Do Marshmallows Go Bad?

Do you love marshmallows? Marshmallows make a terrific snack on their own but these are usually best enjoyed as dessert add-ons or toppings! You might think marshmallows are a modern treat but they’ve been around for a long time. In fact, ancient Egyptians were the first to make this world-famous candy. Marshmallows are usually sold in large bags so how do you store the rest of your stash? Do marshmallows go bad?

Modern marshmallow is made from a mixture of gelatin, sugar, and water. Although marshmallows have a high water content, these treats are quite shelf stable. Yes, marshmallows will go bad at some point but these candies have a long shelf life.

Image used under Creative Commons from jamieanne

Of course, marshmallows won’t keep forever. Improper storage could also alter the texture of the candy and affect its shelf life. Marshmallows that are improperly packed in storage will clump together and become sticky. The change in texture doesn’t’ mean that the marshmallows are no longer safe to eat, they just turn goopy due to the melted sugars. Thankfully, it’s easy to avoid such mishap, just keep the container sealed after every use!

How to Store Marshmallows?

Storing Marshmallows in the Pantry

Unopened packs of marshmallows will do well when stored at room temperature. As long as the candy is kept away from sources of heat, direct sunlight, and moisture, a sealed bag of marshmallows will keep in the pantry for a long time. No additional prep is needed for storing unopened bags of marshmallows in the pantry.

You can also store opened bags of marshmallows in the pantry but there is a good chance that the marshmallows will soften and turn goopy when stored at room temperature. To avoid this, try this trick: Open a bag of marshmallows and pop a piece of white bread inside the bag. Seal the bag and stash the candy in a cool, dry place, away from light.

Storing Marshmallows in the Refrigerator

This is the best place to store unopened and opened packs of marshmallows! However, you have to prep the candy if the bag has been opened. Fridge air tends to be moist, which could affect the texture of the marshmallows. To offset the moistness in the air, it’s best to transfer the candy in an airtight container and then sprinkle a little powdered sugar over the marshmallows. If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can use cornstarch.

After sprinkling the marshmallows with powdered sugar, seal the container and give it a good shake. You want to make sure that the marshmallows are evenly coated with the stuff. The powdered sugar or cornstarch will absorb moisture from the air, which will prevent the marshmallows from sticking to each other into a giant glob. After sealing the container, store the marshmallows in the darkest corner of the fridge.

Storing Marshmallows in the Freezer

You’d be surprised, marshmallows do freeze beautifully. This is a great way of preserving the freshness of marshmallows especially if you bought the candy in bulk. There is no additional prep needed if you are storing unopened bags of marshmallows in the freezer, just check the bags into the freezer directly.

But for opened bags of marshmallows, we highly suggest transferring the candy in an airtight, freezer-safe container first. Do not pack the marshmallows too tightly or they’ll be squished in storage. Seal the container tightly then stick in the freezer.

To defrost the frozen marshmallows, take the bag out of the freezer and leave to thaw on the kitchen counter for 15 minutes. If the marshmallows turn sticky, sprinkle a little powdered sugar or cornstarch into the bag. Give the bag of marshmallows a good shake and the marshmallows should be ready to use.

If say, you are using the frozen marshmallows in a dessert that require the soft candies to be cut to size, you have to let the marshmallows defrost completely. This way, the candies are much easier to cut. Again, the marshmallows will likely soften as they thaw at room temperature so add a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar so the marshmallows won’t stick together.

Image used under Creative Commons from Harsha K R

Shelf Life of Marshmallows

Kept in the pantry, an unopened bag of marshmallows will keep for at least 6 months. But once the bag of marshmallows has been opened, the treats will only last for 2 to 4 months. In the fridge, marshmallows will keep for at least 3 months. When frozen, marshmallows will keep indefinitely. However, consume the marshmallows within 3 months for optimal quality and taste.

How to Tell If Marshmallows Have Gone Bad?

A freshly opened bag of marshmallow has a sweet yet mild aroma, pillowy-soft texture, and sugary taste. Discoloration and changes in taste may be a sign that the marshmallows have gone bad. This goes especially for a bag of marshmallows that have been left in storage for too long or a bag that’s been kept in a humid or moist storage spot. Changes in texture do not necessarily mean that the marshmallows are no longer safe to eat. However, an abnormally chewy texture is a sign that the marshmallows are old or poorly packed in storage.

Candies of all types will attract a host of pantry bugs, particularly ants. If a bag of marshmallows has been kept for too long in storage, inspect the container of the candy first. Make sure that the bag is completely sealed and free from holes caused by pantry bugs.

Summary

Do marshmallows go bad? Some say that marshmallows will keep forever but this is not true at all. Marshmallows could go bad especially if the container has been compromised. Since marshmallows are sold in huge bags, we recommend splitting a bag into equal portions prior to storage. Always use airtight, sealed containers to extend the freshness of the marshmallows. Most importantly, keep all the storage tips we’ve outlined above to make the most out of your supply!