Technically, yes, tapioca pearls do expire. They can last anywhere between four hours to twelve months. After this time period, they are likely unsafe to eat, even though there is not much evidence of resulting illness.
How Long Do Tapioca Pearls Last?
Uncooked tapioca pearls can stay fresh for six to twelve months in the pantry if the area is free of moisture and humidity. Cooked tapioca pearls, on the other hand, will last for four hours on the counter, three to five days in the fridge, or two to three months in the freezer.
Natural and environmental exposure plays a significant role in the freshness of tapioca pearls. The three main factors that cause tapioca to expire are:
- air exposure
With that said, consuming tapioca pearls a few days or weeks past their expiry date is believed to be safe. If the pearls are stored in a cool and dry place, you can extend their intended life span by a few months.
How Do You Know if Tapioca Pearls Are Expired?
You can tell that tapioca pearls are unfit for consumption if you notice the presence of mold and discoloration on the pearls. If this is the case, then you should discard them right away.
A few white, moldy spots on a couple of pearls might not seem harmful, but they can make an entire pack of tapioca pearls inedible. For your safety, avoid cooking them further.
Another way to tell that the tapioca pearls are expired is by taking a simple sniff test. If the odor is off or the pearls smell sour, throw the entire batch out. Not only are these pearls potentially unsafe, but they’re not doing any favors in enhancing the flavor of your boba tea compared to a fresher batch.
Are Expired Tapioca Pearls Safe to Consume?
Boba pearls are generally okay to eat a week or two past their shelf life. They are made from simple ingredients- often just tapioca starch, brown sugar, and water.
One study has found that boba pearls didn’t contain any signs of microorganisms 90 days past their production date. They’ll taste off and might not have the same chewy texture, but they won’t give you food poisoning.
If your tapioca pearls have outlived their expiration date by a few months or more, you should avoid using them in your bubble tea and discard them. There is a chance you will not get sick, but it’s not worth the risk.
How to Store Cooked Tapioca Pearls
Keep cooked tapioca pearls in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to three days. A sealed plastic bag or Ziploc with excess air taken out of the bag should suffice. Don’t leave them out at room temperature for more than four hours, as this will make them go bad faster.
You can also freeze cooked tapioca pearls and enjoy them up to three months later. They may not have the same chewy texture as fresh pearls, but they’ll still taste delicious. Ensure that the Ziploc bag is placed flatly on the freezer so that there’s equal pressure on all the pearls.
To defrost them, grab a handful of tapioca pearls and place them in boiling water. Then, strain them in room temperature water. Soak them in a simple sugar syrup or honey. They’ll soak up the water and return to their chewy state, making them a delectable topping for milk tea.
How to Store Uncooked Tapioca Pearls
To keep uncooked boba from going bad, store them in a place that’s cooler than 77° Fahrenheit (25° Celcius). Make sure the area is dry and free from intense humidity. This way, you can keep the tapioca balls fresh for up to twelve months.
Also, it’s crucial to keep these tapioca pearls stored in a container that doesn’t let air in. You can tell that tapioca pearls have absorbed too much moisture if they start to stick together or if they become mushy. If you have space, you may preserve uncooked tapioca pearls in the refrigerator to prevent exposure to warm temperatures.
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