Whether eaten on their own or added to sweet or savory dishes, raisins are nutritious and delicious. If you find a large bag of raisins that you bought a while ago and forgot all about, then you may be wondering if the raisins have gone bad and if you can use them. Read on to know more.
What Is the Shelf Life of Raisins?
Raisins are essentially dried grapes and have a fairly long shelf life compared to fresh fruit. However, this does not mean that you can store raisins for years. Dried raisins are perishable products and will degrade in quality, lose their taste and dry out over time.
How long the raisins will last depends on various factors, such as the drying method and how they are stored.
How Long Do Raisins Last?
How long a bag of raisins lasts depends on where and how they are stored.
- Outside: If stored outside, an opened bag of raisins has a very short shelf life because it is exposed to air, warmer temperatures and moisture, all of which reduce the shelf life of the raisins and they may last for less than 6 months. An unopened bag of raisins kept outside can last between 6-12 months as the sealed bag stops the raisins from being contaminated by the air or moisture.
- In the Refrigerator: Storing the raisins in the refrigerator can help to extend its shelf life. When kept in the fridge, an opened bag of raisins can last up to 6 to 12 months after its expiration date, while a sealed bag in the fridge has a longer shelf life of around 1 to 2 years.
- In the Freezer: Raisins last the longest when stored in the freezer; however, they can lose their flavor if frozen for a very long time. In the freezer, an opened bag of raisins can last for 1 year after the expiration date; however, after this, the quality will start degrading. An unopened, well-sealed bag of raisins can last for more than 2 years because freezing regulates the moisture and prevents the growth of mold.
Related: Best Freezer Container Reviews 2022: Top 5+ Recommended
How to Store Opened Raisins
As we have discussed earlier, once you open a bag of raisins, the air, temperature and moisture cause them to degrade and once opened, raisins can last up to 6 months. However, storing them in an airtight container and storing the raisins in the refrigerator or freezer can extend the shelf life considerably.
When you open a bag of raisins and if they are stored outside, after some time, you will notice that they begin to harden. This is because when stored for a very long time, the moisture from the raisins evaporates and they turn hard. While this does not mean that the raisins are spoiled; however, they most likely would have lost their flavor.
You can use the hardened raisins by soaking them in hot water for 1-2 hours and rehydrating them. You can also rehydrate the raisins by soaking them in fruit juice or liquor like wine.
Soaking the raisins in liquor enhances their taste and makes them a delicious, flavorful addition to your dishes. Raisins that have been rehydrated this way should be used immediately as they do not store very well.
Further Reading: Food Storing Guide: Storage Times For The Refrigerator And Freezer
Signs That the Raisins Have Gone Bad
Raisins are perishable and have a certain shelf life, after which they will go bad. But the question is, how do you know that the raisins have gone bad? Here are some signs that the raisins have gone off:
- Changes in the Color and Appearance: On examining the raisins closely, if you notice signs of discoloration or dark/light spots, it means that either the raisins are rotten or on the way to getting spoiled.
- Unpleasant Odor: If the raisins have gone bad, then they’re likely to have a rotten or sour smell. And, if the raisins have been stored for a few months or more, first check the smell before using them.
- Change in Taste: If the raisins have lost their flavor or taste rotten, tangy or sour, it means that they have gone bad and must be thrown away.
- Changed Texture: If the raisins are stored for too long, they become hard, dry and tough to chew. This does not mean that the raisins have gotten spoiled and can be easily rehydrated by soaking in hot water or liquor.
- Mold and Pests: If the raisins have been stored outside and they have come in contact with any moisture, this can cause mold growth. If you notice any blue-green or black spots on the raisins or if you see any pests in the raisins, throw them away immediately.
How to Store Raisins Long Term
As we discussed earlier, freezing the raisins is the best way to extend the shelf life of raisins and store them long term. To freeze the raisins, first, spread them in a single layer on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet. Freeze the tray for 1-2 hours.
Then transfer the raisins into an airtight container. This way the raisins can last indefinitely in the freezer; however, after around 1.5-2 years, the quality may start degrading. When you want to use the frozen raisins, you can simply thaw them either in the refrigerator or keep them at room temperature on your kitchen countertop.
In conclusion, when stored properly, raisins can last for a very long time. All you need to do is follow the tips that we have discussed in our article and you’ll have raisins at hand every time you need them.
Further Reading: 8 Foods with Longest Shelf Life that Last for the Long Term