Raisins are a healthy ingredient that is handy as a snack and great as a baking ingredient. If you decide to stock up and buy a nice big bag, then you may need to ask yourself: do raisins go bad?
Preserved foods like raisins tend to have a long shelf life, but it’s not indefinite. To prevent snacking on something unappetizing, you need to know whether they are still ok to eat.
In this article, we will have a closer look at raisins and help you figure out whether they have gone bad or not. We’ll also give you some tips on how best to store them.
Let’s dive in.
What are Raisins?
Raisins are dried grapes that can be eaten as a snack or used as a baking ingredient.[*]
These sweet little gems have ancient origins, with evidence of them being used in Ancient Persia and Egypt.
Usually, raisins are created by sun-drying grapes, but they can be artificially dehydrated on a large scale.
Raisins are usually black with a slightly red hue. However, there are golden versions that are known as sultanas.
Eating dried fruit like raisins is a great way to consume fruit out of season.
We recommend having raisins on hand to stifle any sweet cravings you might otherwise satisfy with sweets or chocolate.
Classic dishes that include raisins include hot cross buns, oatmeal raisin cookies, and Greek dolmades.
Do Raisins Go Bad?
Raisins will eventually go bad, but they have a pretty long shelf life.
If you store your raisins correctly, you should have a stock of your favorite snack on hand at all times, but this means you need to be able to tell what fresh raisins look like.
Fresh raisins are:
1. Soft and Squishy
While they have slightly wrinkled skin, raisins shouldn’t be hard.
When pressed, they should give way and have a soft and squishy texture that pops in your mouth.
2. Deep, Intense Flavor and Slight Aroma
The flavor of raisins should be deep and rich from the concentration of sugars and fruit flavor.
There will also be a slightly fruity aroma when you open the packaging.
3. No Clumping
When you open the packaging, the raisins should be loose and separate from one another.
How To Tell if Your Raisins Have Gone Bad?
So, if you have had your raisins for a long time, you need to know what do spoiled raisins look like?
On the other hand, bad raisins will be:
1. Moldy and Clumping
This is the first thing you will notice when you open the packaging.
If your raisins are clumping together and haven’t been too tightly packed, then it could be a sign of mold present.
The mold will be grey and cause the raisins to break down and become sticky.
There may also be an unpleasant musty scent present.
2. Small and Hard
The second sign to look out for is the outer texture.
Instead of being big and soft, the raisins will be even more shriveled and hard.
This happens when they have been exposed to air for an extended period of time, which dries out any residual moisture. This makes them very unpleasant to eat.
3. Dry Texture
If you aren’t sure about the outer texture, you can try one to see what it’s like on the inside.
Raisins may be dried fruit, but there is such a thing as too dry.
If you bite into an old raisin, it will be dusty and dry and probably get stuck in your teeth.
4. Less Flavor
When raisins get old, they tend to lose their flavor.
Not only will an old raisin be dry, but it will also be weak in flavor.
How Long Do Raisins Last?
This all depends on how you store them, but if you store your raisins correctly, they will last up to 6 months.
Raisins have a very long shelf-life compared to regular grapes.
This is because the dehydrating process preserves the raisins and removes most of the water content, which starts harmful microbes from being able to grow. [*]
It also concentrates the sugars in the grape, preserving the raisins.
If you store your raisins the way we suggest below, this dried fruit will last you a long time.
What is the Best Way to Store Raisins?
Raisins are best stored at room temperature; however, this can reduce their shelf-life if you have a lot of them.
We recommend freezing raisins if you buy them in bulk. If frozen, raisins will last up to a year[*]
To defrost, we recommend placing them on the countertop to come to room temperature.
However, for everyday use, you can do a few things to keep your raisins fresh.
This is how we recommend storing your raisins:
1. Transfer to an Airtight Container
The number one cause of raisins going bad is exposure to air.
Most raisins come packaged in cardboard boxes or plastic bags that can’t be resealed. This will dramatically affect their shelf life.
This is why we recommend transferring them from the box or bag into an airtight container like a jar or plastic container.
Be sure not to pack them in too tight, which could squash or pop the raisins.
2. Store in a Dark, Cool Space
The next culprit of bad raisins is heat and light exposure.
We suggest storing your raisins in a dark cupboard away from direct sunlight.
This cupboard should also be far from the stove to prevent them from getting overheated.
How long are raisins good for after opening/expiration date?
This is completely dependent on how they have been stored.
If you store your raisins the way we have suggested above, it could extend the shelf life past its expiration date.
We suggest trying a raisin before digging in to check that they are still good.
Do raisins count as eating fruit?
While some of the nutritional value is lost in the drying process, raisins are still very healthy.
So yes, eating raisins counts as fruit, but you need to eat more to get the same nutritional value.
Our rule of thumb is that one handful of raisins counts as one helping of fruit.
Will eating old raisins make you sick?
No, luckily, unless the raisins are moldy, they won’t make you sick.
The expiration date on raisins is an indicator of freshness rather than indicating whether it is safe enough to eat.
What happens if you eat expired raisins? The worst thing that will happen is that the raisins won’t taste very nice and have a terrible mouth feel.
Raisins are a healthy snack that is great to have in your cupboards for when the cravings hit.
- Raisins can last up to 6 months.
- Storing them correctly drastically affects the shelf life.
- Eating old raisins won’t make you sick.
We hope this has taught you a bit more about raisins and motivated you to change up your storage solutions.