We've all been there. You're grocery shopping, you see a bag of chips on sale, and you think, "I'll just buy this even though it's close to the expiration date." And then you get home and realize you've made a terrible mistake. But what exactly happens to your chips when it expires? Do you have to throw it out? Can you eat it anyway? Keep reading to find out!
- Technically speaking, eating expired chips won't harm you. The chips, however, will probably not taste great because the quality will have degraded significantly.
- The chips may also be harder to digest since the expiration date is when the food starts to lose its nutritional value.
- So, while you might not get sick from eating expired chips, they're certainly not going to do your body any good.
What happens when you eat expired chips
Before anything else, it's important to note that chips generally don't expire in the traditional sense. Unlike milk or meat, chips don't go bad in days or weeks after expiration. In most cases, you can still safely eat chips several months after they've expired.
However, that doesn't mean that there won't be any changes in the quality of the chips. As chips age, they may lose some of their crunchiness and flavor. The colors may also start to fade.
Avoid buying chips in bulk, as they're likely to be older and not as fresh. So, while you probably won't get sick from eating expired chips, they may not taste as good as you'd like. If you're looking for the freshest possible chips, buying them from a store with a high turnover rate is best.
If you eat expired chips, don't worry – you'll probably be fine. Just be prepared that they may not taste as good as you'd like.
How do stale and expired chips differ?
It is essential to note the different types of chips before discussing the effects of eating them. A stale chip has lost its freshness after being stored for too long. On the other hand, expired chips are chips that have passed their expiration date. While the former is still safe to eat, the latter may not be.
When it comes to taste, expired chips are the clear losers. Stale chips may not taste as good as fresh chips, but they are still palatable. Expired chips, on the other hand, can taste incredibly bad. This is because the fats in expired chips have gone rancid. Rancid fats have an unpleasant taste and smell that can make chips inedible.
Both stale and expired chips are considerably less nutritious than fresh ones. Over time, chips lose their nutrients. Nevertheless, expired chips typically lose more nutrients than stale chips.
So, what happens if you eat expired chips?
There is not much to worry about when eating stale chips. They might not taste as good as fresh chips, but they are still safe to eat. While eating expired chips is undoubtedly not advisable, it is unlikely to cause serious harm.
The main issue with expired chips is that they may contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. An expired chip means the nutrients have begun to break down because it has been sitting in a storage container for so long. This makes them more susceptible to bacteria growth.
The main reason is that food manufacturers want to err on caution. The expiration date on a food product is when the manufacturer believes the product will no longer be safe to eat. After that date, the food may still be safe to eat, but it is not guaranteed.
When food goes bad, it can start to grow harmful bacteria. These bacteria can cause several different symptoms, including:
- Stomach cramps
How about stale chips?
Can you eat stale chips? Should you eat stale chips?
Let's face it. We've all been there. When looking for snacks in the pantry, you come across a bag of chips stashed away for a long time. The chips are a little stale, but they're still within the expiration date. So, can you eat them?
The answer is yes; you can still eat stale chips. However, they may not taste as good as fresh chips. The longer chips are stored, the staler they become. This is because chips contain a lot of starch, which can harden over time.
Can tortilla chips oxidize?
Tortilla chips can certainly oxidize, and the process can happen quite quickly depending on how old they are. Tortilla chips become stale and lose their flavor when they deteriorate. Additionally, the chips may become discolored or even develop mold. If you notice any of these changes in your tortilla chips, it is best to discard them.
If you do decide to eat stale chips, make sure to look for signs of spoilage first. These can include mold, unusual color changes, and an off-putting smell. As long as the chips show no signs of contamination, they are safe to eat. However, they might not taste as good as fresh chips. There may be a difference between the texture and the flavor of the chips.
Why do chips get stale?
Chips contain a lot of starch molecules that are hydrophilic, meaning they love water. When you bite into a chip, those starch molecules quickly absorb moisture from your saliva and start to swell. That's why chips turn soggy in your mouth so quickly!
Crispy fried chips leave these starchy molecules thirsty, attracting water molecules from the air. This process is called hygroscopy which then softens the chips, resulting in the loss of their crispiness or addictive crunch.
A similar process occurs with unopened bags of chips past their expiration date. It doesn't matter that the chips are sealed in an airtight container; the hygroscopy process still takes place. However, it occurs much slower since there's no moisture in the air for the starch molecules to absorb.
So, even if unopened chips aren't as crisp as when they were first made, they're still perfectly safe to eat.
