lumpwood charcoal in BBQ in garden

Everything You Need to Know About Charcoal

If you enjoy barbecuing as much as we do, you’re probably looking forward to the season’s first cookout. You find the dependable bag of charcoal after uncovering the grill and checking your tools. When you look into its partially used contents, you have to wonder if charcoal goes bad. How long can charcoal be stored? Does wet charcoal deteriorate? How is charcoal supposed to be stored? If you are currently asking yourself any of these questions, continue reading. Here at The Green Olive Firewood Company, we are here to answer all of your charcoal-related questions.


What is Lumpwood Charcoal? 

Let’s start with the most basic question: what is charcoal? Charcoal is made from wood that has been slowly burned without the presence of oxygen. Charcoal is also the most popular fuel source for back garden grillers. Cooking with charcoal imparts a delicious, natural, and distinct flavour to food that a gas grill cannot.


Can Lumpwood Charcoal go Bad?

Charcoal is primarily composed of carbon and is extremely stable. It has the potential to last indefinitely. Is it possible to use old charcoal? Absolutely! Scientists discovered charcoal made by burning plants millions of years ago. That charcoal can still be burned today! 


While charcoal can last forever in ideal conditions, some environmental factors can harm it. So, whether you use briquettes or lumpwood charcoal, keep your charcoal in a cool, dry place. Moisture is the most dangerous enemy of charcoal. Because charcoal is highly porous and easily absorbs moisture, it is frequently ineffective when exposed to rain or humidity. However, if this occurs, do not give up hope.


What Happens if Charcoal gets Wet?

Does wet charcoal deteriorate? It might, but it might also be salvageable. It is dependent on the type of charcoal and the amount of moisture exposure. Briquettes are the most moisture-sensitive. If you leave your briquettes out in the rain, they may crumble when you pick them up. Fortunately for you, briquettes are reasonably priced, so replacing a bag is worth cutting your losses.


If the briquettes are still solid or you have damp lumpwood charcoal, spread them out in a single layer in the sun. Allow them to dry for a few days, flipping them over each day, until completely dry to the core. When attempting to use dried-out charcoal, the best course of action is to start with fresh charcoal. Your wet-to-dry charcoal will ignite more easily with the fresh fuel on the bottom.


You may be wondering if charcoal can mould. Yes, because of the high temperatures, it is probably still safe to use, but we suggest keeping it in the chimney starter for just a little longer than regular charcoal. But if you care about the taste of your food, avoid using mouldy charcoal. Just take our word for it.


How Long Can You Store Charcoal?

So let’s say you keep your charcoal safely away from any moisture and in a cold, dry location. How long does charcoal last? Is there a shelf life for it? Once more, the type of charcoal will determine this.


Lumpwood charcoal is incredibly durable and robust. If properly stored, it has an infinite shelf life. On the other hand, briquettes often only last one to two years before they start to break down as our briquettes are formed using a natural starch binder.. An airtight container is crucial to the longevity of the charcoal if you don’t intend to use the full bag within a relatively short period.


Although occasionally charcoal can go bad, we hope to have covered all of your concerns regarding keeping your charcoal fresh. So why not check out our selection of natural charcoal? Follow us on Instagram and Twitter to stay up to speed on all we do!

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