How to Tell If Wheat Berries are Rancid? Let’s Find Out!

You are confused with your wheat berries if they are good or turned rancid? Wheat berries are basically wheat but without the husk. Taking good care of wheat berries is essential because they provide adequate nutrition and vitamins. But are the wheat berries still good or turned stale?

So, you’re thinking about how to tell if wheat berries are rancid?

Wheat berries if they are solid, right in shape and size, and have a tan color with hulls still attached are still in healthy condition. You won’t smell anything or get a nice sweet smell. Berries that have spots, look soggy, and get rancid should be thrown away at all costs.

Well, that was just a short overview of what rancidity looks like. To know more about rancidity and to prevent them read till the end of our article.

What Is Rancidity?

Rancidity is basically the oxidation of fat molecules in food items. The fat molecules react with oxygen from the air and lead to chemical reactions. As a result, mold is formed on it which is very smelly. 

In the presence of light and heat, these reactions are aggravated. Polyunsaturated food products are more prone to rancidity. For example-

  • Whole flours
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable oils
  • Nuts
  • Brown rice

How Long Do Wheat Berries Last?

Wheat berries can last for a long time if you know how to store them in the right way.

Wheat berries also expire after a certain time period. If wheat berries are kept in air-sealed containers with optimum temperature they can last for months. They can last for 3 years. And without any mold in the freezer and 30+ years in an oxygen-free container.


The shelf life of your wheat berries will depend on their initial freshness and storage method. If you store your wheat berries in a cool, dry location they won’t get stale for years.

Moisture is the primary reason for which the wheat berries develop rancidity. They provide the humidity in the room which attacks the wheat berries.  

Condensation is a serious concern when wheat berries are stored in the refrigerator. Wheat berries should be sealed and closed when stored in the refrigerator. Because when they are broken, they secrete oils that shorten the shelf life of wheat. 

Wheat berries are provided protection from getting rancidity and stale by their outer cover.

Now, you might be wondering how long do cooked wheat berries last? It can last for good up to 4 days and 6 months in the freezer. But before that, you need to know how to cook wheat berries.

Symptoms And Causes for Wheat Berries Getting Rancid

In this segment, we’ll be explaining the causes and symptoms. It will help you to understand when they generally get rancid. It will also help you to understand how to tell if farro is bad. So, read on. 

Rancidity from Oil

Oil is released from wheat berries when they are cracked open or crushed. Just within months, these oils become rancid. Even oxygen-free containers won’t be able to prevent oil rancidity.

Oftentimes, wheat berries will smell soapy, metallic, or bitter when their oil has gone rancid.

Since wheat berries release natural oils when they are milled, whole wheat flour goes rancid quickly. White flours bought from the store don’t go rancid at all. Because they have a bleaching effect and are processed highly.

Moisture is Our Archenemy

In the presence of moisture, wheat gets attacked by Aerobic bacteria. The surrounding moistness gets the wheat wet and soggy.

When wheat berries get mushy or develop mold, it’s because they were in contact with moisture. Each of these can be identified by rancid odors and mottled berries with dark spots.

The humidity level has to be 15% or less in the room where you store wheat. The humidity level we generally live in is higher than that. With the help of a dehumidifier, you can lower the humidity level.

You can already presume the symptoms of wheat berries going rancid in a non-oxygen-free space. You will be able to smell and see the mold and bacteria with open eyes.

Sometimes detecting bad wheat berries can be a tough job. For example when the wheat berries at the bottom of a bucket start showing signs of mildew. Here you can only see healthy wheat berries at the top.

Moisture is the archenemy of wheat berries when stored. It catalysts the growth of bacteria and fungus. As a result, all of the grains get rotten, developing dark spots on them.


Bugs are a common issue when it comes to grain including wheat berries. They are still inactive if no movement is observed. Berry packing processes may include chemicals like Phostoxin, but you won’t always know.

Utilize containers void of oxygen to ensure the maximum shelf life of wheat berries. It will terminate all bugs just within 2 weeks at any stage of life.

When bugs attack wheat berries, they get cracked and broken. They can be characterized by dead bugs, powdery substances, and look like being chewed on. Often bugs are also noticed moving around.


How to Keep Wheat Berries Away from Rancidity

Storage of wheat berries is dependent on your purpose of usage. When you store them for the long term is different than when you use them regularly for baking.

You should store wheat berries in a place with optimum temperature sealed in an airtight container. Ideally, long-term storage should be done in #10 cans properly packaged. It can also be stored with a combination of a bucket lined with a Mylar bag and an oxygen absorber. 

You might be thinking now about how long do wheat berries last in mylar bags. Well, Mylar bags offer the best storage environment for wheat berries making them last longer. 

To ensure the grains are in a healthy condition buy wheat berries in limited quantities. Keep in mind the expiration date and buy accordingly so you can use them before expiry.


Is It Healthy to Intake Rancid Food?

It might occur to you at this point that can you eat expired berries? Well, if you eat rancid food you probably won’t fall sick. But you might end up having digestive issues from the oxidation of new molecules formed. 

The healthy elements and nutrition of food get spoiled when they contain rancidity. Even though the consumption of rancid food or oils may not be harmful in small doses. According to experts, regular consumption may contribute to the development of inflammatory conditions and cardiovascular disease.


Do Grains Have An Expiration Date?

Yes, Grains also have an expiration date. You can ensure the maximum shelf life of your grains by the storage method. Grains generally last for 6 months to over a year if stored properly and the right way. 

What are the signs of good wheat?

Good Wheat berries can be identified by their physical appearance. A wheat’s physical properties include its weight, hardness, grain size and shape, and vitreousness. The physical properties of grains, for instance, wheat, contribute greatly to the quality of the grain. It also affects the outcomes of producing other products such as flour.

How can you utilize old wheat berries?

Old wheat berries can be used for many purposes. First, cover them in a wet towel for 24 hours. They will be ready to use by then. In a covered container, sprouted wheat berries can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. These sprouts can also be dried and ground into flour.


That was all about how to tell if wheat berries are rancid. We now hope that you will be able to differentiate between good and rancid wheat berries.

Before consuming, always look out for the symptoms of rancidity in wheat berries. Do not use them if they have developed mildew, mold, bacteria, or have any hot spots on them. They will not necessarily make you ill. But if mycotoxins are present in large amounts then you might get a bad stomach.

Good luck!