Opening an unopened bag of chips and then sealing it again speeds up the hygroscopy process because moisture is now in the air for the starch molecules to absorb. This is why you may notice that your chips become softer and less crisp after you open them and then close the bag back up.
If you want to keep your chips fresh and crispy for as long as possible, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
How long are fresh tortilla chips good for?
The shelf life of tortilla chips depends on various factors, such as the type of chips, the packaging, and how they are stored.
Tortilla chips made from fresh tortillas will generally last 2-3 days when stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Packaged, unopened, store-bought tortilla chips usually have a shelf life of 1-2 months.
Air exposure causes chips to become stale. Why is that? It has to do with the oils in the chips. Those oils start to oxidize and turn rancid over time, making chips taste stale. The longer the air exposure, the staler they will become.
Moisture and air are the main enemies of chips when it comes to staleness. That's why sealed bags of chips usually have a "best by" date printed on them. Once that date passes, the chips are more likely to be stale. But that doesn't mean you have to throw them out immediately. If the chips are still in a sealed bag, they'll be fine for a while longer. Just be aware that they might not taste as fresh as they once did.
How long do tortilla chips last after the expiration date?
Many people have experienced the dismay of reaching into a bag of chips only to find that they have gone stale. The chips may have lost their crispness, but they are still safe to eat.
So, how long do tortilla chips last after the expiration date? In most cases, the chips will be fine for up to two weeks after the date on the package. Obviously, this assumes you stored the chips in a cool, dry environment. They may not last as long in a humid or heated climate.
What's the risk of eating expired tortilla chips? If the chips have lost their flavor, they will not be delightful to eat. And if the chips are hard and brittle, they may not be easy to chew. There's also a risk of food poisoning if the chips are moldy. So, it's probably not worth it to eat expired tortilla chips.
How to store chips to avoid going stale
Keeping your chips in a proper storage environment will extend their shelf life. They'll keep for up to three months, giving you enough time to plan what to serve with your nachos next.
1 Store in a sealed container
An airtight container will prevent your chips from going stale. Keeping the chips in this manner will prolong their shelf life.
2 Store chips in the freezer
I've learned to store chips in the freezer to keep them from becoming stale. Of course, if you're going to be snacking after a couple of hours, pantry storage is probably better. But if you have a half-full or more bag, the freezer will help keep them fresh and crispy longer.
How does the freezer method work?
The freezer method works by keeping the chips below the dew point. The freezer is the most sealed and airtight environment in your house. By maintaining the chips in the freezer, you're essentially giving them a time-out from being exposed to oxygen and moisture, which causes them to be stale.
Chips don't freeze in the usual sense—they just get very cold. How is that? Well, chips are dried and salted potato slices. When potato slices are dried, they lose water content and become crisp. Salting them helps to remove moisture further.
So, next time you find a bag of chips languishing in the back of your pantry, don't toss them! Stick them in the freezer for a bit, and you'll be able to enjoy fresh, crisp chips once again.
Another way to keep your chips fresh is to buy them in small quantities. That way, you're less likely to have a lot of leftover chips that end up going stale. When it comes to chips, it's always better to have too little than too much!
Eventually, the chips will become so stale that they will be inedible. The best way to keep your chips fresh is to store them in an airtight container. That way, the oil stays fresh, and the chips remain tasty.
Is there anything you can do with stale tortilla chips?
If you have a big bag of chips starting to stale, there are plenty of ways to use them.
1 One way to use stale chips is to make them into crumbs. You can use crumbs to top casseroles or as a breading for chicken or fish. Chips such as tortilla chips and potato chips work well with this technique.
2 Another way to use stale chips is to make them into a dip. If you have a food processor, pulsing the chips will break them up, then add in some fresh herbs, spices, and other ingredients to make a delicious dip.
3 If you don't want to eat the chips immediately, you can seal them in a bag and freeze them. It will help extend their shelf life and allow you to enjoy them for a more extended period.
4 If you have some chips that are a little stale, there's an easy way to freshen them up. Just put them in the microwave for 30 seconds. The heat will help reactivate the oils and make the chips taste fresher. But be careful not to overcook them, or you'll end up with soggy chips!
5 Another option is to use them in a recipe where other flavors will cover them up. For example, you could use stale chips in a casserole or as breading for chicken.
Stale chips: How to make them crispy again?
While your first instinct is to toss them and open a new bag, there are a few hacks that can bring your chips back to life. You don't want to overcook tortilla chips and make them soggy.
