If you’ve ever found a forgotten box of raisins, you may have wondered, “How long do raisins last?”.
When it comes to dried fruit, raisins are one of the most popular options. They’re perfect for snacking, baking, and brightening up savory dishes with some sweetness. But one seldom uses an entire box of raisins at once. So, there’s almost always a need to store them.
For this reason, it’s essential to know how long raisins last, how to store them correctly, and how to tell if they’re bad.
What are Raisins?
Raisins are essentially dried grapes, most commonly made with Thompson seedless grapes. Some producers may dry the raisins in the sun, but most use a dehydrator in a controlled environment. And the drying process can take a few weeks to complete.
Once the grapes are dry, they are typically preserved using sulfur dioxide. Many enjoy raisins as a snack on their own. But they’re most often included in desserts and baked goods and are sometimes used in savory dishes.
Raisins make a great addition to oatmeal or yogurt. And they can also be used to top off a salad or add sweetness to a savory dish. Plus, raisins are a healthy snack high in fiber and antioxidants.
How Long Do Raisins Last?
Because they’re a crucial ingredient in many cookies, cakes, and pies, raisins exist in most kitchen pantries. But what if you don’t bake often? And how long do raisins last before you can no longer use them?
Any dried fruit can last a while because drying is a natural way of preserving food. Therefore, adequately dehydrated raisins can last for a very long time. However, if they are exposed to moisture, the grapes are at risk of developing mold.
While raisins are generally long-lasting, they cannot last forever. Therefore, every box or packet of raisins will display an expiry date as a guide. However, they should be good for between six months to a year. But their longevity will depend on how you store them.
The Best Way to Storage Raisins
You must store raisins correctly to prolong their shelf life. If you’re not careful, your raisins could go bad quickly. The following are a few crucial tips to help you get the most out of your raisins:
- If you’ve opened the box, ensure the remaining raisins are stored in an airtight container. This will keep excess moisture out and help to maintain their texture. A Ziploc bag will also suffice.
- Keep your raisins stored in a cool, dark place. Exposure to light and heat can cause them to deteriorate more quickly. If your box of raisins is still unopened, you can store them safely in a cool pantry cupboard or drawer. Leftover raisins can be transferred to an airtight container or bag, Thereafter, you can place them in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.
- Don’t forget to check the expiration date. Even though raisins have a long shelf life, they will eventually go bad. And once they’re past their expiration date, there’s no turning back. Take note of the date before storing, so you’re well aware and have time to plan their future use.
How to Tell if Your Raisins are Bad
If you’re unsure whether your raisins are still good to eat, you can do a few simple tests.
First, inspect the raisins for any visible signs of aging. They’re probably fine to eat if they’re dried out and wrinkled. However, if they’re soft or sticky, they’ve likely gone bad. You should also be on the lookout for mold or discoloration, a telltale sign that your raisins are bad.
Another way to determine the state of your raisins is by doing a sniff test. Raisins should smell sweet and fruity. If they smell sour or musty, it’s best to toss them out.
If there are no visual signs and they still smell fine, you could always take a small taste. If the raisins are hard and tasteless, they’ve probably been stored too long. However, if they’re still chewy and flavorful, you can safely use them in your next dessert or dish.
Dried raisins have a pretty long shelf life. But you can take steps to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible. However, they will eventually expire. When they do, you’ll want to follow the steps detailed above to ensure they’re safe for consumption. And if you’re still asking, “How long do raisins last?”, the answer is six months to a year on average.