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How Long Does Dried Fruit Last?

Dried fruit has been around for centuries, and it's no wonder why. This naturally sweet snack is easy to pack, a nutritious choice, and pretty much the perfect snack. But exactly how long can we keep these healthy treats before they spoil?

Dried fruit is convenient, tasty, and easy to eat on the go. It is the ultimate nutrient-packed snack that can help you meet or maintain your health goals and, let’s face it - your happiness. But how long can most dried fruits last before going bad? Or is this astronaut food that can last forever? Let’s find out. 

The history of dried fruits

We know fruits were originally dried in native cultures to preserve the seasonal bounty. The earliest archaeological evidence of dried fruit can be found in Mesopotamia and dates back to 2,000 BC. Fruits such as dried apricots, pomegranates, figs, raisins, and dates were often used in religious ceremonies or simply eaten as snacks. 

The ancient Egyptians also used dried fruits during their religious rituals and utilised them as an offering to the gods. 

Today we are fortunate enough to have access to different types of dried fruits from around the world. Dried fruit is still widely used for snacking but has also become popular for adding flavour and texture to salads or baking goods like muffins or bread. It can also be used as a healthy alternative for those wanting something sweet without any added sugar or artificial sweeteners

Does dried Fruit last forever?

We’ve got bad news and good news. Dried fruit does not last forever. On the bright side, if you store it correctly, it can certainly last longer than a bowl of fresh fruit on your countertop.

According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, most dried fruit lasts up to one year at 16ºC and up to six months at 27ºC if they are stored properly.

So why can’t we keep our dried snacks forever? Native cultures started drying, salting, and smoking foods from 9600 BC to elongate their lifespan. They knew early that these methods reduced spoilage. It wasn’t until later that scientists pinned the decline of fresh food on malevolent bacteria that thrive on excess moisture and oxygen. 

The truth is, a more juicy dried fruit snack won’t last as long as one with less moisture content. 

How do I know If my fruit snacks have gone bad?

So you’ve got some questionable dried fruit snacks? What’s the litmus test for freshness? Here are some things to look out for:

Look & smell

One of the simplest ways to tell if your dried fruit has gone bad is by looking at it and giving it a sniff. If the colour looks very dull or faded, or if there are patches of mould growing, then you know it's time to throw it away. 

Similarly, if the smell is off or you notice an unpleasant odour coming from the bag, this is a sign that your dried fruit has gone bad and should not be eaten. 

Texture & taste

Another way to tell if your dried fruit has spoiled is by giving it a taste test. If the texture feels harder than upon opening, then this could indicate that the fruit's moisture levels have changed, which means it's not going to be the best to eat. Of course, some snacks are dried to crispness for preference, so this doesn’t apply to those. 

Finally, a sour or very bitter taste could also mean that your dried fruit has gone off and isn't best for consumption. 

Generally speaking, you’ll know if your snacks are not edible if:

  • They smell funky.
  • They are discoloured. 
  • They have lost their flavour. 
  • They have become very hard.
  • You see oozing liquid or mould. 

If your snack passes the test above, keep moving and enjoy. 

Storing dried fruit the right way

Dried fruit is susceptible to spoilage just like any other food. Knowing how to tell if your dried fruit has gone bad is essential to avoid eating something that isn't safe. 

The enemies of dried fruit freshness are oxygen and moisture. Oxidation happens almost immediately when you open up a new pack of dried fruit snacks. Its partner in crime, atmospheric moisture, comes soon thereafter to ruin the party.

Let’s take a look at how to put up a good fight against both!

Here are the essentials to maximising the lifespan of your favourite dried fruit:

  • Store dried fruit in an airtight container or zip-top bag. 
  • Keep your dried snacks away from direct sunlight or other heat sources. 
  • Avoid any humid storage areas.
  • Refrigerate if possible to reduce degradation. 

What is the best dried fruit with the longest shelf life?

The shelf life of dried fruit depends on a few factors, such as the type of fruit and storage conditions. Generally speaking, some of the best-dried fruits for longevity are mangos, figs, dried plums or prunes, raisins, and blueberries. These will last for up to one year when stored correctly. 

Fruits like jackfruit have a year shelf life if kept away from heat, moisture, and oxygen and properly stored.

Why do some of these dried fruits stick around longer? Fruits with a higher fat content tend to have a slightly shorter shelf life, while those with a low moisture and fat content tend to last longer. The other factor is the type of dried fruit snack you prefer. Dried to chewiness will mean slightly shorter longevity than those dried to crisp for example. 

Freeze-dried vs. dehydrated fruits

Different drying methods can also help your healthy snacks last longer. When we’re talking astronaut food, we’re referring to a process called freeze drying. This takes out 99% of the moisture and can allow dried fruit to last up to 25 years! Unfortunately, after you open the pack and oxygen makes contact, you’ve got about six to twelve months of remaining shelf life.

Realistically, if you are drying fruit at home, you'd be using a conventional dehydrator. This will put you in the six-month to a one-year range of shelf life if stored correctly. 

Sure, you can try to stretch your snacks to the limit. But to ensure maximum freshness of commercial dried fruit snacks, try to eat them within 12 hours after opening. This will help ensure you are getting the best quality and nutrition. 

Stock up on dried superfruit snacks today!

We hardly think that your Soul Fruit dried mango, jackfruit, and dragon fruit snacks will last long enough for you to need to store them because they're just too tasty, but if they do, we hope this information helps! 

For a nutrient-packed clean energy boost, pop some dried fruit snacks in all the right places - your cupboard, your car, your gym bag - and you’ll thank yourself later.

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