The Date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera) probably originated in the desert areas of northern Africa. This plant has since spread into other parts of the world, grown commercially for its edible fruit called dates. Dates are grown domestically in climates with long hot summers and low humidity. Most commercial growing areas are hot, dry areas in regions close to the equator.
Dates are not only delicious but also nutrient-dense! Dates are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, fiber, and vitamins B1, B2, B6 & K. How Long Do Dates Last? Date fruits are dried to become sweet-tasting dates when they contain over 75% sugar by weight.
A common question that people have about dates is how long do dates last? How long can you store them in the pantry before they go bad? How long do dried fruits retain their freshness and flavor? How long will they remain edible?
Here’s a list of the most popular varieties of dates, with additional storage tips for each type.
Before delving into the shelf life of dates, it makes sense to be familiar with the different known date varieties, how long do dates last and how to prevent them:
This variety is typically available at its peak during the winter months. The flesh color ranges from light yellow to deep amber, while the skin color can be greenish or reddish-brown. This variety has a mild taste and just a hint of sweetness.
It is soft and moist, with a melting texture. Halawi dates are harvested in the spring and fall while remaining on the palm tree for six months or more before being picked. This variety is very delicate and should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place for up to two weeks; store longer if conditions are less than ideal.
Medjool dates come from Morocco. The flesh of the Medjool date is reddish-brown and deliciously sweet, with a hint of caramel flavor beneath its natural sweetness. It also provides some fiber and iron.
The skin color ranges from tan to almost black, depending on how ripe it was when picked off the tree. Medjools can be eaten fresh, dried, or preserved. This variety is the largest of all dates and is used in date shakes and smoothies. Dates can store dates at room temperature for four weeks; if not, place them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to six months.
Deglet Noor Dates
This variety is one of the most commonly available types of dates sold commercially here in the U.S. Its color ranges from golden yellow to light brown when fully ripe. At the same time, its flesh remains somewhat firm due to its high fiber content. The flavor is sweet but with a distinct taste of caramelized sugar.
They are harvested during the summer months while they remain on the palm tree for two years or more before being picked off by hand early in spring when the sap is rising. They are then dried in the sun for many weeks. This variety is often used as a substitute for fresh fruits or nuts in recipes and can be eaten fresh, dried, cooked, candied, or glazed. These dates can last up to five months when stored at room temperature but will last longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to six months.
Khadrawi dates have a pale yellow color with a light amber flesh and woodsy flavor. The skin of this variety turns reddish-brown as the date ripens, which gives it its distinctive appearance from other varieties that look quite similar but taste vastly different from one another.
This variety can be eaten fresh and is often used in making desserts, especially in the Middle East and Europe. It can also last up to six months when stored at room temperature but will last much longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to one year.
Deglet Nour Dates
Deglet Nour dates (also spelled deglet noor) are typically available during fall harvest season and remain on the tree even after harvesting until they become soft, plump, and juicy. They’re tan-yellow in color with a brownish flesh that’s very sweet with a hint of citrus flavor; it has an almost jelly-like quality with tiny edible seeds inside each date. These dates can last up to five months when stored at room temperature but will last much longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to six months.
Zahid dates are also tan with brown flesh, but their flavor is quite different from Deglet Noor dates. It has a stronger and more caramelized flavor and chewy texture. This variety requires very little or no processing and can be eaten fresh, roasted, or cooked with meat dishes such as the popular “shawarma.” You can also preserve dates by drying them; even though they can be eaten immediately after, it’s best to wait several weeks as they soften and develop their flavor.
Even though they can be stored for up to six months at room temperature, it’s best to store them in the refrigerator wrapped in paper toweling or an air-tight container. These dates can last up to six months when stored at room temperature but will last much longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to one year.
Bars are also known as Barhi dates; they’re light brown in color with very sweet, soft flesh that has a jelly-like consistency. This variety is often eaten fresh but can also be dried or boiled for syrup. For the best flavor and texture, buying them while the date is still on the date palm branch is recommended.
Sayer dates have a golden brown color and a sweet flavor. They’re small, soft, and tender, with a chewy, sweet texture without being sticky. This variety is often eaten fresh but can also be dried or boiled for syrup. For the best flavor and texture, buying them while still on the date palm branch is recommended. They can be stored for up to six months at room temperature but will last much longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to one year.
Rabbi dates are also known as ripe dates, red dates, or Egyptian dates. This variety has a reddish-brown skin that can be thick and crunchy but is soft to the touch. They have a sweet flavor with only a mild hint of acidity, making them wonderful for eating fresh because they don’t require any pre-treatment.
However, they’re usually eaten dry and are used in baked goods such as cakes, bread, and cookies. They last for up to six months when stored at room temperature but will last much longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to one year.
