You just a baby and received your placenta capsules. You are so excited (like really, really excited!) and also tired (like so, so tired!) and not only do you not retain anything your encapsulationist told you about your caps, you also misplaced the instruction booklet amongst the hundreds (literally, hundreds!) pieces of paper that accompany a new baby (coupons, baby cards, gift cards, weeks of unopened mail, medical docs... you know what I mean, right?).
It's three months later, you're returning to a new normal (maybe? sort of? at least pretending to?), and you come across your leftover placenta caps.
I always tell my clients that I hope they'll use up their caps in the first 6-8 weeks postpartum. My opinion is that this is when they will be of most benefit to new moms, as their bodies are undergoing the huge adjustment from being pregnant to not being pregnant. This is not to say that they will not be useful later than that, just that I suspect the benefit is greater when they are used closer to birth. (I regularly use my placenta tincture from my last baby, who is almost two, with great benefit. Excuse me while I go mourn the loss of his childhood.)
That said, things happen. Sometimes capsules get forgotten in the crazy. Sometimes a placenta is amazingly ginormous and there are just more caps than are needed. Whatever the reason for leftover caps, there comes the inevitable question: How should I store my capsules long-term?
Once you are not taking your capsules regularly I suggest double-bagging them in freezer bags. I always include a desiccant pack in my clients' capsules so be sure to include that if you have one. Then, store in the back of the fridge (or, a deep freezer if you have one). This minimizes the risk of capsules being subjected to temperature changes. This is important because the one thing that will make them unsuitable for use is the presence of mold. If caps are subjected to lots of temperature change (as can happen in locations like freezer doors, bathrooms, our the kitchen) this can lead to moisture from condensation and, given the opportunity of a warm climate, mold can develop. Freezing temps will suppress mold growth but it doesn't kill mold.
Assuming your capsules have been processed properly (this means absolutely no oven drying and making sure they have been dehydrated long enough), mold will not magically occur.
Oh no!, you say. I've had my caps in my fridge for the past three years! Or, they've been sitting in my cabinet for the past eight months! Are they ruined?
I will always advise you to inspect your caps. Open one up if you need to. If you see mold, toss 'em. If they smell spoiled, toss 'em. But if they look and smell fine and you feel comfortable to take them, use those babies.
One final note: We suspect that the quality of the caps will degrade over time, especially at colder temperatures. Think of meat that is stored in the freezer for a year or more. You can still eat it with freezer burn, but it probably doesn't taste so great. So again, focus on using those caps within a few months of giving birth to experience greater benefits.