Dates are a healthy choice for a snack and are used in a variety of recipes. They last a long time if stored properly and can be eaten all year round. You may have dates sitting in your pantry and wonder, how long do they last? Read on to find out more about the shelf life and proper storage of your dates.
Dates have a long shelf life. As long as they stay covered up they can be stored just about anywhere. Stored in the pantry they can last up to 3 months if unopened. They will last in the fridge for 6 to 12 months after opening. Dates can last for about 5 years in the freezer unopened.
Where and how you store your dates are important. We’ll discuss the different methods for storing your dates.
Do Dates Go Bad? How Long Do Dates Last?
Dates can last a long time. Proper storage of dates will prolong their shelf life and keep them fresh. There are some instances when dates are not safe to eat. Here are some ways to tell if your dates are fresh.
Mold: Mold can form on dates and cause them to go bad. Dates can get covered in a white film. That is okay. The film is just crystallized sugar and can be removed with warm water. Simply put the dates in a bowl and run under warm water for a few seconds. Pat the dates dry and eat as normal. Mold is different. If you notice dark spots on your fruit do not eat. Mold is a sign that dates are not safe to use. Mold can cause you to get sick.
Appearance: If dates are dark in appearance they are not safe to eat. Rotten dates are bad for your health and should be avoided. There are different kinds of dates and they vary in color. However, if you notice your date is darker than it was when purchased, do not eat. Dates are usually amber in color. If your dates have turned black or a very dark color they have gone bad.
Smell: Dates typically do not have a smell. They might contain a light fragrance to indicate their freshness. If you notice a strong or a rotten smell, do not eat. Dates that smell strong have gone bad and are not safe to eat.
Pests: Dates can attract fruit flies, worms, and other critters. If you notice spots on your dates or bugs in them do not eat. A tell-tell sign of bugs is spotting on your dates. It is not recommended to eat dates that are infested with bugs, even if all of the dates do not show signs of pests. Insects and other parasites can cause you to get sick. They can leave behind eggs, droppings, and larva that is bad for you.
Long Shelf Life: Dates have a long shelf life. If unopened they can last indefinitely. If opened they can last up to a month at room temperature. Placing dates in the fridge can help them to last for up to a year. Freezer storage will prolong their shelf life for an additional two years. Proper storage will help the dates to last a long time. Store dates in an airtight container.
How Long Do Dates Last Outside?
Dates can be stored outside. If the dates are packaged properly, storing outside is no problem. Here are a few things to remember when storing your dates outside.
Sunlight: Sunlight is good for dates. It helps to reverse the effects of sugar crystallization in dates. If a while film is present on your dates place it in sunlight for an hour or so.
Bugs: Outdoor pests such as fruit flies are bad for dates. They can lay eggs on the fruit and leave behind larva, droppings, and eggs. If you are storing your dates outside make sure they are covered up. Leaving dates out in the open exposes them to insects.
Moisture: Moisture can cause mold to grow on dates or in the packaging where they are kept. When storing your dates outside, make sure to keep them dry. If it is raining outside, move dates indoors or keep them covered up.
How Long Do Dates Last in the Refrigerator?
Dates can last a long time in the refrigerator. Storing your dates in the fridge is easy. Here are some tips to keep your dates fresh while in the fridge.
Store in an air-tight container: Airtight containers help the dates to stay fresh by keeping air out. Air can cause the dates to go stale. This will affect the quality and taste of the dates. Keeping the dates in an airtight container will stop them from drying out.
Date the package: Because dates can last a long time in the fridge is a smart idea to date the package or container before you put them in the fridge. This way you do not forget how long they have been sitting in the fridge. Dates can last up to a year in the fridge. Soft dates, the ones that are not semi-dry, will not last as long as dry dates. So it is best to use soft dates after about a month.
How Long do Dates Last in the Freezer?
Dates can be frozen and eaten later. Freezing dates will allow them to stay good for up to five years. Here are the best ways to store your dates.
Freezer Bag: Air is bad for dates because it will cause them to go stale and dry out. Place dates in a zip lock bag to keep them fresh longer. The freezer bag will prevent ice and freezer burn from forming on the dates. Frozen dates may develop sugar crystals, don’t worry, this will not affect their taste.
Wax paper: Use wax paper to line the freezer bag before placing the dates in the bag. This will help to keep the dates from sticking to the sides of the bag. Remember to squeeze out excess air before closing the freezer bag.
Date bag: Because dates can last so long in the freezer it is easy to forget how long they have been there. Placing the date frozen on the freezer bag will help you to remember how long your dates have been frozen. Dates should not be kept in the freezer longer than five years.
How to thaw dates?
Dates that have been frozen can be easily thawed without losing taste. Follow these tips to safely thaw your dates.
The best way to thaw dates is at room temperature. Place dates on a dry surface, still in the freezer bag, and let thaw for five hours. If ice or moisture has formed on the freezer bag, place it on a plate or in a bowl while thawing to keep the countertop or other thawing location dry.
A faster way to thaw dates is to place them, still in the freezer bag, in a bowl of warm water, and let it sit for a couple of hours. The water will heat the bag and thaw the dates faster.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dates
There is a white film on my dates, should I be concerned? No, it is not necessary to get worried about a white film on your dates because that is normal. This film is simply crystallized sugar and can be easily removed with warm water. If your dates are dark in color or have dark spots on them then that is a cause for concern and dates should not be eaten.
What if my dates smell bad? Dates have a light fragrance to them. If you notice your dates have a strong rancid odor that means that have gone bad. Fermented dates will release an odor. This is a sign that your dates have begun to mold. If you are not sure if the dates are bad by smelling them, open the dates up. If they have black dust or powder in them then they are not safe to eat.
Dates are a universal delight. Aside from their health benefits, they are also packed with flavor. If stored properly they can be savored for years. If you have any information to share about dates leave a comment below.