Of all the candy packing the shelves of the grocery store come October, an iconic Halloween staple is candy corn. Made of pure sugar, these fun colorful treats are a favorite among many trick or treaters, but what happens when the Halloween festivities are over and months later, you’re left with more candy corn than you actually intended to eat?
Does candy corn expire? While not posing any health hazard if eaten past the suggested date, candy corn can expire and taste a bit stale. Since they are primarily made of honey, sugar, and corn syrup, if they are exposed to moisture or get wet, candy core can become a slimy sticky mess that is not very appealing to consume.
In this article, we’ll address your major concerns about how to tackle those leftover bags of candy corn – or maybe even ones you found floating around in the pantry from last Halloween.
How Long is Candy Corn Expected to Last?
In general, an unopened bag of candy corn will stay fresh for nine months to a year. Just be sure that the bag has remained airtight and especially that no moisture or water has crept in because then you’ll just be stuck with an unpalatable ooze of yellow, white, and orange.
If you have an open bag or loose candy corn in a festive holiday dish, those pieces of candy will stay good for about three to six months before slightly hardening or going a bit stale.
How Should Candy Corn Be Stored?
Candy corn can be stored in a number of ways. After opening a bag, you can place it in a sealed airtight container or bag and store it in the pantry for six to eight months at room temperature. Be aware that if humidity creeps in, you may have moisture issues that can lead to sweaty or moldy candy corn which should be thrown away.
In the event that the pantry is not an option because of hot and humid climates, you can also store candy corn in the refrigerator or freezer. In the fridge, candy corn will also last about six to eight months. In the freezer, candy corn can stay good for up to a year.
Can You Eat Expired Candy Corn?
Expired candy corn poses no health risk and can be consumed after the “Best If Used By” date. The main ingredients of honey and sugar will not go bad, although they may change texture after a while and cause the candy to be a more chewy and taste a little stale.
Overall, candy corn has an incredible edible longevity that might make you wonder if stores simply stash the unsold bags from this year to put on the shelf for next year.
When Should You Not Eat Candy Corn?
Candy corn that has been exposed to high amounts of moisture are not going to be the most consumable candies. Due to the nature of the main ingredients, when candy corn becomes wet or soggy, it can meld into a rather unappealing conglomerate unsuitable for consumption.
Additionally, such moisture can introduce the possibility of mold growth which can make you sick if consumed, so it’s best just to throw away any candy corn that may have been exposed to excess moisture.
As with most other foods, especially highly processed ones, if you open a bag of candy corn and the color looks funky – not quite the bright yellow, white, orange you were expecting – or the heavenly aroma of that honey and sugar concoction seems a little off, it’s probably a good idea to try another bag. Abnormalities in appearance and smell can sometimes indicate the presence of unwanted bacteria.
Why Does Candy Corn Last So Long?
Candy corn is a simple treat made from a combination of sweeteners, oils, and dyes. The two main sweeteners are sugar and honey – both of which have incredibly long shelf lives. Sugar and honey can be used indefinitely as long as they are properly stored. In fact, some archaeologists have found thousands of years old honey perfectly preserved enough to be consumed today!
Candy corn also contains an appropriate amount of salt which acts as a preservative to help keep it tasting fresh for far longer than the Halloween season lasts. You could still be munching on candy corn at Valentine’s Day and it would taste just as fresh as if you had cracked open a bag in October.
Can Candy Corn Sit Out?
Due to the nature of its composition and the waxy shellac of confectioner sugar which coats the outside, candy corn can be stored unsealed and in open air for three to six months.
If you start your Halloween displays as early as the candy corn hits the store shelves in August or September, you can breathe easy knowing that the aesthetically pleasing arrangement of candy corn left out in your favorite Halloween dish is still edible when that spooky holiday rolls around.
Make sure that you keep your candy corn dish well in a fairly cool and dry area because if it’s exposed to too much moisture, you may be left with a giant slimy blob of what used to be an edible holiday treat.
Candy corn is a time honored classic symbol of that spooky time of year when witches and ghosts freely roam the streets in search of delectable sweets and treats. Long after the costumes are hung up and fake cobwebs are taken down, those yummy little orange, white, and yellow triangles might still be kicking around the house.
Rest assured, you can still eat them without any detriment to your health aside from the brutal honesty the bathroom scale numbers might display. Just remember to check that they haven’t been exposed to excessive moisture and don’t appear or smell funny.
And when everyone else has started sucking on candy canes and munching Christmas cookies, you can pull out that unopened bag of candy corn from two months prior and savor those sugary concoctions like it was still October.