Bought a pack of dates and forgot about it? There’s a chance it might still be edible. Luckily for you, dates are infamous for their extensive shelf life. But that doesn’t mean they don’t go bad.
So, How Long Do Dates Last in the Fridge or at room temperature?
At room temperature, you can store them for 1 to 3 months. When refrigerated in an airtight container, you are looking at up to a year. It all depends on how well you store them. Let’s look at further details.
How Long Can You Store Dates?
Did you know dates are one of the oldest fruits existing for some thousand years now? It has been aptly named the Tree of Life in the Middle East. Legends about its origin say God created dates right after Adam from the same dust.
Dates can be of various kinds, but all of them are high in minerals, fructose, and vitamins. They share a long shelf life and are great to stock up on. They can be consumed for months and, at times, even a year or two following their best-by date. But there are specifications to their shelf life depending on the type.
Let’s take a look at the common types of dates:
Semi-dry: Sayer, Piarom, and Rabbi
|Type of Dates||Pantry||Fridge|
|Mazafati||1 to 3 months||6 months|
|Piarom||6 months||12 months|
|Sayer||6 months||12 months|
|Rabbi||12 months||18 months|
|Zahedi||18 months||24 months|
How long you can store dates depend on the kind you buy and the storage conditions. Not sure of the best way to preserve dates for prolonged use? Let me help.
How To Store Dates?
While dates are already long-lasting, storing them properly increases their shelf life drastically. As long as you know how to store them well, you can enjoy them for months. Below are the 3 scenarios for storing dates:
In Your Pantry
For semi-dry dates, room temperature is good for about a month or two. Seal them in an airtight container or a jar to keep their flavors from escaping. Always pick a cool and dry place for them. If you have dark kitchen cabinets or household pantries, it’s ideal. Just make sure no heat sources are nearby.
Recommended for: Ajwa, Sokari, Khidri, and Wanan
In The Fridge
If you store them well in the refrigerator, dates will last 6 months to a year. The cool temperature ensures they retain their flavor for a longer time. I suggest checking the refrigerator temperature is 40° F or below. Store the dates in a sealed container to shield them against condensation and odors.
Recommended for: Kholas, Medjool, and Segai
In Your Freezer
Planning to store dates for a long while? Freeze them. Use a freezer bag and take time to gently squeeze out the air inside before the bag is sealed. Place it somewhere with 0° F temperature. This will ensure they freeze well, more so because of their high sugar content. Thaw them at room temperature before consuming them.
Recommended for: All kinds
0° F is ideal for preserving dates for an extended period, but don’t forget the humidity. That’s also an equally important factor. Since dates have high sugar content, high humidity serves as a catalyst for spoilage.
Do Dates Expire? How to Tell If They Have Gone Bad?
Incorrect storage methods contaminate the fruits with bacteria and mold. They eventually go bad. Here’s the good news: the tell-tale signs of spoilage in dates are quite apparent. You won’t have to look for long. Here are some signs that your dates are past their prime:
One of the first things you notice with spoiled dates is the foul odor. It is unmistakable. Usually, dates are known for their neutral and mild aroma. But when they start to spoil, they become rancid, and intense and emit an alcohol-like odor.
Discoloration is the next red flag. If your dates suddenly turn darker or exhibit pale spots on their surface, know that they are inconsumable. Often, this is soon followed by mold growth.
As far as touching them and gauging if they are okay, look for sticky or slimy textures. If you notice them turning sticky or slimy, they have gone bad and are best tossed into the bin. This, combined with other signs, will let you know all about the health of your dates.
Much like the quality, the taste of your dates changes the longer they are stored. Even then, one thing you should not feel about dates is bitterness and acidity. If you notice such a significant change in taste, discard them immediately.
Often I have noticed tiny white dots on dates and mistaken them for mold. But that doesn’t mean dates do not grow mold. One of the most reliable indicators of spoiled dates is mold. It is usually accompanied by a shift in color, texture, and smell.
As for the pale spots, you might notice sometimes, they are separated fruit sugar crystals. Lightly heat up the dates, and they will disappear. These are safe to consume.
Why Are Rotten Dates Bad?
As I said, if you can take chances with the shelf life of any fruit, it is dates. They belong to the category of fruits that remain edible for months and years. You do not need to think of discarding them if a few months have passed.
There are no reliable sources that state consuming spoiled dates lead to specific health risks. But the hard to chew, tough texture, and excessively sweet flavor of old dates make them hard to consume. Remember, they are rich in potassium, fiber, and sugar. So excessive consumption can lead to hyperkalemia and digestive disorders.
If you face symptoms such as redness, skin rash, watery nose, and eye stinging, you could be allergic to dates. Not to mention, moldy dates cause food poisoning. In short, look for the tell-tale signs of spoilage, and if you notice any or many of them, toss them out right away.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Should dates be refrigerated?
Ans. It is best to refrigerate dates in an airtight container to help retain moisture. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 6 months or more, depending on the type. Remember, they may lose moisture with time. If you have large quantities of dates, consider freezing them for up to a year.
Q2. When should you avoid dates?
Ans. Dates tend to be high in sugar alcohol or sorbitol, as it is typically known. This increases your bowel movements and must be avoided during diarrhea. If you have IBS and similar sensitivities, consider avoiding dates. Their high fructose content won’t do you good.
Q3. How many dates eat per day?
Ans. If you consume 5 to 6 dates a day, it should suffice for your good health. Since dates have a certain amount of sugar added, you should not have them in excess. You do not want to risk diabetes or high sugar levels.
Q4. Should we drink water after eating dates?
Ans. This is commonly suggested because drinking water right after enjoying dates can cause a cough. If you want to enjoy dates, try having some water before consuming them. This way, you can enjoy your fruits more.
Q5. What is the benefits of eating dates?
Ans. Dates are high in fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. They offer health benefits from reduced risk of diseases and improved digestion. They are natural sweeteners and can be added to any recipe for some extra sweetness.
The Bottom Line
Dates are delicious indulgences for any occasion. As one of the most famous fruits in the world, dates have a surprisingly long shelf life. But knowing about the best ways to store them helps extend that.
If you plan to consume them in a few months, storing them at room temperature or refrigerating them can be ideal. But if your plan is more long-term, freeze them in freezer bags, and you should be good to go!