So you’ve bought a big slab of fudge at a fair or candy shop. Or even ordered online, since that’s a thing now. And after a few days you start to wonder: does fudge go bad?
Or maybe you used a recipe you found online, and are wondering how long will the fudge last. Or if you can keep it on the counter, or refrigerate it right away.
And there’s also the question of whether or not you can freeze fudge, and how well does it freeze.
If you’d like to learn a bit more about either of these topics, this article is for you. In it, we talk about storage, shelf life, and going bad of fudge. If that sounds interesting, read on.
Image used under Creative Commons from photophnatic
How To Store Fudge
When it comes to storing fudge, there are three options. Those are room temperature, the fridge, and the freezer. And each option has its unique pros and cons, and might be the best choice depending on your situation.
Let’s start with storing fudge at room temperature. That means it sits in the pantry or in the kitchen. Choose a cool place away from sunlight and sources of heat. Either can make the fudge melt, and we don’t want that. This method is best for storing fudge short term, both homemade and store-bought alike. To prevent the candy from drying out and hardening, transfer it to an airtight container, especially if the original cardboard box can’t be closed tightly. You can keep a few layers in a single container, just put a sheet of wax paper between each. Alternatively, you can cut the slab into smaller pieces and place each piece in a freezer bag. If you do that, remember to squeeze out air before fastening the seal.
The second way of storing fudge is the fridge. It works great if you want to store your homemade or commercial fudge for a few weeks. Or if you live in a hot climate and it’s summer, so you’re afraid the candy will melt. But if you’re thinking about refrigerating store-bought fudge, make sure you read the label first. Some confectioners specifically mention that their product shouldn’t be refrigerated. So if your fudge is cleared for refrigeration, you need to pack it properly, so it doesn’t pick up any moisture or odors from the fridge. Once again, an airtight container or a freezer bag are both great options.
Last but not least, you can freeze fudge. It works great for both homemade fudge and the one you’ve bought in the candy store. Pretty much everyone agrees that you can freeze fudge and that it works quite well. To retain the best quality possible, double-wrap the slab, and then put in a freezer bag or an airtight container. When it comes to specifics, use wax paper for the first wrap and aluminum foil or plastic wrap for the second.
When it comes to thawing, a few hours in the fridge should be more than enough. You can also easily cut frozen fudge into pieces, so if you’re in a hurry, you can cut it up directly after taking from the freezer and serve to your guests.
How Long Does Fudge Last
Fudge basically consists of sugar, butter, and milk. Neither milk nor butter is known to last particularly long at room temperature on its own. But thanks to sugar and heating it does last quite a few days even if not refrigerated.
For homemade fudge, it usually lasts in good quality between a week and two weeks at room temperature, and around 3 to 4 weeks when refrigerated. For prolonged storage freezing is in order.
When it comes to store-bought fudge, well, find the date on the label and use it as your guideline. It’s pretty much impossible to say how long the fudge you’ve bought will last. That’s because there are hundreds of varieties, some confectioners use preservatives while others don’t, etc. If the fudge is similar to a homemade one in terms of ingredients, it will last around 10 to 14 days. But you can also find fudge that should retain quality even for a couple of months. In other words, check the label and adhere to the date there. When it comes to refrigerating, if the maker encourages it, it should give the fudge another week or two. If the shelf life is too short for your needs, you can always freeze the candy.
|Homemade fudge||1 – 2 weeks||3 – 4 weeks|
|Commercial fudge||Best-by + 1 week||Best-by + 2-3 weeks|
Please note that the periods above are only estimates.
How To Tell If Fudge Has Gone Bad
Generally, it takes quite some time until properly stored fudge shows any typical signs of spoilage, like mold growth or an off odor. So it’s more about its quality than going bad in the usual sense of the word. And when it comes to fudge, the quality is all about the texture. If the candy dries out and hardens, it’s past its prime, and you should get rid of it. Same if it melts and turns slimy.
If everything about the fudge in terms of texture, appearance, and smell seems to be okay, it’s most likely perfectly fine to it. That is, of course, if you don’t already store it much longer than recommended.