Learn how to properly store tortillas in the freezer, the refrigerator and room temperature.
What comes to your mind when you think of tortillas? Does your mouth water, thinking about the different appetizing food combinations you can make using them? Many scrumptious dinners can be made using tortillas; ranging from chicken burritos to cheesy quesadillas. Nothing can match the satisfaction of eating a freshly cooked tortilla covered in your favorite chicken cheese topping and a dash of fresh basil.
Tortillas find their roots in Mexican history, where they originated during the 15th Century. Mexicans were, and still are, fond of flour tortillas. Their cuisine is majorly based on tortillas. The flour is whisked with salt and baking powder. Then, water is added to the mixture until soft dough is formed. The dough is kneaded gently and rolled into a ball. Using a rolling pin, the dough ball is rolled into a thin, circular tortilla. It is then cooked in a hot skillet until the tortilla rises and turns golden.
It takes a little bit of time and effort to cook the perfect tortilla. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook, you can always grab readymade tortillas from the supermarket. Make sure you check the expiry date mentioned on the packaging. Also, do study the ingredients carefully. Some ingredients tend to make tortillas go bad real quick. For instance, corn tortillas last longer than flour tortillas.
Freshness is the main key to make a delicious snack. If your ingredients aren’t fresh then, you won’t enjoy eating your food. To make the perfect burritos, you need to make sure you are using fresh tortillas. If you leave your tortillas on the kitchen counter overnight, they will definitely go bad, which is why you need to learn the right way of storing tortillas at home.
Your tortillas might end up with a layer of mold if you leave them uncovered. You should always seal tortillas in a container that keeps them away from air. There are many ways to keep tortillas fresh. We will discuss ways to make your tortillas last for a week or even two. So, let’s have a look at the methods of storing tortillas.
Storing tortillas at room temperature in a cool, dry place will make them last for a few days. If you need to use the leftover tortillas from last night to make a burrito and take it with you to work, make sure the tortillas were stored correctly. If they are not stored in a suitable environment, you’ll find them covered in mold. The bread can go stale if you leave it uncovered, in direct contact with the air.
Here are some tips that you can follow if you wish to store tortillas at room temperature:
- If you have bought tortillas from the supermarket, try to store them in their original packaging. Find a spot in your kitchen or pantry where there is no sunlight. Ensure that they are kept in a cool and dry place. Moisture will ruin the taste of your bread and, it will promote the growth of mold.
- You can also store tortillas in an airtight container. There are different containers available in the market. You can choose from plastic, glass or a steel container. If you are looking for an option to hide the leftover tortillas from your tortilla loving siblings, you should opt for a steel container. Nobody can guess what’s inside a steel container until they open it. Nobody’s got time for that, right?
- If you think an airtight container is too much of an investment for food storage, then you should go for plastic bags. Sealable plastic bags are a good option for food storage. They save your tortillas from the air, keeping them soft and fresh. Food storage plastic bags are of two types; zip top and a seal top. You can choose any bag that you like.
- Using plastics is not good for the environment. If you are planning to go green, then you wouldn’t be using a plastic bag to store your food. Another viable option for storing tortillas at room temperature is to use a deep dish and line it with wax paper. Put the tortillas in the dish and cover it using aluminum foil. This will ensure that your tortillas stay away from air and moisture. They will remain soft and fresh for a day.
- If you are storing a tortilla snack such as a burrito or an enchilada, you cannot store it using this method. These snacks contain other ingredients like meat and cheese that will go bad at room temperature, very quickly. You need to store these items in the fridge.
If you want to store tortillas for a longer time, try refrigerating them. They will last for up to 2 weeks. The refrigerator provides a cool environment which slows down the growth of bacteria and mold. If you are living in a place that has a warm climate, storing tortillas at room temperature is not an option. The warm temperature will favor bacterial growth.
