How to Tell If Grain Has Gone Bad


A moldy slice of bread will ruin your sandwich, and possibly your appetite. Knowing how to tell if your grains have gone bad can help you put together quality meals, while avoiding old foods that will leave you with a foul taste. You can extend the shelf life of your grains by the way you store them. For instance, keeping bread in the freezer reduces the rate of mold growth and storing your pastas and rice in the dark can delay the expiration process.


  • Check the expiration date on the packaging. If you are well past the expiration date, you can assume the product is no longer good to eat. If you are within the expiration date, or just a couple of days past it, then you can evaluate the quality of the bread to see whether it is still good enough to eat.

  • Squeeze the bread loaf to check for tenderness or moisture. If the bread is so hard that it does not give any evidence of tenderness or moisture, then it has become stale and is probably bad.

  • Look for mold. Any discoloration in a green or grey color is evidence of mold. The mold could be present on the exterior of the bread, or inside the bread slices, so check the bread by separating the slices first.

Other Grains

  • Evaluate your storage method. Uncooked grains, such as rice and couscous, that are left in an unopened package can be stored for a long time. However, once you open the container or box of grains you expose the grains to air, which allows bacteria to form. If your grains are already cooked, determine whether they were stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. Cooked grains last longer in the freezer. For instance, cooked rice can last in the fridge for 3 to 5 days, whereas the freezer keeps it good for 6 months.

  • Smell the grains. Spoiled grains will emit an offensive smell, such as a sour odor.

  • Inspect the grains for signs of worms. Grain that is old or has gone bad will produce bacteria causing worms to make the grains their habitat.

  • Feel the grains. Grains should feel dry. If they have gone bad, the grains might feel mushy, slimy or moist to the touch.

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