Do Cranberries Go Bad? How Long Do Cranberries Last?

Every fall you start seeing cranberries in the produce section. They’re a popular flavor and scent of the season. They can be used in many different ways and if you picked up more than you can use quickly, you may be wondering if they go bad.

Quick Answer

Cranberries do go bad though they last quite a bit longer than many other berries. Fresh cranberries can be good for up to a full month after purchase when stored properly. Frozen cranberries, regardless of whether you bought them frozen or have frozen them yourself will retain their quality for around 8-12 months. Dried cranberries can last from 6 months to 2 years depending on your method of storage. 

Cranberries are very versatile and can be used for juice, making muffins, to topping your oatmeal. Read on to find out how to keep those berries fresh.

Do Cranberries Go bad? How Long Do Cranberries Last?

Cranberries can be bought fresh, frozen, or dried. Proper storage will help cranberries last longer no matter how you bought them.

How Long Do Cranberries Last Outside?

The countertop and pantry are not a good place to store fresh cranberries. They will begin to get mushy and mold fairly quickly. Fresh cranberries will only last at room temperature for a couple of days.

Frozen cranberries will not last at room temperature. If they were sold frozen, they need to remain frozen unless they are being thawed for immediate use.

Dried cranberries can be stored in a pantry or on a countertop. If they are unopened or properly sealed, dried cranberries can keep at room temperature for 6-12 months.

How Long Do Cranberries Last In The Fridge?

The fridge is a great place to store fresh cranberries. Stored in the refrigerator, they can maintain their quality for at least a month after purchase.

If you notice some fresh cranberries getting soft or wrinkled, toss them because they are no longer fresh. If they begin to mold, it can quickly spread to the other berries and ruin the whole lot.

Dried cranberries can also be stored in the fridge. They can last for up to 12 months when stored at 65°F and nearly 18 months when stored below 45ׄ°F.

How Long Do Cranberries Last In The Freezer?

Cranberries that have been bought frozen will stay good for about 10 to 12 months. This date applies to the quality of the cranberries. They will remain safe to eat indefinitely.

Fresh cranberries can be easily frozen and last for 8 to 12 months assuming they have been properly stored and none of the berries were rotten.

Dried cranberries can be kept in the freezer to prolong their shelf life. When stored properly, dried cranberries can be safe to eat indefinitely and maintain their quality for 12 to 18 months.

As you can see, frozen cranberries can be safe to eat indefinitely and the only type of cranberry that can be stored at room temperature is dried cranberries.

How To Tell If Cranberries Have Gone Bad/How To Know Cranberries Are Fresh

Fresh cranberries have a lot of characteristics that help you know whether or not they are fresh.

Appearance: Fresh cranberries are plump and shiny. They are different shades of red but usually have a deep red color.

Feel: Fresh cranberries should be firm to the touch and if dropped, they will bounce.

Taste: Cranberries are notoriously sour and fresh cranberries should be sour, not bitter.

Cranberries have some characteristics that help us know they have undoubtedly gone bad. We are going to discuss how to tell if different types of cranberries have gone bad.

Fresh Cranberries: Fresh cranberries that are spoiling will get soft, wrinkled, and mushy. Their color will not be as vibrant as it was when they were fresh. They can also start to grow mold that can quickly spread to the other berries. If you notice any of these things, throw them away.

Frozen Cranberries:  Frozen cranberries will appear discolored if they are going bad. Another sign is if they feel sticky or tough. If you notice any of those signs in your frozen cranberries, throw them out.

Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries that are going bad will become a little darker and may become shriveled up or have an unusual aroma. Dried cranberries can also mold and if they do, throw them out.

How To Store Cranberries?

Depending on how you bought the cranberries, they may have different storage needs.

They like the cold: Fresh cranberries do best in storage where they can be kept cold. If you bought a bag of cranberries at the grocery store, they can be kept in the fruit drawer in your refrigerator.

Keep them airtight: If you haven’t opened the bag yet, just place the whole thing into the fridge. If you have opened it or you bought the cranberries from a farmer’s market, place them into an airtight storage bag and it too can be placed in the fruit drawer. 

Cranberries bought frozen: If you bought the cranberries frozen, they are best stored in the freezer.

Dried cranberries: A package of dried cranberries can be stored almost anywhere that is cool and dry. They fare well in a pantry, the fridge, and the freezer. 

Can You Freeze Cranberries? How?

Cranberries freeze very well which is perfect if you want to stock up on this seasonal fruit. All you need to do is follow these steps.

Rinse: Place the fresh cranberries in a colander and run under cold water to rinse them thoroughly.

Sort: Sort the cranberries and remove any that are discolored, wrinkly, or mushy. You can also look for and remove any stems.

Dry: On a clean dish towel, spread the cranberries out and allow them to air dry for approximately 15 minutes.

Freeze: Spread the cranberries out on a baking sheet or something similar that will prevent the cranberries from falling off and place it in the freezer, uncovered, for 6 to 8 hours.

Package: Move the frozen cranberries from the baking sheet into a freezer bag or plastic storage container. Make sure it is tightly sealed and place them back in the freezer where they will stay good for about a year.

How To Thaw Cranberries?

Frozen cranberries do not need to be thawed to be used in a cooking recipe. You can just rinse them with water.

If you do need or want them thawed, place the frozen cranberries in the fridge for about 2 hours, rinse in cold water, and allow them to dry.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cranberries Shelf Life

I accidentally ate a moldy cranberry, will I get sick? It is not typically dangerous to eat fruit with a bit of mold on it. It is unlikely that you will experience side effects from eating it. If you are sensitive or allergic to mold, you could see symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.  If you are concerned you are reacting to eating that moldy cranberry, seek medical attention.

I thawed my frozen cranberries and they’re mushy. Are they ok to eat? Cranberries are approximately 90% water. When they are thawed out, they can breakdown resulting in soft cranberries with a soft texture. They are not spoiled and are still good to use in recipes. Cranberries do not need to be thawed to be used in recipes and when being cooked, can be used frozen.

Wrap-Up

Now that you know how to store cranberries properly to keep them fresh longer, and how to spot a spoiled cranberry, you will be able to enjoy this seasonal treat all year long.

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