Piarom dates are also known as Piyarom, Khadrawi, or Egyptian brown dates. This variety has dark reddish-brown skin and a dark yellow inside that can be soft or sticky depending on how fresh they are. The rich flavor is sweet with only a hint of tartness, making them wonderful for eating as a snack or included in various desserts. They last for up to six months when stored at room temperature but will last much longer if refrigerated before opening; store well-wrapped in an air-tight container for up to one year.
When do the dates go bad, and how do we prevent them?
Dates can also go bad like other dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, and prunes. How long do dates last depends on storage conditions such as temperature and humidity? Without going into microbial details, we will say that the warmer and more humid (or moist) the environment, the shorter the shelf life of a product.
How To extend the shelf life of Dates?
- Do not store them in plastic bags or containers with other fruit.
- Separate them from apples, bananas, melons, pineapples, etc., because ethylene gas released by these fruits shortens the date’s shelf life.
- Store dates away from strong-smelling food items such as onions or garlic.
- Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or air.
- Once opened, tightly wrap the unused portion in cellophane or plastic wrap and place it in a sealed bag. Store in the refrigerator’s vegetable compartment.
- If refrigeration is not available, keep dates in an air-tight jar surrounded by fresh lemongrass stalks for about three weeks to absorb moisture from the dates.
These are some of the factors that affect the shelf life of dates.
How To Tell If Dates Has Gone Bad?
Dates are everyone’s favorite sweet treat and how long do dates last is also important to know! How can you not love the rich taste, the soft texture, and the freshness of this semi-sweet fruit? However, many people have questions about how to know if dates have gone bad?
The answer to these questions is that it depends on if your dates contain any preservatives and other additives. Natural dates usually only last for six months or so. Dates that contain preservatives such as sulfur dioxide can last up to two years! This makes them good ingredients to use for baking cakes and other desserts.
Below, we have provided some helpful tips on how to tell if your dates have gone bad.
If you find that your dates have gone bad, then follow the instructions below for how to tell if dates have gone bad!
The most obvious sign of a date having gone bad is when it becomes sticky and gooey. However, simply becoming gooey isn’t enough; there are no visible signs of mold, and the dates are not dried out. If you find that your dates are sticky or gooey, they have most likely gone bad due to mold growth. If you store your dates in a dark place at room temperature, they can last up to six months before they turn bad.
If your dates develop hard shells with small holes on them or if there is any sign of mold or discoloration, then it is time for concern. These signs indicate that the fruits may contain dangerous fungi growing on them or within them, making them unsafe for consumption! The fruit will typically become mushy and rotten as well if left alone for too long without refrigeration.
If you find that your snacks have molded after opening the package and before all of the dates have been consumed, then the best thing to do is discard them. Dates that contain sulfur dioxide can last up to two years without going bad or moldy! Since this fruit is used in baking desserts such as cakes and pies, it only makes sense for it to be able to keep its quality during storage.
The Best Ways To Store Dates:
Exposing dates to too much humidity, mold, or heat will cause them to go rancid even while they are on the shelf. Below mentioned instructions are some broad storage instructions that apply to all types of dates, no matter what kind you have.
- Air-tight container. Dates are very sensitive to humidity, mold, and heat. Please keep them in an air-tight container that is kept in the dark cabinet or pantry, away from direct sunlight.
- Refrigeration is not necessary. There’s no need to refrigerate dates unless they have already been opened or you live in a hot climate, but be sure they are tightly covered so no moisture gets inside. If refrigerated, the dates will freeze solid so remove them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using them, so they return to room temperature before serving. After being thawed, dates will be as good as fresh for 48 hours at room temperature (ideally 15-20 C / 59-68 F).
- Storage times. You can store dried dates for a year before going bad, but they should be eaten within three months if opened. Opened canned or packaged dates will last for one week in the refrigerator or 2-3 months in the pantry. Source: The Spruce Eats
- Freeze unopened package of dried dates for up to 6 months; you can also freeze opened package after tightly sealing it back up with plastic wrap/foil / etc.; a package of thawed dates is good for 48 hours at room temperature (ideally 15-20 C / 59-68 F). Date sugar lasts about six months in an air-tight container at room temperature.
- You can freeze dates, but they will become chewy and change texture after thawing.
Avoid storing dates with:
- Rancid dates. Dates become rancid quickly if left at room temperature or exposed to humidity or moisture, so make sure they are kept in an air-tight container and dry place.
- Plastic wrap/foil. If you’re using plastic wrap to seal the date package, be aware that it may accumulate moisture and cause mold to form on the fruit. The same goes for aluminum foil: don’t use it unless your container is extremely air-tight because it can trap moisture inside and encourage mold growth.
- Nuts. Walnuts turn rancid quickly when exposed to heat and light, so keep them away from all other types of food, including dried fruits such as dates, to avoid possible contamination botulism (a serious form of food poisoning).
- Other fruits. Keep dates away from other types of fruit and vegetables to avoid the risk of cross-contamination (and mold!) and to reduce unnecessary moisture in the storage area.
