Raisins can be enjoyed as a snack or used as an ingredient in cooking and baking. But no matter how you use them, sooner or later you will find yourself with a big open package that you don’t plan on finishing anytime soon. That’s when the question “do raisins go bad?” comes up.
Or maybe you wanted to save some money and bought raisins in bulk. And you’re searching for the best way to store them for the long term. You have thought about refrigerating them but aren’t sure if that helps. And since fridge space comes at a premium in many households, you want to know for sure if it makes sense to keep them in there.
If those concerns sound familiar, this article is for you. In it, we go through storage, shelf life, and going bad of raisins.
If that’s something you want to learn a bit more about, you’re in the right place. Read on.
How Long Do Raisins Last?
An unopened bag of raisins lasts for a couple of months past the date printed on it. Once you open up the bag, raisins should keep quality for about 6 months if you store them in a sealed bag. Without a tight seal, they will dry out sooner.
Raisins, unlike fresh fruit like bananas or pineapples, have a long shelf life. But that doesn’t mean you should store them for years. Even dried fruits are perishable goods and will dry out or degrade in quality at some point.
|Raisins (unopened)||Best-by + 1 – 3 months||Best-by + 1 – 3 months|
|Raisins (opened)||6 months||6 months|
Date on the Label
A bag of raisins usually comes with a best-by date on the label. That date is, obviously, only a rough estimate of how long the raisins will retain quality.
You can easily assume that they should be perfectly fine up to that date and then some.
Let’s be real here, dried fruit isn’t a food product known for going bad fast and easily. As long as you take good care of them, they should last a few months past that date in good condition.
Once you open the package, the shelf life of the leftover raisins depends on how you store them.
If you seal them tightly and follow the rest of the guidelines, they should last for at least 6 months.
Of course, if you open the package near the date on the label, don’t expect them to keep quality for that long.
How to Store Raisins
Store raisins in a cool, dry, and dark place, like a pantry or a kitchen cabinet. Once you open the bag, seal it with a clip or transfer the raisins into a freezer bag, so that they don’t dry out. You can refrigerate raisins after opening, but that’s not a requirement.
Raisins are essentially grapes that are dried to extend their shelf life. The process of drying grapes also enhances the sweetness of the fruit. Since raisins contain little moisture, they are shelf-stable.
Once you open the package, the most important thing is to keep the leftovers sealed tightly. If you plan on using the raisins within a month, I would stick with the plastic wrapping they came in and tried to seal it as tightly as I could.
If you expect to keep the raisins around for a longer period, transfer them to an airtight container or a freezer bag. A leaky packaging will cause the dried fruits to dry out and harden, and you definitely don’t want that.
Next, half-open raisins should sit away from moisture to prevent mold growth, and heat and light so they won’t dry out. That makes the pantry the best place to store raisins. If the pantry is not an option, a dark cabinet in the kitchen will do too. Just make sure it’s nowhere near the stove.
Do Raisins Need to Be Refrigerated After Opening?
Raisins don’t require refrigeration after opening the package – they can stay in the pantry. But if you live in a hot and humid climate, and you don’t have access to a slightly colder pantry, refrigeration will help them last much longer.
In “typical” circumstances, raisins retain quality in the pantry for as long as they do in the refrigerator. Therefore, storing them in the fridge doesn’t really help.
When it comes to refrigerating these dried fruits, make sure you put them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Otherwise, they will dry out quickly.
How to Tell If Raisins Have Gone Bad
As usual, start by looking for any typical signs of spoilage, such as mold or any other organic growth. An off odor (instead of the usual sweetish-tart aroma) or significant changes in color mean the raisins are spoiled and should be discarded too.
If your raisins have dried out and hardened, you can still revive them.
If everything about the raisins seems to be perfectly fine, eat one or two and decide what to do with them based on the taste.