Because dates are usually quite expensive, it’s always a good idea to stock up if you see a good offer in your local grocery, and you can preserve them for later by freezing them.
The type of dates you bought will dictate how you can store them, whether that’s putting them into an airtight jar in the cupboard, or freezing them for later.
Dates are always reliably in high demand, which not only drives the prices up, but it does mean that they’ll practically fly off the shelves if there’s an offer on, so you’ll need to be quick.
Another reason why dates can be expensive, especially Medjool dates, is because they are picked by hand, and this helps retain their texture.
While you’ll find that choice grade dates are cheaper, the jumbo grade are significantly more expensive, so if you do see an offer on, be quick!
The Shelf Life Of Dates
The drier the variety of date, the longer it will last. If you have dried dates, they may last up to a month if you keep them in an airtight container, somewhere cool and dark.
If stored improperly, dates will absorb the odors and flavors of other foods, so you’re best storing them by themselves.
When it comes to fresh dates, like Medjool and other much softer varieties, you can keep them in an airtight container in a cupboard for about a week before they will start to dry out or even ferment.
If you want to keep them for longer than a week, you’ll need to put them into the fridge, but this can alter their texture.
You can extend the time you can safely keep dates for if you freeze them, for up to five years. For best results, aim to use the dates within a year of freezing them.
How Do You Freeze Dates?
Because dates have a very high sugar content (see also How To Freeze Figs), freezing them is the perfect option. On average, if you weigh a date, 50-70 percent of that weight will be sugar.
Freezing them can even improve their texture, where the dates will get creamy, and much softer, compared to fresh dates.
How To Freeze Dried Dates
Freezing dried dates is very easy. Simply decant them into a freezer-safe container, and seal it. Put the container into the freezer, and you’re done.
Dried dates can last a very long time in the freezer.
If you are keeping them in for a longer period, when you take them out you’ll notice sugar crystals on the skins, but this won’t affect the quality or the flavor of the dates.
How To Freeze Date Paste
You can also freeze the dates in paste form. Remove the pits from each date. Put a saucepan of 4 cups of water to simmer.
Remove it from the heat, and put the dates in for 30 minutes, or until they are soft. Transfer one cup’s worth of the water and the dates into a blender, and purée them.
Transfer the paste into an airtight container. Once cool, you can put it in the freezer, where it will easily last a year.
This is a great method of freezing the dates if you have a lot of dates, and not much freezer space. It’s also a perfect alternative to refined sugar, and it’s gluten-free.
How Do You Defrost Frozen Dates?
When it comes to defrosting frozen dates, the easiest way is to transfer them into the fridge, and leave them overnight to defrost.
If this isn’t quick enough, you can microwave them, but you do risk caramelizing them, which alters both the flavor and the consistency, so only heat them for 30 seconds on a low heat.
Can You Refreeze Thawed Dates?
Unlike many foods, you can refreeze dates after you’ve thawed them. It’s not the end of the world if you end up defrosting too many dates, as you can put them back into the freezer.
In order for the dates to be at their best, however, you should freeze them in small portions, and only defrost what you need.
Refreezing dates can alter their texture and flavor, so bear this in mind. If you can, use them straight away.
How Do You Tell If Dates Have Gone Bad?
You’ll know when it’s time to bin the dates. They’ll show signs of discoloration, mold, and once you’ve defrosted them, they may have a strange texture or an odd smell, in which case you shouldn’t chance it.
Dates can be a very expensive indulgence, one which you can curb if you buy them in bulk when they are on offer.
If you make them into a paste before you freeze them, this can also save you time when it comes to using them, if you were planning on using them as a healthier alternative to refined sugar.