- Shelf space with other foods. Dates only need a shelf space that is similar to their size; they can easily get crushed or irritated by larger items placed on top, so keep them away from such food items if you don’t want them all to go bad quickly!
What Are The Risks Of Consuming Expired Dates?
Nowadays, many people are getting more health-conscious and aware about what they eat. They follow the expiration dates of the food item to avoid consuming it after its expiry date. But do you really know if your food is safe to consume or not and how long do dates last you consume? What are the risks associated with eating expired foods? Keep on reading to find out!
If you consume expired dates, it can be harmful to your health. Here are some risks associated with it:
- Ingestion of expired dates results in the reduction of taste and flavor. It reduces the nutritional value of food as well.
- Expired foods can harm one’s health. Consuming expired items regularly can lead to digestive issues such as acid reflux, IBS, and diarrhea due to excessive consumption of sugars found in those products after their expiry date. Additionally, eating these old foods will cause mental fatigue, stress and result in depression as well.
- Expired foods can be harmful because it contains more amount of yeast than usual. Yeast is responsible for causing fatigue and indigestion or stomach ache after its consumption by human beings.
- Eating expired food items can result in the overgrowth of bad bacteria in your intestine. This will increase the risk of getting gastroenteritis and other related health issues.
- Eating expired foods can also lead to skin problems such as acne, rashes, or any other allergic reactions due to bacterial toxins on them. Moreover, consuming these items might also result in respiratory problems, as bacteria present in those foods can enter your body through the bloodstream and cause congestion.
- Consuming expired items might also lead to diarrhea and vomiting due to the presence of germs that cannot be killed by heat or any other temperature.
- Additionally, eating these old food items might also result in a weak immune system and can cause a headache or migraines due to the presence of chemicals in them.
Moreover, eating these food items might also result in obesity and diabetes due to excessive amounts of sugar being present in them.
In simple words, you should never consume expired foods because it can lead to several health issues that could become harmful for your life in the long run. Thus, it is advisable to always check your food items according to their expiry date before consuming them.
Food Expiration Guidelines By The FDA:
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has different standards for different types of foods:
- “Sell-By” Date tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. You should buy the product before the date expires.
- “Best if Used By (or Before)” Date is recommended for best flavor or quality. It is not a purchase or safety date.
- “Use-By” Date is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. The manufacturer of the product has determined the date.
Can you freeze Dates?
Sure, you can freeze dates. However, keep in mind that they won’t last long!
First of all, remove the pits (the hard part at the center). Also, make sure to remove any stickers (if any), clean them off with a wet cloth, and lay them on paper towels. Once they are dry, place them inside large zipped food bags or air-tight containers so nothing gets in or out.
Now find an air-tight box that they will all fit in and place it in the freezer. Label your container(s) with their date and note what kind of dates they are (Medjool, Deglet Noor, etc.). If you want to freeze more than one type of date, just put “various” as the name for all of your frozen batches.
Keep in mind that dates last longer when they are stored at room temperature, so make sure to keep them away from any heat sources! Also, try not to let them sit out for more than a day or two before you freeze them. Otherwise, they will start to dry out, which means they won’t taste as good when you defrost them later.
Dates can be frozen up in a refrigerator for a year without losing too much of their flavor. However, if you have lots of extra dates lying around, then go ahead and freeze them in smaller batches because your dates won’t stay fresh in the freezer for very long (no more than a couple of months).
How long do dates last in the fridge?
If you want to know how long do dates last then here is the answer. Dates can last up to three weeks in the fridge, after which they will have slightly hardened. One should let dates soften to room temperature before eating them. You can also store dates in the deep freezer, where they can last up to six months.
To see if your dates are still good enough to eat, press on them with your thumb. If you leave an indentation, the date is still fine to eat; if there’s no dent, it’s time to throw it out! Dates can also be frozen in the same way as they’re stored in the fridge.
To soften up a hard date, place it in a bowl and add just enough warm water to cover the date. Leave it for about an hour or until it becomes gooey before eating! You can use this method to accelerate the ripening process of any fruit that has ripened past its prime.
If you don’t have time to wait for dates to soften properly, try this trick: slice the dates open lengthwise – this will help heat up the date faster, so it’s ready to eat more quickly.
So, there you have it. You know all about how long do dates last and the best ways to store them, so they don’t spoil too quickly. But what flavors of date should you stock in your pantry? This is a tough one because everyone has their preferences regarding this fruit’s flavor profile. Some people love the tangy taste, while others crave something sweeter like Medjool or Honey Dates. It just depends on your tastes! Our favorite thing about eating these delicious fruits is that we get to take a trip down memory lane with each bite.
Dates remind us of our childhoods spent snacking from bowls full of fresh-picked pieces at family gatherings. There are many different varieties and storage methods, but the most important thing to know is how long do dates last. Dates can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 months and can be frozen for 6-9 months. We hope you learned something new from this blog post – let us know if there’s anything else you want us to cover on date basics!
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