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How do I store bought-warm corn tortillas to keep fresh longer?

reheating tortillas has been discussed here After refridgerating 24hrs, a quick reheat in micowave or on griddle yielded a pliable tortilla for tacos. 48hrs in fridge, Fat-free reheating methods yielded a flacky easily-cracked-when-folded taco. Absolutely didn't let them dry out.

Room temp storage or other tips for keeping fresh longer?

Will hold off on frying to soften as long as possible

  • I am curious if oxygen-free ie nitrogen storage keeps tortillas pliable but not flakey. Just don't understand WHAT change takes place that isn't drying out...? – Pat Sommer May 18 '17 at 18:33
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My personal experience is that corn tortillas will stay more pliable if stored at room temperature, but may not last as long. I'd assumed that I could find some head-to-head tests from one of the usual sources, but surprisingly not, which means that it's more likely that storing them in the fridge vs. counter doesn't actually make any difference.

Regardless of where they're stored, though, corn tortillas will only be pliable for a few days. Even my homemade tortillas are really only good for 3-4 days, before they're good for nothing but making chips.

If you're buying them warm, first you want to store them in the open or wrapped in cloth while they're cooling (so that moisture evaporates and they don't get moldy), and then immediately put them in airtight packaging (so that they don't dry any further).

Incidentally, there's one other way of heading tortillas: putting them in a moist container (a cloth wrapper or a plastic food cointainer) and microwaving them for a short time. This effectively steams them, and the tortillas will be pliable until they cool.

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There is more than one type of pre-made corn tortillas that you can buy in the store. What you'll find in American grocery stores are shelf-stable, and those don't really benefit from refrigeration, as you've mentioned.

In Latin markets, you will find that type, but you will also find them in the refrigerated section. Those must be kept cold. If you don't, they will mold. And even in the fridge, they'll develop mold after a week or two. (and it's a pain to go looking between every tortilla for signs of white mold (purple and green are easy to find).

What's most important for these two isn't so much about how they're stored, but how they're reheated. For tacos, you want to heat them up in pairs on the griddle. This keeps them thick enough that the top won't flake up badly on you. The space between the two tortillas will steam, and you'll be able to get a bit of a crust on the two outer sides if you wish (but that will make it less flexible, potentially leading to tortilla failure.) Keep the two together as you assemble your taco, and you won't have any problems.

The third type of tortilla that I'm familiar with are the Salvadoran style. These are about a 1/4" (6mm) thick, and made from a much finer grind of corn. They just don't work for tortillas, as when heated, they only fold a little bit. These are better for the sort of things you'd use tostadas for. (they're not arepas ... they're thinner than those and the flour is different, and they're not stuffed like a pupusa, either)

For these, you'll want to heat them slowly, so they don't end up too rigid, but you can cook them separately as they won't have issues with flaking up like thinner tortillas from coarser cornmeal will.

  • interesting take with the double tortilla. will try. Am in Mexico for now, so super fresh is always available (but I buy too many and hate to waste) – Pat Sommer May 17 '17 at 2:11
  • @PatSommer : I actually realized the double tortilla trick when I was at a tacqueria in Boulder, Colorado. I think I was told that they make their own. I don't even remember why I noticed that they were doubled up, so I just assumed it was a normal thing. (around where I live, we have more pupusas and burritos ... not too many tacos) – Joe May 17 '17 at 13:35

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