Let us clarify some of the common misconceptions about dates so that you can begin enjoying the nutritional benefits of this fruit, as well as its deliciousness. The good news is you can learn whether or not your dates are still edible, and also learn how to preserve them to keep them from going bad, below. If you are ever in any doubt, you cannot go wrong by just keeping your dates in the refrigerator.
Dates keep very well under refrigeration, so it is possible to find fresh dates all year long in certain stores. Because all fruits ripen over time and expire eventually, keeping dates fresh is not an option indefinitely. Some people keep their fresh dates at room temperature, but others choose to store them in a refrigerator, as this keeps the fruits from spoiling rapidly.
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You can store dried dates at room temperature in your pantry for up to 6 months, in your refrigerator for up to 12 months, and in your freezer for up to 3 years. Refrigeration will keep their fresh dates for up to six months, as long as they are stored in a sealed container with a tight seal, and without other fruits or vegetables touching on them. If you keep your tough dates in a sealed container in your refrigerator, they should last for up to six months after purchase. In an airtight container in the freezer, dates will last weeks before starting to go rancid, while in the freezer, you may be revisiting the same batch for up to one year.
They will last more than a month at room temperature, and over a year in the freezer, eventually going bad if you cannot store them properly. If dates are stored too long and exposed to lots of temperature and humidity changes, they can develop a white, rusty texture on the surface. They are mostly sugar, so that is why you can store them at varying temperatures for so long. Dates have extremely high levels of natural sugar content (up to 70%), meaning that they freeze exceptionally well.
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The sugar content of dates is extremely high, and this sugar becomes increasingly concentrated as dates get dryer and the moisture leaves the fruit. The sugars in dates tend to react with other items in your pantry, making them ripe for spoilage faster, so you are best off keeping them separated from the other fruits or vegetables stored there. While dates can survive in a pantry quite well, keeping them cool will not only leave their texture intact, but will keep dates tasting great for a pretty long time. As with any frozen fruit, you have to keep in mind that the longer you keep dates in the freezer, the more the texture deteriorates.
Each time you use dates, you will need to seal the baggies back up again so the fruits are protected from excess moisture. Wrap dates with foil before placing in your refrigerator container if you wish to store them long term. Then, wrap dates with clear foil before tightly sealing the container in which you are going to store them.
When you properly store them, you are guaranteed to keep them for much longer than the dates listed on their labels. After the expiration date on the label has passed, you can keep dry-Zahedi dates in your pantry for months. Dry dates, such as these Deglet Noor dates, should also be stored in a refrigerator if you wish to extend their shelf life beyond six months, to one year. There are many ways you can lengthen the time that dates will last, including double-wrapping them in a freezer, and choosing dried dates instead of unripe dates.
Stores do a good job of holding in ripe dates like Tamar and Rutab, and the quality of your dates will last for around three months. You can solve this problem by leaving the dates out in the sun for an hour or two, or microwaving them for a brief time in a sealed bag with just a couple drops of water. A quick way to defrost dates is to put them, still inside their freezing bags, into a warm water bath, letting them sit there for a couple hours. Keeping dates in the refrigerator is a good way to keep in moisture, although this fruit does not have a lot of it anyway.
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Knowing how to tell a good date from a spoiled one, it is time to talk about how long dates last. Unlike a lot of popular fruits, such as oranges or watermelon, most common types of dates last really long. The flavors of dates change when they get older, much as a fruits quality changes when it gets older.
Dates taste like caramel-honey, like raisins, but once you eat one, you will remember the flavor and will be able to identify it as date throughout the rest of your life. Fresh dates have natural sugars, but have a low/medium Glycemic Index rating because they also have a decent amount of fiber, which slows down carbohydrate release and gives you sustained energy instead of sending blood sugar through the roof. Because dates have so much natural sugar, dates will never freeze completely, meaning that despite storing in cold weather for long periods, they do not take any damage to their texture; just a few minutes of room temperature reverts them back to their original, chewy selves.
When freezing the softer varieties, such as Medjool dates, you need to keep in mind that they can begin to dry out if left in the freezer for too long, reducing overall quality.
Of course, dates will deteriorate in quality over time, so a fresh one will have slightly better flavor than a one from a previous season. Even if you know dates do not easily spoil, it is always best to be aware of signs that can help you determine whether or not they are ready for consumption. It is not as complicated as it sounds, and I promise that you do not have to carry around a date reference guide in order to keep them stored properly and ensure you are eating them before they go bad or spoil.
How do you know if a date has gone bad?
You may detect damaged dates by their smell, which is a very clear indicator. Although the aroma of these amber-colored fruits isn’t particularly intense, you’ll probably detect a delicate and gentle fragrance. Take notice of any strong, unpleasant, or rotten smells as a warning sign that your dates have gone bad and should be discarded.
What do bad dates look like?
Bad dates might change their appearance once they start becoming bad. They may be become darker in the color, or they may become moldy or rotten. Either way, they’re not fit for human consumption. If you have been storing dates for longer, and they start showing the above symptoms then throw them.
Do dates go bad if not refrigerated?
Some people say that dates will last for months or even years if stored in a cool, dry place, while others say that non-refrigerated dates will only last for a few weeks. It seems that non-refrigerated dates will last for a shorter period of time than refrigerated dates. However, the difference is not huge, and non-refrigerated dates will still last for several weeks if stored correctly.