Do Jelly Beans Go Bad?

You’ve found an old half-open pack of Jelly Belly beans in the cupboard. And they are well past their best-by date. Do jelly beans go bad?

Sugar candies usually last quite a long time, but you’d like to make sure the beans are safe before you give them to your kids. Or, who am I kidding, eat on your own.

Anyway, below we talk briefly about storage, shelf life, and going bad of jelly beans. If that’s what you’re looking for, read on.

Bowl of colorful jelly beans
(credit: Patrick Fore)

How To Store Jelly Beans

I’m sure it doesn’t come as a surprise that you should store jelly beans in a cool and dry place. A cupboard in the kitchen or pantry works perfectly fine for that.

One thing worth remembering is that jelly beans (and other sugar candy) don’t like high temperatures. And they especially don’t like being stored in such conditions for longer periods. That could result in the shells melting and beans changing shape (HB). If it’s the middle of a hot summer, you might consider storing the candy in the fridge to avoid that.

Info

The optimal storage temperature for candy is between 55f (13C) and 77F (25C) (HB).

If you want to make sure the jelly beans keep quality for as long as possible, transfer them to a resealable bag or container after opening.

Jelly beans closeup
(credit: Patrick Fore)

How Long Do Jelly Beans Last

Each pack of jelly beans, no matter if it’s from Jelly Belly, The Jelly Bean Factory, Haribo, or any other manufacturer, comes with a date. That date isn’t an expiration date, but an indicator of how long, approximately, the candy should retain quality.

If you store your jelly beans properly, they should easily last at least a couple of months past that date, if not more. As long as the jelly beans don’t show any signs of spoilage (more on that below), and aren’t super old (like three years past their date), chances are they will be okay to eat.

The last thing to remember is that opening the package doesn’t change much when it comes to shelf life. In other words, it’s not like jelly beans go bad soon after opening, or anything like that. Given that you take pretty good care of them, they should keep for months.

PantryFridge (if needed)
Jelly beansBest-by + 6 – 9 monthsBest-by + 6 – 9 months

Please note the periods above are only estimates.

Jelly Belly dispensers
(credit: Cole Freeman)

How To Tell If Jelly Beans Are Bad?

As I already mentioned, jelly beans keep for quite some time. They usually consist of sugar, corn syrup, starch, and a bunch of other ingredients that make the soft shell and gelly interior (WIKI). Almost all of these are long-lasting, or there are some preservatives added to help make the ingredient stable. In short, it’s not that easy for the beans to spoil.

Of course, life happens, and things can go south. That’s why it’s worth taking a closer look at an old package you just found stored away for months before indulging. Look for any signs of mold, color changes, off smell, or jelly beans melted together.

If neither sign is present, it’s time for a flavor test. Old jelly beans are most often safe to eat, but you might find the flavor lacking. If that’s the case, cut your losses and discard the candy. There’s no point in eating sweets that you don’t even enjoy anyway.

Last but not least, remember that there are tons of flavors available. And if the jelly bean you just ate makes you gag, make sure it’s not from a pack of BeanBoozled beans. Because if it is, that’s how it was supposed to taste, and you simply got unlucky.

Bunch of candy dispensers
(credit: Sneha Chekuri)

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