How to Store Dates?
Dates have gained popularity over the years as people are becoming more and more health conscious and the fruit is not only sweet but full of goodness too. Dates can be added to smoothies to give them a little sweetness or used as a sugar alternative in cakes, protein bars, and much much more. Gone are the days where dates are the last thing left after a Christmas party! But how long do dates last and can you store them in a refrigerator? Below we will look at the shelf life of dates and list the best ways that you can store them.
Keep reading to find out more…
Different Types of Dates
There are quite a few different varieties of dates which all have different recommended uses. Here are the most popular varieties:
One of the most popular date varieties, medjool (or medjul) dates have a natural sweetness that works perfectly for power balls and smoothies. These rich dates have a great soft texture that ripens early and gives a lovely caramel flavor.
This is a rich soft date with a soft, fragile texture. It ripens late and changes from an amber shade to a rich golden brown.
This is a sweet date which is medium to large in size and ripens from a brown color to black.
- Deglet Noor
This particular semi-dry date is well known for its delicate flavor. This is a great date to use for cooking and ripens late.
Another sweet date with a delicate honey flavor. This is a small to medium fruit which is great for snacking.
This is a rich flavored date which isn’t as sweet as the other varieties. It has an orange-brown skin and firm flesh. It doesn’t keep well so it needs to be eaten super fresh!
This dry date has a sweet and nutty flavor. This has a reputation for being a great date for baking.
This is a super sugary date with a semi-dry texture. This has smooth glossy skin and meaty flesh which is great for cooking and snacking.
How Long Do Dates Last?
One of the benefits of dates is that they can last a very long time when stored correctly. Obviously this depends on many different factors such as how dry they are, if they are preserved and if they are organic etc.
The general rule is that once opened from an airtight container, dates can be stored up to x 12 months. Dates should always be kept in an airtight container after opening. You can store dates in a cool, dry pantry for up to x 2 months and in the refrigerator for up to x 1 year. In the freezer, you can store dates for longer than a year.
Can You Freeze Dates?
Yes, absolutely. You can actually keep dates for up to x 2 years in a freezer so long as you store them correctly. There are several ways that you can store dates. You can either place them in a heavy-duty freezer bag or an airtight container. It’s important you store them correctly because they can get freezer burn otherwise and will lose texture and taste once defrosted.
How To Store Dates
If you regularly use dates then the best way to store them is inside an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’s recommended that you eat them within a month but they can last a lot longer normally – up to x 2 months. If you only use them occasionally or have bought a number of dates in bulk then by far the better alternative is to freeze them. Place in a heavy-duty freezer bag or airtight container, freeze and take out the day before to properly defrost. Luckily, dates tend to defrost nicely and retain their texture and flavor quite well.
How To Tell If Dates Are Bad
Dates have a decent shelf-life due to the fact that they are dried and have very high sugar content which acts like a fantastic preservative. Dates can go bad though as no food item is truly immune from rotting. Luckily there are several things you can do to see if your dates are bad.
Look For Mold
This might seem really obvious but the first thing you can do to check and see if your dates are ok is to see if there’s any visible mold or discoloration. Please don’t mistake the thin white coating on dates as mold – this is natural and formed by crystallized sugar. Take a good look at the color and consistency and if anything seems off then it’s time to chuck them in the trash unfortunately!
How Do They Smell?
Another way to check that a food item is ok is to check out the smell. The dates should have a natural sweet smell but definitely smell funky! If you detect a strong odor or a rotten smell then step away from the dates – they’re definitely no good to eat!
Take A Look Inside
You should never throw a date straight into your mouth. Not only is this dangerous because they have stones that you can choke on but you may find an unwelcome surprise inside too. Dates can attract worms and spiders that burrow inside and make a nice sweet home. Small brown specks can indicate whether the dates have critters inside. Finding one worm doesn’t mean to say that the entire batch is bad however, but it is worth opening them all and checking. All fruit attracts fruit flies during warmer months too. The best way to avoid any bug invasion is to store them in an airtight container.