1 Revive them in the oven.
If you have opened a bag of chips and some of them have gone stale, you can try reviving them by placing the chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Spread the chips, so they are not touching each other, then bake them at 350°F in a preheated oven for about 3 to 5 minutes. This will help to re-crisp the chips and make them taste fresh again.
2 Try the microwave.
Put the chips on a plate lined with a paper towel and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds on high before serving, and all that moisture will evaporate. The result is a crunchy, new batch of chips.
3 Air fryer.
Preheat your air fryer to 400°F and then place the chips in a single layer on the air fryer basket. Cook for 2-4 minutes or until crisp. For best results, shake the basket every 30 seconds to prevent the chips from burning. It's a great way to revitalize stale chips.
What makes chips crispy or crunchy?
It's the moisture. During the frying process, chips lose a lot of water, making them much crunchier.
How is that? When water is heated, it breaks down into smaller molecules that escape as vapor. That's why when you cook something like chicken, it tends to get dryer the longer you cook it.
But chips are different. The outside of the chip forms a hard shell while it is frying, preventing moisture from escaping. Consequently, chips sitting out for some time may taste stale or soft. It happened because the moisture within the chip had a chance to escape through the shell.
So, if air softens chips, why don't they already come out of the bag?
According to a study, chip bags contain as much as 70% air by volume. That means there's a lot of extra space for the chips to break and for oxygen to circulate.
But here's the thing, chip bag engineers are ahead of the curve as far as staleness is concerned. Nitrogen gas fills them instead of regular air. That's why you always get puffy air when you open the bag for the first time.
What is nitrogen? It's an inert gas, meaning it doesn't interact chemically with other elements. It's also less dense than oxygen, so it takes up more space. For this reason, it's used in chip bags, tires, and other things that prevent oxygen from getting in and ruining the product.
The same principle applies to other vacuum-packed foods like cereal, nuts, and coffee. Those foods will be fine to eat if the package is unopened. But once you open the bag, the clock starts ticking.
Crushed chips during storage or transportation make them less appealing to consumers. When you buy a bag of chips, you expect to open it and find whole, intact chips inside. Furthermore, chip bags are inflated for the same reason: to keep the chips from being crushed.
What is the air content of your chip bag?
Opening a new bag of chips and discovering that most of it are air-filled is quite disappointing.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that a certain amount of space be present in packages of food products like chips to ensure the safety of consumers. This space is necessary to allow the product to "breathe" and prevents it from being crushed during transport.
When it comes to chips, the amount of air in the bag also serves to keep the chips from going stale. The air helps to keep the chips crisp by absorbing any moisture that might try to make its way into the bag.
What are tortilla chips made of?
Tortilla chips are made of ground masa from either fresh masa or dry flour that is sheeted, formed into chips, and fried or baked.
Masa is a traditional Mexican ingredient made from maize dough from ground nixtamalized corn. It is used for various dishes, including tortillas, tamales, and pupusas. It is dried and powdered into flour, which you can then use to make fresh masa dough or as a binding agent in various recipes.
What kind of corn is used to make tortilla chips?
Tortilla chips are made from yellow or white corn. Masa is made by grinding corn into a dough. After that, it is formed into thin sheets and cut into small triangles. Finally, the chips are fried until golden brown and crispy.
Are tortilla chips baked or fried?
Tortilla chips are usually fried, although some brands (like Santitas) are oven-baked. Frying the chips gives them a crispy texture, while oven-baked chips are usually a little softer.
How does it work? During the frying process, the heat from the oil causes the water in the chips to turn into steam. This steam expands and puffs up the chips, making them crunchy and fluffy on the inside.
In most cases, tortilla chips are fried in vegetable oil. This oil has a relatively high smoke point, which you can heat to a high temperature before it begins to smoke. Consequently, fried tortilla chips are safer than some other types of chips fried in oil with a lower smoke point.
However, even though fried tortilla chips are cooked at a high temperature, they can still go bad if they are not stored properly.
Which tortilla chips are better: Fried or oven-baked?
When it comes to tortilla chips, there are two main types: fried and oven-baked. Both types have unique flavors and textures, so it comes down to personal preference.
Fried tortilla chips are usually denser and have a crunchier texture, while oven-baked chips are lighter and more delicate.
As for the flavor, fried tortilla chips tend to be a bit saltier and have a deeper, more complex flavor, while oven-baked chips are milder in taste.