Most foods eventually go bad, including falafel. This perishable food made predominately from chickpeas or beans, onions and spices, can be deep-fried or pan-fried and served on a salad or nestled in a sandwich. While dried mixes last longer than a freshly made falafel ball, all falafel will eventually go bad.
Keeping Falafel Safe
Falafel is made from chickpeas or beans, which are shelf stable when dried, but perishable when cooked. Whether you are using a dry mix or making falafel from scratch, it is important you refrigerate both the uncooked, but prepared falafel mix as well as cooked falafel patties within two hours of preparing to prevent spoilage. Falafel should not be left in the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit where bacteria multiply quickly and can cause foodborne illness.
Dried Falafel Mix
Dried falafel mix does not need to be refrigerated or frozen because the moisture has been removed by drying the mixture. Store an opened package of falafel mix in an airtight zip-top bag for up to one year. While falafel mix is not necessarily unsafe to eat after more than a year, the quality will deteriorate. If your falafel mix has an off smell or any noticeable spoilage, throw it out without tasting it. Once mixed with water to reconstitute, store falafel mix for no longer than three days, covered and refrigerated. Store cooked falafel made from dry mix within two hours of preparing to prevent spoilage and keep it no longer than four days.
Homemade falafel, both cooked and uncooked, is perishable and should always be stored in the refrigerator within two hours of both preparing and cooking. Store both unused falafel mix and cooked falafel in the refrigerator, covered, for up to four days. Cooked falafel tastes best and retains its crisp coating if fried or baked right before serving. While leftovers are convenient and can be used, it is better to refrigerate the mix and fry fresh falafel when you need them.
Frozen falafel can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. While it won’t go bad after three months, the texture and taste may start to deteriorate. Reheat frozen falafel in your microwave, oven or toaster oven until the internal temperature registers at 165 F using a kitchen thermometer. The oven and toaster oven provide the best crisping when reheating falafel, but the microwave is the fastest. Refrigerate leftover falafel wrapped in airtight packaging within two hours of preparation and use them within three days.
References and ResourcesGreen Lifestyle Magazine: Lebanon and Beyond
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Leftovers and Food Safety
U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service: Danger Zone