You’ve been trying to eat healthier and reduce some of the sweets from your diet for a long time now. It’s not easy, but you’ve found some great alternatives that can totally replace your favorite snacks but still taste great!
For this reason, you bought that extra-large package of raisins you planned on storing for the long term, and you already have some interesting recipes to try them out. But they’ve been sitting in the back of your pantry for months now, and now you are wondering – Can Raisins Go Bad?
Well, it is certainly not easy to answer this question as raisins are dried fruit with a meager percentage of water. That makes them a not so perishable product, but can they last indefinitely?
We are here to explain the shelf life of raisins, how to preserve them, and many more important things, so read on!
Do Raisins Go Bad?
Yes, raisins can go bad.
Dried fruits such as raisins are perishable and can’t last forever. But this product will last way longer than you can imagine. However, even if they don’t show any signs of spoilage, they will eventually lose their taste and flavor.
- Raisins are grapes that are dried in the sun or the food dehydrator. Morsels are shriveled in texture and can be yellow, purple, or brown, depending on grape type. Raisins are very versatile and are commonly used for cooking and baking. Also, raisins are naturally sweet and high in sugar, so you can easily replace your sweets with this yummy treat.
- Additionally, they are packed with energy, rich in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain some minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C. Raisins are beneficial to our health, as they can improve digestion, keep bones strong, boost iron levels, and may even prevent heart diseases and cancer!
Types Of Raisins
- Currants: Tart, seedless, and tangy, also very dark in color. These are smaller in size.
- Flame Seedless Raisins: Extra sweet, large and have a dark red color.
- Golden Seedless Raisins: Oven-dried, so the darkening effect from the sunlight is avoided, hence a yellowish color.
- Monukka Raisins: These raisins are large, seedless, and have an orange-brown color.
- Muscat Raisins: These are particularly fruity-tasting, medium in size, and brown. They are often sold with seeds.
- Sultanas: These come from large yellow-green Sultana grapes, very soft, tart, and golden brown.
The Shelf Life Of Raisins
Raisins can last for years if stored properly. These delicate morsels can remain safe to use even months after its best-before-date. Still, the longer they stay on your shelf, the higher are the chances they are degraded in quality.
- An unopened package of raisins can stay fresh for up to 1 year. If the storage conditions are adequate, they will remain safe for use even 1-2 years after the label’s date. But we recommend either freezing the package or using it within the given period.
- As for the opened package, it will remain fresh from 3 to 6 months in the pantry. Although, it will probably stay safe for eating even months after that period if you keep them sealed tightly and follow the rest of the instructions that we have provided in this article.
In general, raisins don’t have the exact expiration date. So the lifespan of this product will depend on the type of grapes (added ingredients like sugar or similar), temperature, and storage conditions. Also, we always strongly advise following the best-by-date as it will provide you with guidelines on how long the product will remain at peak quality.
As we’ve already mentioned, raisins contain a low water percentage, making them shelf-stable for a long term. Storing them is not rocket science, but as always, there are certain storage factors that you should oblige.
- First of all, it is essential you keep the package sealed tightly after opening. That will prevent the moisture from getting in touch with the product or possible oxidation. You can also transfer them in an airtight container or a freezer bag.
- You can keep both unopened and opened packages of raisins at room temperature. Pantry or a kitchen cabinet will work just fine.
- Always keep them in a dry, dark, and cool place. Sources of heat, moisture, and light will deteriorate the product’s quality quickly. Heat and light will dry and harden them even more, and humidity will provide mold growth, so keep that in mind.
- As for refrigerating them, it is not necessary. If you live in a scorching and humid area, then it is for the best you store them in the fridge. You can refrigerate them either way as that will undoubtedly extend their shelf life even more. Still, make sure you put them in an airtight container or wrap an aluminum or plastic foil around the original packaging to prevent them from drying out.
- Freezing your raisins is also an option, as this will extend their shelf life. As they have a little water in them, they will come out of the freezer almost identical to how they went in! Stored in the freezer, they can pretty much last indefinitely. Make sure they are well sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Signs Of Spoiled Raisins
It will undoubtedly be a little more challenging to determine the spoilage on the dried fruit than on a fresh one. While they will probably last years before they go bad, deterioration will still occur eventually. Some of the signs that raisins have gone bad are:
Changes In The Color And Overall Looks
- This is typically less obvious, but take a good look at your raisins first. If you notice some lighter or darker spots or any discoloration signs, it means that the raisins are either rotten or are on their way. At this point, the flavor will be significantly reduced.
Unpleasant And Off-odors
- Take a good sniff after finishing the visual inspection, because it can provide the best indicator. This is not very common, but they have definitely gone bad if they smell sour or rotten. Always check the smell first before tasting any dried fruit that has been stored for more than a few months.
Changes In The Texture
- Any kind of organic growth is the spoilage indicator. Also, hardening is another common thing that happens when the raisins are stored for too long. They become tough to chew. That doesn’t yet mean they are spoiled, and you can put them in boiling water or wine to simmer for a little bit. This will bring back their natural moisture and flavor. Although, use them immediately as you can’t store them afterward.
- Loss of flavor or sour and rotten taste mean the raisins have gone bad, and you should toss them away. Eventually, if they don’t spoil in the way we described, they will certainly lose their taste.
Mold And Pests
- Usually, mold or other organic growth will not grow on dry fruit, but it can still happen if the moisture gets in touch with the product. If you notice black or blue-green spots all over the raisins or see that it is infested with pests, discard it immediately.
- Even if the product looks and smells good, it will degrade in quality and lose its flavors after a while. Thus, it is probably for the best to discard it either way than to risk it.
Make Raisins At Home
Making your own raisins is simple and comes in just a few steps! You will have raisins in no time, just follow these steps:
- Wash the fresh grapes thoroughly in cold water and remove the large stems.
- Place them on the tray with holes for air circulation and put them outside (if it is dry and sunny)
- Rotate them to ensure even sun exposure.
That’s it, and in just 2-3 days, you can enjoy your homemade raisins!
Do Raisins Go Bad? – Final Thoughts
In the end, raisins are not a food product known for going bad that easy or fast. They have a quite long shelf life and can be used even years after the best-before-date.
But the lifespan of raisins will pretty much depend on how you store them. So, if you want to enjoy them for a long time, you should keep them away from moisture, heat, and light sources.
Dark and cool spots are perfect, and pantry or a cupboard work just fine. In addition, transfer them into an airtight container or a freezer bag to prevent them from drying out or going bad quickly. Refrigeration or freezing is not necessary as they can keep fresh at room temperature.
Also, if you notice any signs of spoilage, discard them as they will no longer be safe to use. Discolorations, stale odors, very hard or soft texture, and even pasts or mold are the telltale signs you should look for.
Lastly, even if you’re not a fan, try including them at least for breakfast or replace some sweets with them. As nature’s candy, they offer many fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, hence have a lot of health benefits. Being healthy was never easier!