Depending on who you ask, a date can last from anywhere from 30 minutes to a full weekend. At the shorter end of that timescale, the date can most definitely be described as ‘bad’. But, I’m not here to discuss dating and relationships. I’m here to talk about the delicious fruit, the date! Dates can be great in desserts or even just nibbled on as a snack in the evenings. But, they are not the most common of fruits. Because of this, we can end up buying them and not knowing what to do with them, how to store them, or how long they will last.
Do Dates Go Bad?
Dates last quite a bit longer than the more common fruits. Bananas, for example, seem to go bad almost as soon as you get them in the door. This is not the case with dates. Though it is true that they will go bad at some point, you have a reasonable amount of time before that happens. So, for those of you who maybe don’t often come across the date in a supermarket, this guide is for you. I’ll run through how to use them, when to use them by, and how to tell if they are going bad. If this is the info that you are looking for, then you have come to the right place! Read on!
How Do I Store Dates?
It is important that you learn that there are three different varieties of dates. Each of these will begin to go off at different times. These three types are soft, dry, and semi-dry, and each will need to be stored a bit differently. The most popular varieties of dates are the Medjool and Deglet. So, if you have bought dates in your supermarket, the chances are good that this is what you have. If not, don’t worry. These storage techniques will still work for you if you have purchased something different. In any case, dates aren’t difficult to store. In fact, they are so easy to store that you can take your pick of these 3 methods.
- Storing at room temperature
In the short term, you can absolutely store dates at room temperature. Though they can be harmed by the elements, there are ways to keep them good for weeks. All you need to remember is that the dates will be harmed by too much heat, sunlight, or moisture. To stop the rot, all you need to do is to keep your dates away from these things. So, don’t just leave them out on a countertop or in a fruit bowl. Instead, tuck them away in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet. Once you have opened the package, it is important to seal it back up again. This way, the dates won’t come into contact with too much air or moisture. If you can’t reseal the package, transfer the dates into an airtight container. This way, they will keep for much longer.
- Storing in the fridge
Dates will last much longer in the fridge. They still do okay in the pantry, but for a longer shelf-life, this method is better. If you live in a hot climate, this is also probably much better for your needs. There is one important thing you need to remember when storing dates in the fridge. Dates don’t like extra moisture, and there is plenty of that circulating around in your fridge. Left unchecked, this can ruin your dates in no time at all. So, the best thing you can do is to always reseal the package between uses. If the package doesn’t reseal for some reason, simply transfer the dates into an airtight container. This will work for all dates, but the drier ones will last even longer under these conditions.
- Storing in the freezer
If you really want to keep your dates for a very long time, the freezer is the best option. Whereas freezing bananas and apples doesn’t work so well, freezing dates is easy and effective. You also won’t need to prep them in any way at all. No cutting, no cooking. The reason they freeze so well is because of their high sugar content. This acts as a preserving agent and will keep their structure from changing in the freezer. So, you will find freezing dates is really easy. Simply chuck in the full unopened package and it will be fine. If the package is opened, use an airtight container or a freezer bag instead.
Should You Refrigerate Dates?
If you want to keep dates for more than a few weeks, you should always keep them in the refrigerator. But, if you go through a packet of dates quickly, the pantry or a kitchen press will do just fine. However, if you live in a hot or tropical climate, it is best to always keep your dates chilled. They can turn to mush in high temperatures. Just one thing; always remember to keep the package sealed when you are not using them.
Can You Freeze Dates?
Dates can last for a very long time compared to other fruit at room temperature. The same is true for dates kept in the fridge. But, what if you want to keep some aside for someday way down the line? Well, the good news is that they can be frozen. Not only that, but they freeze much better than other fruits. You don’t need to prepare them for freezing in any way at all. Just make sure the package is sealed or that they are in an airtight container.
How Long Do Dates Last?
Though there are several types of dates, they all store for around the same amount of time. The times listed below are just estimates. We would also like to recommend that you read our section below on how to tell if your dates have gone off. If you do, you will know exactly what is going to happen before it does. So, here’s how long dates can last
Dates are much sturdier than most other fruits, such as the kiwi, banana, or tomato. Even at room temperature in a moderate climate, they won’t begin to rot for quite some time. Depending on the room, your dates can last from anywhere from 3 weeks to three months. For most of us, this is long enough to have them eaten. But, if you want to keep them even longer, it is possible to do so!
If you seal the dates up between uses, they can survive for a really long time. It isn’t unusual for dates to last up to a year in the fridge. In the case of the moist types of date, these can still last for upwards of 6 months. So, that’s quite a long time! Looks like you can safely bulk buy dates!
If you are still not satisfied with only being able to keep dates for 6-12 months, there’s good news. Dates can quite literally be thrown into the freezer without any prep work. Just make sure they are sealed and they will last for up to two years. After two years, they won’t really rot, they will just lose their flavor.
How Do I Make Dates Last Longer?
There isn’t much extra to know about keeping dates for longer periods of time. Just always make sure they are kept away from sunlight, heat, and moisture. Another thing you can do is just to make sure that they are always handled with clean hands or utensils. If you do this, bacteria will have no chance of spoiling the dates prematurely.
Signs That Your Dates May Have Gone Off
Ok, so this is probably the most important section to read. Because there are different types of dates, sometimes they can surprise you by going off quicker than you expect. Overall, you will be able to notice that your dates are going off without any difficulty. The signs are pretty clear. One sign is when the dates go moldy. Another sign is if they begin to change color and go much darker. In either case, they will need to be thrown out. The same goes if they smell a little too funky for comfort. If they pass these tests, you can have a taste. If they don’t taste as good as they should, you can choose whether to keep them or throw them away.
Final tip: If there are some signs of white spots on your dates, don’t worry too much. Sometimes the sugar in the dates rises to the surface and turns into crystals. To get rid of these, just expose the dates to sunlight until they are gone. This will not take a long time.