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Old 03-09-2012, 14:05   #1
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Keeping Tortillas

Corn tortillas used to be available in cans and I can no longer find them. Supermarkets sell all sizes, white, whole wheat, mixed grains and corn, both in refrigerated case and on the shelf. Aside from checking use-by dates, what are things I should look for in stocking them? A big package of soft corn tortillas I found today is use-by dated about 6 weeks away. I assume crisp ones keep somewhat longer. Comments please on your experiences with tortillas that keep best on the shelf. Do corn tortillas keep better or less well than wheat? Or does it depend on the brand? Yes, I know how to make them but packaged tortillas are such a convenience when one wants to grab just a few.
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Old 03-09-2012, 16:03   #2
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

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Corn tortillas used to be available in cans and I can no longer find them....
The commercial varieties keep longer because they have preservatives in them. When fresh made neither corn nor flour keep very long (still safe to eat for a long time, but not very tasty). They are much more tasty when fresh off the griddle. Keeping in a zip lock bag and refrigerating them helps a bit. You can freeze them as well, but it just ain't the same as fresh.

The "crispy ones" ("tostados") keep longer if in a sealed container. Once the humidity gets to them they go fast.

Making tortillas is relatively easy and the ingredients keep much longer than the finished product.
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Old 03-09-2012, 16:24   #3
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

We buy frozen corn tortillas at Whole Foods and toss them in the freezer. We used some last week that have been in the freezer for 10 months.

Of course that assumes a Whole Foods is nearby which is no longer the case for us. :-(

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Old 03-09-2012, 17:21   #4
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

Easy to make flour tortillas from scratch, and you have all the stuff you need anyway (probably). I haven't made corn tortillas but I hear the same story. I use a flame tamer and a percolator full of water as a tortilla press.
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Old 03-09-2012, 17:32   #5
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

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The commercial varieties keep longer because they have preservatives in them. When fresh made neither corn nor flour keep very long (still safe to eat for a long time, but not very tasty). They are much more tasty when fresh off the griddle. Keeping in a zip lock bag and refrigerating them helps a bit. You can freeze them as well, but it just ain't the same as fresh.

The "crispy ones" ("tostados") keep longer if in a sealed container. Once the humidity gets to them they go fast.

Making tortillas is relatively easy and the ingredients keep much longer than the finished product.
Refrigerating bread is not recommended. The intermediate temperature of refrigeration causes a chemical change that makes the bread stale faster. Freezing is better.
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Old 03-09-2012, 17:37   #6
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

Gee, Janet,

I wish that you hadn't brought this up! Here in Australia it isn't possible to get real tortillas at all. They sell things that look like flour tortillas, but they are in fact some alien life form that is made by the local Wonderbread bakery on the night shift. And the so called corn tortillas... they, when fresh, taste like store tortillas in the states, but when they are six weeks old.

Boy do I miss fresh corn tortillas, right off the old machine in the mercado in La Paz.

Good luck with your quest for storage methods.

Cheers,

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Old 03-09-2012, 17:42   #7
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

janet--tortillas, REAL ones do not keep at all. i use masa harina for making new flour ones--corn ones are a major pain to make. if you do find a can tortilla brand, post--i have found nothing like that here in mexico---here , they have discovered plastic .....EVERYTHING is in plastic......
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Old 03-09-2012, 18:57   #8
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Where did they used to have canned tortillas? My Brian is having the hardest time with the onceot.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:42   #9
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

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Originally Posted by JanetGroene View Post
Comments please on your experiences with tortillas that keep best on the shelf. Do corn tortillas keep better or less well than wheat?
I find that the ones on the shelf seen to last longer than the ones in refrigerated section of the store. I do end up putting them in the frig though.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:05   #10
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

Old El Paso used to make corn tortillas and can them. I doubt they do anymore though. Easy enough to make yourself and you can freeze the dough. Just thaw out, press and quickie on the griddle
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Old 04-09-2012, 06:54   #11
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

Buy the tortillas from the shelf (not the refrigerator section) of your local grocery store, and get the ones in sealed plastic bags (not just closed with a twist-tie). We have only bought the flour (wheat) ones like this, not corn. My wife and kids prefer flour to corn, and I'm too much of a purist to try the long-shelf-life corn ones (if they even exist). We keep a stack of sealed bags of flour torts in a locker for quesadillas, breakfast tacos, and enchilladas (its pretty tough to use flour torts for enchilladas, but I do), and in years of doing this, and keeping them for months and months past the expiration date, we've only had one bag go green with mold before opening and one or two bags become close to inedible (well, more inedible than they start out) with age. When we have left the USA or PR, we have left with a LOT of tortillas (I have kids on board, and kids enjoy quesadillas).

I too enjoy (actually, love) warm fresh corn torts like the ones we bought in Isla Mujeres or Guatemala, but those don't exist in the Jumentos or the BVIs or Grenada. Sooo, what's a cook to do? Sure, as everyone points out, you can make your own, but when you want a quick snack for a boatload of neighboring munchkins, you don't start pressing out tortilla dough - you grab a bag of preserved flour torts and a griddle and some cheese, and joy quickly ensues.

I once returned to the Bahamas from a mid-season business trip to the US with a duffel bag that weighed in at 47 lbs, filled only with flour torts and chocolate (although some of the chocolate was for friends).
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:49   #12
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

Making flatbreads on demand is fairly easy with a tortilla press. Make roti, chapati, etc too
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Old 04-09-2012, 07:56   #13
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Making corn tortillas by hand is very easy and taste 1000 times better than store bought. Get corn masa flour add baking soda about 1 teaspoon for two cups add warn water mix by hand and let rest for a moment. The feel will take some practice. You don't even need a press. Form them in your hand for thicker rustic type tortillas or I roll between those plastic file binders you can get at office supply. Roast using a cast iron skillet. Darn are they good. You'll never buy store bought again!
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:13   #14
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

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janet--tortillas, REAL ones do not keep at all. i use masa harina for making new flour ones--corn ones are a major pain to make. if you do find a can tortilla brand, post--i have found nothing like that here in mexico---here , they have discovered plastic .....EVERYTHING is in plastic......
I hate to ruin your day zee, but masa harina IS corn.

You've been had.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:07   #15
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Re: Keeping Tortillas

The bagged (Non refrigerated) white corn ones in the Publix last us several months. Just heat them up on a flat pan.

The hand made ones I used to get in the market when I lived in Honduras would turn to cardboard in a day but I still wake up thinking of them. Fresh ground white corn ground on a stone flat and sold by a street urchin who rarly gave you the correct change.
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