The realm of tea is enchanting, offering an array of options that can make choosing a favorite a delightful challenge. If you've already explored this diverse world, chances are you have your preferred blends.
A comforting cup of tea has the power to ease muscle tension, alleviate stress, and usher in a good night's sleep after a bustling day. When tea becomes a cherished part of your daily routine, it's only natural to want it by your side during emergencies. In stressful situations, a cup of tea can be a calming presence, helping you stay relaxed, focused, and better equipped to navigate challenges.
But how can you ensure your favorite tea is efficiently stored for the long term in DIY food storage? Here's a guide to help you understand the essentials of preserving your beloved tea blends.
Shelf-Life of Tea
- The average shelf-life of tea is 18-36 months when stored in a pantry.
- With exposure to heat, oxygen, or humidity, tea can lose its flavor and texture. The antioxidants, oils, and other natural components go rancid quickly.
- Compared to tea dust or fanning, broken-leaf tea lasts longer. Broken-leaf tea has a smaller surface area, reducing the chances of rancidity.
- Be wary of pantry pests and insects such as Indian meal moths. This pest can spoil the tea and make it inedible.
- If tea is stored properly, it can last for up to 10 years or more.
5 Ways to Store Tea Long-Term
1. Mason Jars
You can store tea in mason jars. These airtight containers will protect the tea from spoilage. Make sure to store these jars in a cool, dry, and dark place to protect them from deterioration.
To protect it from oxygen, make sure to add oxygen absorbers to mason jars. This will protect the tea from going rancid. Tea stored in mason jars will stay edible for 1-3 years.
2. Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers
One of the best ways to store tea for 10 years or more is storing it in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.
Mylar bags are made with food-grade material, have high tensile strength, and are puncture-resistant. So, it will protect the tea from exposure to light, moisture, and insects. Moreover, when you add oxygen absorbers in Mylar bags, it can remove all the oxygen.
These conditions make tea stay edible indefinitely. Although tea will degrade over time, the rate of degradation will be much slower.
Tea can stay fresh for longer when stored in the freezer. You can double-wrap the tea to ensure it doesn’t absorb other smells in your freezer.
Freezing temperatures will slow down the degradation of antioxidants, oils, and other natural components of the tea. You can also use Mylar bags to store tea in the freezer.
4. Nitrogen Flushing
Several bigger tea brands use nitrogen flushing before sealing their tea packages. The packages are filled with nitrogen gas. Since nitrogen is heavier than oxygen, it pushes all the oxygen outside the package.
No oxygen, no spoilage. Nitrogen keeps food items such as tea fresh and edible long-term. The tea can be stored indefinitely. However, you need to ensure the package is properly sealed and isn’t banged or bumped. If the seal breaks, the nitrogen will come out and oxygen can enter thus spoiling the tea.
5. Pu’er Tea Bricks or Cakes
You can buy Pu’er Tea Bricks or Cakes which is a type of aged tea. This tea is aged for up to 10 years which degrades antioxidants. However, it forms new and beneficial phytochemicals that offer a mellower taste.
If you find a brick, you need to chip away small pieces to make tea. However, Pu’er Tea cakes are smaller in size and can be used as is to make the tea.
Pu’er Tea is not for everyone. It has a distinct taste and not everybody would like it. Store this tea only if you have tried it before and like how it tastes. You can store it indefinitely without oxygen absorbers as it is meant to be aged.
If tea is a critical part of your daily routine, you can store it for a long time using the above methods.If you are looking for more tips and advice for long-term storage or using Mylar bags, make sure to read our blog. Check it out now and keep following for more.