Make sure you follow these tips when storing tortillas in the fridge:
- If you have an unopened pack of tortillas and you want to save them for later, you can place the unopened bag in your fridge. Otherwise, if you have an opened bag or you have cooked tortillas at home, you can opt for storing them in the fridge.
- You can wrap the tortillas in a plastic bag and place it inside the fridge. This will keep them away from the moisture present inside. You can store them for a good 2 weeks.
- If you don’t have sealable plastic bags at home, you can use an empty airtight container. You should pile the tortillas in the container and cover it tightly. Your tortillas will remain soft for a long time.
- To prevent the tortillas from sticking together, make sure you place a sheet of wax paper between them.
- You can also place tortillas on a plate and cover it using a cling film. If you don’t have cling film, use an aluminum foil to cover the plate. The plate can be kept in the fridge. The covering will protect your tortillas from moisture inside the fridge.
- Do keep a check on the tortillas while they rest in the fridge. Check the surface of the top-most tortilla and the edges of the pile. If you see any mold growth then, the tortillas need to go in the bin.
Eating tortillas right after they are out of the fridge, isn’t a good idea. You have to heat them up first. You shouldn’t heat them too much that they lose their freshness. All you need to do is to place a single tortilla on a plate. Keep the plate in the microwave oven and heat it for 10 seconds. Then, open the microwave and check the tortilla by pressing it gently. If it is soft and perfectly heated then you can take it out. If you think it needs a little bit more heating then, heat it for another 10 seconds. By now, the tortilla would be perfectly heated up. You can wrap it up in a burrito or use it to make a tortilla pizza.
We’ve got a few tips to make your tortillas last in the refrigerator for a long time. By following these tips,
you will thank us for saving your food.
- Use a refrigerator thermometer to check the temperature of your fridge. Make sure it is below 5 degrees. Otherwise, use the temperature knob present inside the fridge to lower the temperature.
- Do not put too many items in the fridge at once. If your fridge is fully packed, there will be no space left for air circulation and your food will not be cooled down properly.
- Do not store spoiled food inside your fridge. Check your fridge for such items and throw them in the bin as soon as possible.
- Foods that have a strong smell such as onions and garlic should be kept covered inside the fridge, or else, their odor will linger onto other food items.
Freezing tortillas is the best option for long-term storage. The temperature in your freezer is below zero degrees. Freezing temperatures slow down microorganisms present on food. They are unable to make the food rot as quickly as they do at higher temperatures.
If you ended up buying too many tortillas from the supermarket or you have invited your friends for a burrito party next week and, you need to store the tortillas in advance, you must consider freezing them. Freezing them will make their texture change slightly but, that’s okay, isn’t it?
Here are some tips that you can follow if you wish to store tortillas in the freezer.
- To store tortillas in the freezer, place them in a sealable plastic bag. Make sure you keep them separated by placing a layer of parchment paper between the tortillas. This will help you separate the tortillas easily when you take them out of the freezer.
- You can also use an air-tight container instead of a plastic bag but, layering tortillas with wax paper is important.
- If you don’t have a plastic bag or an airtight container at your house, you can use pieces of cardboard. Cut the cardboard into flat pieces that can fit the tortillas. Place a layer of wax paper to keep them separated. Then, place one piece of cardboard on top and the other piece at the bottom of your tortilla stack. This will help keep the tortillas in shape. Next, use a cling film to seal the tortilla stack along with the cardboard. You can place this sealed package of tortillas into your freezer for storing the tortillas for about 3 to 4 weeks.
- When you take the tortillas out of the freezer, place them in the microwave for 30 seconds to defrost them. Check if they have been warmed enough, if not, then heat them for 10 more seconds. They will be perfectly heated and you can enjoy eating them.
- If you don’t want to use a microwave oven, you can use a pre-heated skillet to warm the tortillas. Place them on the skillet and heat one side. After it is done, heat the other side as well. Make sure you don’t burn them by heating too much.
Now that you know how to store tortillas at home, they would be happy when you save them from rotting. We hope you will follow this guide and store you tortillas the right way.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.