Do Tootsie Rolls Expire or Go Bad?

by Charlie
Tootsie roll chocolate

If you have come across some old candy in your home, you might be tempted to nibble it, but you’ll probably hesitate a bit. We all know that food that has been left lying around goes off and can be dangerous, so is it safe to eat this sort of thing?

That could lead you to the question: Do these hard little candies have a set shelf life, or can you just eat them when you find them, regardless of how old they are?

Do Tootsie Rolls expire? Yes, Tootsie Rolls do expire. Tootsie Rolls are thought to have a shelf life of two years from the date of production. In some circumstances, you may be able to eat Tootsie Rolls that have expired, especially if they have been kept in stable conditions. However, be careful if there is any sign that the candy has lost its texture or taste!

Do Tootsie Rolls Expire?

Usually, candy will be printed with an expiry date, and you probably already know that the expiry date does not necessarily mean anything very significant. Food can have an expiry date and still be perfectly edible long beyond that date – foods like salt and honey, in theory, never go off.

So, does the same apply to Tootsie Rolls? No, it doesn’t. Although Tootsie Rolls last a long time, they do expire. They have high amounts of sugar in them, so they won’t go off quickly like some foods will, but that doesn’t mean they will last indefinitely.

The softer the candy is, the more quickly it will go off. In general, hard candies last better than soft ones, because they are less susceptible to moisture and less porous. This makes it more difficult for bacteria to invade, compromising the structure of the food.

Tootsie Rolls are somewhat soft and chewy, so while they aren’t going to go off really fast (because they have so much sugar in them, and this acts as a preservative), they will eventually start to degrade.

How to Tell If Tootsie Rolls Have Expired?

There are several factors to look at, including the taste, smell, texture, and look of the Tootsie Rolls. If any of these has started to alter, it is not a good idea to eat the candy, because something has affected its normal conditions, and this could mean that it is starting to turn bad.

Old Tootsie Rolls often show their age by turning hard. They may also lose their texture, making them unappealing to eat. If you bite into one and it is very hard or unusually chewy, you should throw it away and spit the part you have bitten out; it is no longer good to eat and is best discarded.

Equally, a grainy texture or extreme stickiness are signs that the candy has gone off. The sugars may have crystallized in it, and this usually shows that it is no longer stable or free from bacteria.

The same goes for Tootsie Rolls that have lost their flavor or taste funny. They may have got hot or damp, and they should be thrown away as well, because they could be harboring mold that you can’t see.

If the outside of the Tootsie Roll has discolored in places, this is also a good sign that the candy has expired. Pale spots or dark areas are both indications that it’s not good to eat anymore.

If the Tootsie Roll smells funny when you unwrap it, you should discard it as well. On the whole, smell is not a good way to tell if hard candy has gone off, because it doesn’t produce very much scent, but it’s still worth checking if it smells okay to you, especially if you have a keen sense of smell.

How Long Should Tootsie Rolls Last?

The manufacturers of Tootsie Rolls do not usually put an expiry date on their product, which is a good indication that the candy should last very well. Instead, they print a “made” date on the packaging, which lets you know when the product was created. Usually, Tootsie Rolls have a two year shelf life following this date.

If you look at the packaging of the Tootsie Rolls, you should be able to find a product code that will show when the candy was made. This will usually have a letter that corresponds to the month (for example, L might be December). Next, there is a two digit number to denote the date, and a single digit number to show the year.

For example, the date might be 02 (the second day) and the year might be 9, which would be 2019.

Using this code, you can work out when the Tootsie Rolls were produced and whether they are within their two year shelf life. However, bear in mind that they may last for longer than this if they are stored correctly, or less time if they have not been stored well.

How Should You Store Tootsie Rolls?

It’s a good idea to minimize the airflow for this kind of candy. Wrap them in an airtight bag and put them in a sealed container. This will stop them from getting damp and reduce the bacterial risk. You should also keep them at a stable, reasonably cool temperature.

When you open a packet of Tootsie Rolls, it’s a good idea to decant them into another bag or roll and seal their original packaging. You can put the packet in a secondary container for extra security if you like.

Next, put them in a cool, dry place, with no direct sunlight. This should stop major temperature fluctuations and prevent the sugars from being heated and then crystallizing, which will prolong the life of the candy.

Final Thoughts

Tootsie Rolls may go bad if they get damp or hot, or if they are kept for significantly longer than their recommended two-year shelf life. However, if you store them correctly, you may find that they are fine to eat even when they have expired.

Don’t eat Tootsie Rolls that taste, feel, or smell funny; they should be discarded to avoid the chance of consuming food-borne bacteria.

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