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tortillas - refrigerate or not?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Should I refrigerate store-bought tortillas after opening?

 

They tend to get a lot of moisture condensation in the plastic bag if I keep them in the fridge. I think they would actually be better off left out of the fridge after opening, though the packaging says not to.

 

Here's what it says on the MissionFoods website FAQ:

 

Quote:

I bought a package of tortillas and they were not refrigerated at the store. Should I refrigerate them at home?

 

Not necessarily. The tortillas will last at ambient temperature until the date printed on the package. If they are placed in the refrigerator until they are ready to be used, they will last longer. The shelf life in the refrigerator varies depending on the conditions the product was stored prior to placing them in a refrigerated container.

 

How long can we keep the tortillas after opening the package?

 

It depends on the handling conditions the product was exposed to. If you are not going to consume the whole package after opening it, wash your hands, remove the tortillas you will need and tightly close the package. The product should be good until the expiration date printed on the package.

post #2 of 26

I always refrigerate but it takes me several days to eat a whole package of tortillas. I put them in a plastic or ziplock bag first. They do dry out a little but are easily revived by steaming or frying them.  They last a long time in the fridge. I should probably mention that the tortillas I buy are often still warmish when I buy them and are packaged in paper wrappers, not plastic.

post #3 of 26

I used to keep them out of the fridge. But it gets hot here so you get moisture condensation out of the fridge too. So either you leave them like that and they rot, or you take them out of the bag and they dry out.

 

Now I keep them out of the fridge for 24 hours, then in the fridge they go, after pricking little holes in the plastic bag that contains them.

 

Another thing I do with herbs and salads to avoid rotting is to add one or two paper towels in the container/bag to absorb moisture. Never tried it with tortillas though. Just an idea. 

post #4 of 26
Since you live in SoCal where it's easy to come by good tortillas, I suggest buying fresh on the day -- no longer than day before -- you need them.

Almost wherever you live here, you can do a lot better than Mission (which, admittedly, is far from bad). Try and find a tortilleria which bakes on premises. In addition to stand alone Mexican bakeries, all the big chain Mexican markets have them. And since they do a few other things better than the big, SoCal, gabacho chain supers (produce for instance), it's worth working one into your weekly rotation.

BDL
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post #5 of 26

First, I agree where you live there should be oodles of them readily available.  I have found if you leave them in the fridge the flour tortilla (and possibly to a degree with the corn) this prevents the potential stick-and-tear problem which I believe comes from the temperature allowing the surfaces to mend a bit between tortillas.

post #6 of 26

one more vote for buying fresh, but if you can't i would freeze them if you're not eating them everyday. that way you pull out what you need when you need it....if you buy the 'real deal' mexican flour tortillas(the ones that are so thin you can see through and would probably light if you held a match to them for all the lard in them), i would definitely freeze them as they mold fairly quickly.

on the other hand, corn tortillas don't do as well in the freezer, but do last a long time in the fridge.

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #7 of 26

Buying fresh tortillas daily at a "Mexican" market is a good idea, and making them is even better.  But unless one has a tribe to feed it is very easy to have leftover tortillas.  The advise you quoted from the Mission web site corresponds with my experience.  It applies to all tortillas regardless of brand.  Rather than refirgerator storage, I freeze if they will remain on the counter for more than a ew days.  Alternatively, I throw them away... they are relatively inexpensive (although that does offend my innate sense of thriftyness).  My experience with freezing tortillas, inlcuding corn, has been good except for the top and bottom ones that tend to go dry/flaky in the freezer.

post #8 of 26

I agree with fresh too!

There's a nice man that comes every Saturday afternoon and parks his beater car on the "main drag", if you want to call it that, and sells fresh corn and flour tortillas, DELISH!!  And then I freeze them, but I buy the flour, not so much a fan of the corn ones.

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post #9 of 26
Quote:
should i refrigerate store-bought tortillas after opening?

one more answer...do you refrigerate your bread after opening?remember that bacteria runs amuck at room temperature.

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #10 of 26

Nope, I do NOT refrigerate bread after opening.

 

Bacteria can only "run rampant" withing the danger zone, i.e. 40°F< ?? < 135°F ( 4°C<??<57°C) IF there is sufficient free water available. A great majority of baked goods have insufficient free water, now, OTOH, molds can have a field day...
 

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post #11 of 26

yes mold of course but my thinking here is if there is condensation in the bag of bread or tortillas....isn't mold caused by bacteria? and isn't there bacteria in mold?

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by durangojo View Post

yes mold of course but my thinking here is if there is condensation in the bag of bread or tortillas....isn't mold caused by bacteria? and isn't there bacteria in mold?

joey

TTBOMK, mold is a fungus, not a bacteria, similar to mushrooms crazy.gif, not all molds are toxic or dangerous.

 

Condensation is not the same as available water, in fact, condensation may actually smother some bacterias.

