Do Raisins Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie

Raisins are a healthy snack and popular item in many pantries. Do you wonder how long raisins last? Do raisins expire?

Do raisins go bad? Drying fruit is generally a reliable preservative but even if they are dried, like raisins, they can still go bad. They will not go bad like traditional fruits like pineapples or bananas but will lose their taste and moisture. 

The shelf life of raisins will be longer if they are unopened and stored properly than ones that are opened but will eventually go bad. 

If you have a box of raisins that have been sitting on the shelf for some time, opened or not, are they bad?

What are Raisins?

A raisin is a dried grape and can be eaten raw or used in baking, brewing, and cooking. There are many varieties of raisins and can include different colors and sizes, including green, brown, black, yellow, purple, and blue. 

The grapes that are turned into raisins are sun-dried, mechanically dried, or shade-dried. Most are sun-dried or dried in a food dehydrator. The drying process can take about three weeks.

How Long Do Raisins Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

RaisinsPantryRefrigeratedFreezer
Opened3-5 months from the opening date6-12 monthsUp to 12 months
Unopened6-12 months past expiration date1-2 years past expiration dateIndefinitely (taste diminishes after 18 months)

How to Store Raisins

After opening the raisins, make sure that you store them in a tightly sealed container. For long shelf life, store them in the refrigerator. You want to make sure that it is a tightly sealed container to help regulate the moisture that gets in the container to help prevent the growth of mold.

Over time, the raisins that you store in the pantry will start to become less sticky and will harden some. The reason is that when they are stored for a long time, their moisture starts to evaporate so they may become hard to chew. This does not always indicate spoilage but the flavor has been reduced. 

Make sure that when you store your raisins in the pantry that you do not store them near flour, rice, or other grains because they may already have insects in them and you do not want them to creep into your raisins due to the natural sugar that could attract them. 

You can also vacuum seal raisins and store them in your pantry, fridge, or freezer. This is a way to take a large box of raisins and make them into single size portions.

One thing to note is they are not pest proof so it is advisable to store the bags in some type of tightly sealed container so if you should get mice, they will not chew through the bags. A metal container might be better as mice and other chewing animals cannot chew through them.

You can also store them in canning jars like you would if you were canning other vegetables or fruits and store them in a cool, dry place.

How to Freeze Raisins – Make Raisins Last Longer!

This is one way that you can extend their shelf life. The texture of frozen raisins does not change all that much because of their low moisture content. In order to freeze raisins, you cannot just put them in a zip lock bag and throw them in the freezer. You want to make sure that you break up the clumps by spreading them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Freeze them on the tray for an hour and then transfer them to an airtight container. The quality may diminish over time. When you want to thaw them, you can do it on the countertop or in the refrigerator. If you are going to bake or cook with them, you can just put them in the dish without thawing them if you want.

Freezing raisins is like halting their aging process. When they come out of the freezer, they will look like they did when you put them in there.

How to Tell if Raisins are Bad

Smell: With dried fruit like raisins, the signs of being bad or spoilage is not as obvious as it would be with fresh fruit. The best indicator to tell if they are bad is to smell them. If they smell rotten or sour, they are bad and should be thrown away immediately. Do not consume them. If any dried fruit has been stored for six months or longer, you should always check for odor changes.

Mold: This is another indication of bad raisins. If you see any type of mold growth anywhere on the raisins throw them away. Generally, mold will not grow on dried fruit unless it has been introduced to outside moisture. This can happen if they are stored in a very humid environment. This is one of the reasons they need to be stored in a tightly sealed container. 

For dried fruits, this will rarely happen if they are dry but if they become moist from condensation, it can happen. This mold will usually cause blue-green or black spots all over the raisins.

Discoloration: This can sometimes indicate that the raisins are bad but they may not be completely bad yet but they are on their way. At this point, you will have reduced flavor. You may notice that the raisins have either darker or lighter spots on them.

Taste: Of course, if they smell bad you should not try to eat them but if the smell is not there, you can taste a couple. If they are bad, they generally have a sour or bitter taste. 

Pests: As mentioned, their sweetness can attract insects like moths, beetles, their larvae all like to partake of the sweetness of raisins. And they could get pests if they are stored next to foods that are infested. If you see any type of pests, do not try them but immediately throw them away. This is one thing you should check for before you do a taste test if you cannot tell they are bad by the smell.

When the texture, color, and taste changes, or you see mold on them, it is best to throw them away and get new raisins.

How to Soften Hard Raisins

If the raisins you have stored on the pantry shelf have become hard, you can rehydrate them by soaking them in warm water for a few hours. These are best used for baking or cooking but not so great for eating.

You can also simmer them in wine for a few minutes and then turn off the heat. Cover them to let them simmer for thirty minutes to give flavor to a dish. Once you have soaked or dehydrated the hard raisins, you need to use them immediately because they do not store well.

Conclusion

  • If a box of raisins is unopened, stored in the pantry, they can have a shelf life of a year past the expiration date on the package but their quality will have greatly diminished.
  • For the longest shelf life, you should freeze the raisins.
  • If the raisins are dried properly, with little to no moisture, they are shelf-stable already so you just have to store them properly to keep them from going bad.
  • The more condensed the raisins are, the more moisture they will retain so that is why it should be in a tightly closed container. It will keep them from drying out.
  • Always make sure if you store the raisins in your pantry that it is cool and dry, not hot and humid.

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