Can dates go bad? (+5 health benefits)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can dates go bad?”, and how to safely store dates?

Can dates go bad?

Yes, dates can go bad but not as quickly as the other fruits. Dates contain 30% water content and stay fresh for more than a month at room temperature unless stored improperly. Read on if you want to know how to store dates to extend their shelf-life.

How to store dried dates?

Storing at room temperature

If dates are a part of your routine diet, you can store them in plastic, glass, or airtight containers. dried dates will stay fresh for about 6 months at room temperature. While semi-dry and fresh dates will be good for 4-6 months when stored in the pantry.

Storing in the refrigerator 

Dried fruits stored in the fridge will last 6-12 months while fresh dates will be good for 1 month. To store dates in the fridge, put them in a releasable plastic bag, squeeze out all the air, and chuck t in the fridge.

Storing in the freezer

Put the dates in a freezer bag or air-tight container. Label the bag and put it in the freezer. If using an air-tight container instead, wrap it with a plastic sheet for an external layer of protection. Dried dates stored this way will stay fresh for up to a year.

How long do dates last?

Dates have comparatively longer shelf-life that depends mainly on the cultivar and the water content. Softer dates with a greater water content will go bad quickly than their dry counterparts. On average, dates will stay fresh for 1-3 months when stored in the pantry. Refrigerating the dates will increase their shelf-life to 6-12 months.

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different varieties of dates under different storage conditions.

Dates In the pantryIn the fridge
Mazafati 1-3 months6 months
Piarom 6 months12 months
Sayer 6 months12 months
Rabbi 12 months18 months
Zahedi 18 months24 months

Khalal dates have a crunchy texture and yellowish tone. They are unripe dates. Rutab dates have the perfect ripe brown color. Tamar dates are the sweetest with the highest sugar content and an overripe texture.

How to tell if the dates have gone bad?

Discoloration and mold growth

Mold growth is often accompanied by discoloration and occurs when the dates have been exposed to humidity. If the dates develop discolored or moldy spots or patches on the surface, throw them in the bin.

Bugs 

Bugs and other creatures are common to fruits and vegetables. Therefore, deseed the date and then inspect for any bugs before eating it or adding it to your smoothies or desserts. The presence of a bug inside one date does not necessarily mean the other dates are infected.

It is best to inspect the dates and throw the ones which are infected. Organically grown dates are more susceptible to bugs. Always keep the storage container of the dates closed to keep the fruit from attracting insects and bugs.

Off-odors

Dates do not have a distinct smell. They usually smell very mildly fruity. If there is some off-putting about the smell like rancid and alcoholic odors, discard the dates.

Texture

Dates that are slimy to touch are inconsumable. Discard them immediately.

Taste

Spoiled or bad dates will taste rancid and bitter. In that case, pitch them.

Health benefits of eating dates

Full of nutrients

A 3.5 ounce serving of dates provides the following nutrients.

Calories 277
Carbs 75g
Fiber 7g
Proteins 2g
Potassium 20% of the RDI
Magnesium 14% of the RDI
Copper 18% of the RDI
Manganese 15% of the RDI
Iron 5% of the RDI
Vitamin B612% of the RDI

High in fiber

Due to high fiber content, dates have a low GI value. The fiber helps regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Rich in powerful anti-oxidants 

Flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid present in dates have excellent anti-oxidant properties. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory properties, carotenoids protect the heart and reduce the risk of macular degeneration, phenolic acid fights against cancer.

Promotes brain health 

Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the antioxidants present in dates, dates reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Promotes natural labor

Eating dates during the earlier weeks of pregnancy promotes cervical dilation reducing the need for induced labor. It has also been found to reduce the labor duration. It does so by mimicking the action of the oxytocin hormone.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “Can dates go bad?”, and how to safely store dates?

References

https://foodsguy.com/dates-need-refrigerated/

https://www.doesitgobad.com/do-dates-go-bad/#:~:text=First%20and%20foremost%2C%20the%20dates,longer%20storage%2C%20freeze%20the%20fruits.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-dates#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6

Sana Ameer

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.

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