 

BTA, WTHDIK

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post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well, I've been trying the non-refrigerated approach for the last several weeks and it seems much better to me than keeping the tortillas in the fridge. No water condensing in the bag like it was doing in the fridge, and the tortillas seem to stay perfectly fresh.

 

I wonder if the problem with the water condensation had to do with the type of fridge I'm using now. I used to have a normal frost-free fridge, and now I use a compact fridge that I need to periodically defrost manually. It isn't just the tortillas. I notice that anything stored in resealable plastic containers in the fridge develops water condensation inside. Not a whole lot, but enough droplets that if you take lid off and tilt it, some droplets will run off. I never had that sort of thing with any previous fridge I've owned.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken View Post
Condensation is not the same as available water, in fact, condensation may actually smother some bacterias.

Interesting.

post #15 of 26

Condensation which occurs in a sealed bag or container comes from water in the air ("humidity") within the container.  It has nothing to do with the refrigerator other than that colder air has less capacity to hold water than warmer. 

 

Water is water is water.  There's nothing special about water which condenses out of humid air.  Same ol' H2O.  What do you think rain is?

 

BDL


Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/25/12 at 4:54pm
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post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

Condensation which occurs in a sealed bag or container comes from water in the air within the container.

Agreed.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

It has nothing to do with the refrigerator.


Then how does one explain condensation occurring in fridge "B", and not in fridge "A"?

Could it be due to a change in location rather than a change in fridge style? In that fridge "A" was located inland, and fridge "B" is near the coast?

post #17 of 26

Then how does one explain condensation occurring in fridge "B", and not in fridge "A"?

Could it be due to a change in location rather than a change in fridge style? In that fridge "A" was located inland, and fridge "B" is near the coast?

As long as we're talking about containers which were first sealed outside of the refrigerators, the difference in the amounts of condensed water contained within them after refrigerating was a result of the differences in the humidity of the respective environments.  

 

The term "frost free" does not refer to the refrigerator but to the freezer. 

 

BDL

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post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The term "frost free" does not refer to the refrigerator but to the freezer. 

That's just it. I think it has something to with the fact that the compact fridge doesn't have a separate freezer. It just has a little non-frost-free "freezer" compartment (along with all its regular frost build-up) inside the same space as the fridge. So my theory is that all that frost in the "freezer" compartment creates a higher humidity level inside the fridge in general. That's why I think one could say the condensation does have something to do with the type of refrigerator. Just my theory.

post #19 of 26

OK. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin' ...

 

Tortillas don't last long at my house.  I've got a wonderful grocery that gets them fresh daily, that has the med./regular sized in packs of 12 for 99¢.  Anyway, I just finished a pack bought on monday, that was left in a basket on the counter.  I also dug one out of the refrigerator that was dated from March.  You really couldn't tell the difference, outside of a partially cracked ridge on the March issue.  Both were the same brand, from a Mexican bakery/distributer in Chicago.  I'm not saying that refrigeration is the way to go, because we don't really do that at my house.  This was kinda a fluke.  I've eaten tortillas over a week old from the same basket on the counter.  Maybe the only problem I've seen from leaving them out is that they get sorta dry, and crack more easily. 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

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post #20 of 26

yet another chime is that the bags that tortillas come in are not airtight...they are porous, as in, if you put water in them it would not hold even slightly...they are not made for that.... i certainly am not even remotely scientific but it stands to reason then that if air goes in and air goes out it gets trapped in the plastic and causes condensation within the bag which results in soggy, moldy tortillas...ole'

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #21 of 26

Im a food storage nut, saving for when what going to happen, happens. I use food saver bags for everything. Well I did an experiment on tortillas and bought a package from the store, shrinkwrapped them in food saver bags and stored them with my other foods unrefrigerated. I opened the package after 6 months of storage and they were just as good as they were when I stored them. Dont know for sure how long they would last like that at room temp but next time I will shoot for a year. Some of my food is packaged to last 25 years if need be.

post #22 of 26

geez, 

so just when do you think this armageddon is going to happen? do you really have food that will last 25 years? like what? anything good? wow, a new world order......i'd better start cookin' and building a bunker! cool.gif

joey


Edited by durangojo - 10/15/12 at 6:12am

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #23 of 26

Gabacho? Why you gotta make it racist?

post #24 of 26

A dollar for 12 tortillas? You're getting hosed. Are you in the Midwest or something?

post #25 of 26

I split into meal portions(I usually eat the same thing 2-3 days in a row to use up leftovers so say 6 tortillas in a bag) and foddsaver and freeze the rest.  I really need to start making my own, need to buy a tortilla press though. Then I could make just what I need for 2-3 days.

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 

Since the thread got bumped, I'll just mention that I've been leaving my tortillas out of the fridge for the past 2 years and very happy with the results! I manage to finsh a bag of 8-11 in about a week with no noticable spoilage at all. They stay nice and soft in the bag. (so long as I remember to reclose the zip seal on the bag!)

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