Freezing is a great way to extend the shelf life of perishable food like fruits that would otherwise go bad within a few days if kept at room temperature.
But even freezing doesn’t guarantee that the fruit will be safe from rot! While freezing does tend to increase the life of fruit by several months, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind before consuming them.
Does frozen fruit go bad? Yes, improperly stored frozen fruit can just as easily go bad. It is important to check for signs of rot and spoilage before thawing and consuming compromised frozen fruit. However, properly stored frozen fruit may be safe to eat for up to 12 months at optimal conditions.
Read below to learn more about frozen fruit, how to store them, and how to make sure that they are completely safe to eat!
Why Frozen Fruit?
The debate of fresh vs. frozen fruit is a relatively new one that has divided people between choosing either one or the other.
Fortunately, freezing fruit is completely safe and is a great way to not only extend the shelf-life of food but also preserve its nutrition for the entire duration.
The frozen food market is huge and is saturated with multiple options.
Manufacturers try to compete on the quality of fruit and the superiority of their freezing process but at its core, every company uses more or less the same technique to flash-freeze fruit to prolong their life.
So, the factor of spoilage mostly comes down to how customers store the fruit when they bring it back home from the supermarket.
Frozen fruits are extremely convenient as they are pre-cut so you just have to thaw them and eat them without going through the trouble of sourcing them in specific seasons or manually processing them at home.
Just open a pack, take out a serving and store the rest in the freezer!
But how safe are these fruit long-term? Can they go bad?
The short answer is: yes, every food item is bound to go bad. Even if it doesn’t go bad in the traditional sense where it gathers mold, it may still become less flavorful due to oxidation.
But there are ways that you can prolong both the shelf-life and quality of frozen fruit so that it stays fresh and plump whenever you use it.
Storing Frozen Fruit
The problem with frozen fruit going bad has to do with two things: storage conditions and the type of fruit.
In most cases, every type of fruit can be frozen and stored the same way. Meaning that each fruit will have more or less the same shelf-life.
However, storage life also depends on how you store the fruit!
For example, unopened packs that are left untouched and kept under the right conditions can easily be stored for up to 12 months and still taste the same. But in the case of opened packs, you may need to be a bit more cognizant.
Once the pack is open and the fruit is exposed to air, they will start to oxidize—or in other words, they will start to go bad! Of course, you won’t notice this immediately but given time, the fruits will start to show signs of spoilage.
This depends on the following factors:
- Opened packs are subject to temperature changes. Opening and closing the freezer door, power outages, or malfunctions will spoil the fruit faster than the ones that are constantly frozen.
- Thawed and refrozen fruit are more likely to go bad than consistently frozen fruit.
- Improper storage temperature or anything above 0°F can affect the quality of fruit over time.
So, to extend the shelf life of frozen fruit you must first make sure that they are kept frozen under the right conditions.
In most cases, the “right conditions” are printed on the back of every pack and you can follow these instructions to get the most out of the flavor of the fruit.
But in general, you should keep the fruit frozen without letting them thaw for the entire storage duration. This will extend the life of the fruit by up to 12 months!
But there are a few other things that you should keep in mind too.
As mentioned above, frozen fruit can go bad in different ways. One of these ways is when the fruit gets freezer burn.
Freezer burn does not affect the safety of the food, but rather, it lessens its flavor and damages texture. This happens when air reaches the fruit and it starts to oxidize while simultaneously being frozen.
Freezer burn results in patchy ice accumulating around the affected area. Again, this does not mean that the fruit has gone bad, but since it won’t taste as good, it is better to just discard overly affected fruit than salvage them.
How To Prevent Freezer Burn
Freezer burn can be prevented by properly wrapping or closing the pack or moving the frozen fruit into an airtight container.
It is important to note that freezer burn only affects fruit that are exposed to air so if you buy a pack of frozen fruit from the market and store them right away in the freezer, the fruit will not get any freezer burn.
However, if you allow them to thaw, then they just might get affected due to the added moisture.
Remember, freezer burn draws out moisture from the food so the best way to prevent it would be to keep the fruit frozen and wrapped. This is especially important for opened packets of frozen fruit.
Just move them to an air-tight container and store them at the back of the freezer and away from the door. Keep a close eye on the expiry as well!
Frozen fruit can survive past their expiry, provided that they are stored properly, but the longer they remain frozen, the more likely they are to lose flavor and texture.
Checking For Rot On Frozen Fruit
When frozen fruit is not kept as indicated, it might start to go bad just like any other fruit.
Apart from freezer burn, they will also show signs of spoilage, such as:
Improperly frozen fruit or fruit that has been thawed and refrozen multiple times can slowly grow mold.
Remember, freezing temperatures don’t kill the spores or the mold, it just halts its growth. The mold remains in an inactive state and starts to grow as usual once the fruit thaws!
A telltale sign of spoilage is when the fruit starts to smell as they thaw. This is a clear indication of spoilage and you may be able to detect a whiff from the fruit even when they are frozen.
Keep in mind, frozen fruit may not have that strong a smell but once they thaw, you will know for sure whether they are edible or rotten!
Slime Or Textural/Color Changes
A slimy film is another clear indication of rot. If the fruit has a visible layer of slime, has gotten overly soft, and has browned or darkened, then it may be time to discard it completely!
Frozen fruit is generally plump and doesn’t undergo major textural or color changes unless they start to go bad.
Storage Durations For Common Frozen Fruits
Here is a table showing the storage duration for some common frozen fruit:
|Frozen Fruit||Unopened Pack||Opened Pack|
|Strawberries||8-12 Months||3 Months|
|Mangoes||12 Months||2-3 Months|
|Mixed Fruit||12 Months||3 Months|
|Bananas||6 Months||2-3 Months|
|Apples||6 Months||2-3 Months|
Please note that the above durations are based on an average. Every manufacturer has slightly different storage indications which can greatly affect the quality of the frozen fruit.
We strongly advise that you follow the instructions as listed on the back of the packaging to get the most out of the fruit.
Frozen fruit is extremely convenient and can be an excellent way to enjoy different types of fruit in any season throughout the year!
Now that you know how to properly store frozen fruit and how to check for signs of spoilage, here are a few related questions!
Can you eat frozen fruit past its expiration date?
Frozen fruit can survive past their expiry date if they are properly stored throughout their storage duration.
But you should still be wary of signs of spoilage before consuming them. Always thaw and then inspect the fruit before you add them to any dish or eat them as it is.
Can freezer burn be washed away?
The excess accumulated ice can be washed away by running clean water over the fruit but even then, you can’t save the food from textural or flavor changes.
Once the food has sufficient freezer burn, it will be irreversibly damaged.
The washing method is also great in differentiating freezer burn from white mold which may look similar.
Remember, freezer burn washes off easily with water while mold may stay on the food even after it is adequately washed.
If you’re interested in learning more about the nutritional comparisons between fresh and frozen fruit, here’s a great video on the subject!
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