Dates generally have a shelf life of 1 to 3 months (except for a few exceptions) if you store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Dates have more than 1500 varieties, and all of them do not have the same shelf life. Drier varieties have longer shelf life than the softer ones.
However, it is imperative to store the dates properly in order to keep them fresh for the longest time possible. Not doing the same can result in loss of moisture and a dip in its flavor. Continue with this article to have a clear idea about how long do dates last in pantry and how to store them.
Storing Dates: The Path to follow
Dates can be stored for both short-term use as well as long-term use. Let’s have a brief look at what you need to do in both the cases.
If you are planning to use the dates within a few weeks, storing them at room temperature will be sufficient to preserve their sweetness and juiciness. You just need to keep the following things in mind:
- The container you are using must be dry and airtight. You can also store them in zipped plastic bags. Just make sure you squeeze out all the air before sealing the bag as the dates will spoil quicker in the presence of air.
- The container with dates must not be placed at a place where it comes in direct contact with sunlight. You should also avoid keeping the container near the oven or the stove.
If you are not sure when you will use the dates or you are planning to use them after a long time, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator. Wet and juicy dates should also be stored in the refrigerator as they lose their moisture very quickly at room temperature.
Dates stored in the refrigerator can retain their freshness and sweetness upto one year. You just have to pack them and airtight bags and place them in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40° F.
If you want to further enhance their life span, you can freeze the dates. To do this, you need to place the dates in a ziploc bag, press out all its air and seal the bag. Place the bag deep in the freezer for the best preservation. Frozen dates can last upto 3 years.
Note- Take the dates out of the freezer around 3 hours before use so that they are not too hard.
Dates: Popular Varieties and Their Shelf Life
Although many varieties of dates are grown worldwide, some of them are more popular than others. Let’s have a look at the basic features of these popular varieties:
|Variety||Characteristics||Shelf Life at Room Temperature||Shelf Life in Refrigerator|
|Medjool Dates||They are large in size with a fibrous texture.They have a reddish-brown color.They are soft and sweet in taste.||7 weeks||6 months|
|Deglet Nour Dates||These are medium-sized and oval-shaped dates.They have a dark golden brown color.These dates are meaty and sweet in taste.||6 months||12 months|
|Mazafati Dates||These dates have a size ranging from 2.5 to 4 cm.They are dark brownish in color with a flesh appearance.Mazafati Dates have a mixed taste of caramel, chocolate and brown sugar.||1-3 months||6 months|
|Zahidi Dates||These dates have an oval shape with medium size.They are light brown in color.They have a peanut butter-like taste with slight traits of apricots.||18 months||24 months|
|Rabbi Dates||These are long oval-shaped dates.They are reddish-black in color.These dates are soft, fleshy and sweet.||12 months||18 months|
Expired Dates: Indicators
Although dates can last for a long time if stored properly, they are bound to get spoiled at a particular point of time. Eating them can cause food poisoning. Let’s have a look at the indicators which show dates have rotten:
- The most common indicator is discoloration. If you see that the dates have developed mold or have become too dark in color, you can consider them rotten and throw them away. However, remember not to mistake the white coating that develops over time as mold. It is just crystallized sugar and does not indicate rotting.
- The dates can also be considered rotten if they start smelling bad. Originally, dates have a mild but sweet smell. If they are emitting a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s time to throw them away.
- Finding any pest or worm inside the date clearly indicates that the date is of no use now. This is more likely to happen if you store the dates in an open vessel. A small dark spot on the date can tell you that it is hosting pests. However, it is not necessary that if one date has pests, then the whole pack would be infected. Therefore, you should check every date before tossing them out.
- Dates normally have a soft and fleshy texture. But if you find your dates slimy and sticky to touch, it is quite likely that they are no longer worth eating.
From this blogpost, it can be concluded that dates are fruits which can last for a significant amount of time if you use the right techniques and take necessary precautions.
There are various ways of storing dates but you need to consider factors like the kind of dates, your plan for their usage etc. to determine the method most suitable for you. Dates are bound to get rotten at some point of time and various indicators like smell, color, and texture can help you spot it.
Declutter your home once and for all (Even if you have no time and don't know where to begin)! Learn More.