideastern stores in NYC is just ground sesame.(look at the ingredients) As this sits in your cupboard, the solid portion settles out from the sesame oil. To prepare palatable "tahini sauce" water and salt, at a minimum, need to be added, sometimes quite a bit of water. If you spoon the hard paste and as much of the oil and you want into a blender or processer, and gradually add water and/or lemon, it will gradually form the white creamy tahini sauce that would be served with food. or used to make hummous etc.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Tahini sauce in Mediterranean & Middle Eastern cooking has a specific meaning -- the thin sauce with other ingredients that is a condiment for felafel and other foods. The info about thinning to make what you'd call "prepared tahini" is from the Joyva company's little recipe booklet, which they offer for free by mail. I recently ordered one for myself and was delighted to see it hasn't changed (including corny photos of the food) in probably 40 or more years. Joyva is well known for their halvah which might be why they need to make the distinction between prepared hummus and what they sell in their can. As far as I know halvah is the only recipe you'd make using it as it comes straight from the can.

                    re: tahini in jars sold on the shelf - this is more like natural peanut butter. You do need to stir. I've always been able to use this type of product right from the jar without adding additional water or other ingredients to make whatever might call for "tahini" or "prepared tahini" in a recipe.

                    (So basically if you're making a recipe that calls for "prepared tahini" or just plain "tahini" you are fine to use any tahini you buy with no preparation other than perhaps stirring OTHER THAN Joyva brand in the can, which is more condensed/drier than other types.

                    1. re: drucie

                      I was always taught to remove the contents from an opened can before storing in the frig. Is this what I need to do with the tahini from Joyva?

                      1. re: NativeNancy

                        I don't think there's any food safety issues about leaving it in the can (it's sold with a resealable lid after all), but if you expect to have it around for a while, a more tightly sealed container might help keep out fridge odors, etc. better than the can with lid.

                        [Edit] Oops, I think replaying to a 2 year old post is a new record for me...

              2. The bottled tahini needs to be treated much like peanut butter, which means if you refrigerate it, it will get hard and the oil will solidify. You can keep it in the pantry to avoid this, but it will still separate if you don't use it often. If you haven't used it in awhile, turn the jar upside down (on a plate, in case the top leaks) to allow the oil to reabsorb into the paste. If the oil goes rancid, you'll smell it before it makes you sick.

                1. I have recently tried the Jovya brand and I like it. The Jovya brand tahini sesame seeds are roasted so the flavor is very rich. Tradionally tahini is not made with roasted sesames seeds. It makes a big difference.

                  I usually keep my tahini out of the fridge. It lasts a few months, although I usually use it up within that time. I imagine that putting it in the fridge would make it last for about a year, like peanut butter. I will try that next time to extend its life.

                  1. 382 days, 7 hours, 4 minutes.

                    Seriously though, I'd taste a teeny bit of it to see if it's rancid before adding it to a dish.

                    Nobody can guarantee that a certain item won't give you food poisoning and kill you, but this sort of oily nut-butter like product will probably taste rancid for a very long time before it's so spoiled as to be dangerous.