5 Ways To Maximise The Shelf-Life Of Cooked Dal

If you’re worried about storing cooked dal for multiple days, fret not! There are some great ways to maximise their shelf-life and to help them retain their freshness. There are some key things which play a role, like letting dal cool to room temperature before putting it in the freezer or vacuum sealing it. Watery dals can be harder to store and may lose out on their freshness faster than dense dal. Being liquid-based, they are more prone to bacterial growth. Drier or firm dal or lentil soups are easier to store in the fridge. Here are 6 ways you can maximise the shelf-life of your dals.

Start With Cooking It Right

To keep dal fresh for long, make sure that the dal is adequately cooked to eliminate any chances of undercooking, which affects taste and also increases the risk of spoilage. Moreover, wash the dal before cooking and use clean utensils, since adhering to proper hygiene standards reduces the risk of contamination.

Store It Right

Airtight containers help create a barrier against external elements, such as air and moisture, which contribute to the deterioration of the dal's quality. If you want to store a mid-sized bowl of dal, you can simply store it in the refrigerator over 2-3 days. 

If you want to store it for longer, divide the cooked dal into smaller portions. This helps in faster cooling but also allows you to thaw and reheat only the amount needed, reducing the frequency of opening and closing the storage container.

For longer storage (a month) you can also consider freezing the cooked dal. Freezing helps preserve the dal's texture and flavour more effectively than refrigeration alone. Use freezer-safe containers or bags and remove as much air as possible from the container or bag before sealing.

Pay Attention To The Amount Of Water Used

You can cut down on the amount of water if you’re planning to store it for a few days. If the recipe calls for cooking dal and water in a 1:3 ratio, you don’t actually have to use three portions of water when you’re cooking it especially if you’re using pre-cooked or softened dal.

 Cook the dal with only 1:2 ratios of dal to liquid and don’t add the 3rd cup of water until you need to reheat the dal after refrigerating it. So when you need to add some water while reheating it, it’s already adjusted for that proportion of water. This will make sure the taste of your dal is not diluted over time

Natural Preservatives Can Help

Add natural preservatives during the cooking process. Ingredients like turmeric, asafoetida (hing), and fenugreek seeds not only enhance the flavour but also possess antimicrobial properties, which help preserve the freshness of the dal.

Lemon juice or vinegar also act as a preservative. Interestingly, they also offer a tangy flavour and these acidic elements create an environment less conducive to bacterial growth.

Vacuum Sealing

Use vacuum-sealed bags or containers to remove excess air from the packaging. This method significantly slows down the oxidation process, helping maintain the dal's freshness for a more extended period