Storing Dried Fruit (Ultimate Guide)
Whether you’ve bought a bag of dry fruit or have tried dehydrating it at home, you’ll want to store it in the best possible way to keep it in peak condition.
The idea behind drying fruit is to preserve it for longer, but if stored incorrectly, it can soon deteriorate.
How do you store dried fruit the right way? When storing dried or dehydrated fruit, the aim is to protect it from air moisture, light, and heat. Both dehydrated and store-bought dried fruit should be stored inside an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Mason jars, plastic storage containers, and resealable vacuum packs are all great ways to store dried fruit for long periods of time.
Here is our ultimate guide to storing dried and dehydrated fruit, including a range of solutions to suit every situation.
Follow our top tips and your pantry shelves will be lined with delicious jars of dried fruit for many months or years to come!
How Should Dried Fruit Be Stored?
Drying fruit is an old method of preserving fresh fruit for longer, and this technique has truly stood the test of time.
Whether you are buying dried fruit in bulk from the store or trying your hand at dehydrating fruit at home, you’ll want to make sure it is stored correctly to preserve it for the longest possible time.
When preserved correctly, dried fruit will last for months or even years. It is easy and convenient to store and transport and makes a great snack or ingredient for cakes and other recipes.
The technique you used to store dried fruit will depend on whether it is store-bought or fruit you have dried at home. For store-bought fruit, the method will also vary depending on whether the bag is sealed or has been opened.
The reason that dried fruit lasts for so long is that the majority of the moisture has been expelled from the fruit. Without moisture and air, the normal processes that cause fruit to decompose cannot occur.
Today, we’re going to take an in-depth look at all the best ways to store dried fruit, whether you have bought it from the store or dehydrated it at home.
How To Store Dried Fruit From The Store
Dried fruit can be bought in bulk, either online or from grocery stores. Many different types of fruit can be dried, and you can either buy them in individual bags or as a mixed fruit selection.
When purchasing commercially produced dried fruits, you can rest assured that they have been processed to ensure that they last for the maximum amount of time without compromising on taste and quality.
These fruits are then packed in a bag or container that enables as much air as possible to be expelled. An unopened bag of dried fruits is considered to be a shelf-stable product.
This means an unopened container can be stored as is with minimal risk of it deteriorating.
Precautions When Storing Store-Bought Dried Fruit
But there are some precautions you can take to keep an unopened bag of dried fruit in the best possible condition.
Firstly, you should always keep it in a cool dark place, such as a cupboard or pantry shelf. Light and heat will cause the contents to deteriorate and potentially become rancid.
Because the bags used to pack dried fruits are often relatively fragile, it is a good idea to place this bag inside a secondary container. This will help protect your fruit in case the bag is accidentally damaged.
Stored in this way, dried fruit will be kept in peak condition for many months or even years. You will notice that dried fruit has a very long shelf life, and the best before date often extends for a long period after you’ve purchased it.
Storing Opened, Store-Bought Dried Fruit
As soon as you open a bag of dried fruit it can start to deteriorate. This is because the fruit is now exposed to both moisture and air, both of which will speed up the rate at which the fruit deteriorates.
This is the case even with those snazzy resealable pouches which are now available. These are fine for fruit that will be eaten within a week or two, but any longer than that, and the contents will start to turn rancid and unappetizing.
For this reason, once you open a bag of dried fruit you will need to find an alternative way to store it to keep it in the best possible condition.
A quick fix is to try and reseal the bag to prevent air from entering it. Some bags come with a resealable tag, whilst with others, you may be able to fold the top over and use a bag clip or tape.
Again, this is not a great long-term solution and it may be better to transfer the contents of the bag to another storage container altogether.
To do this, you can either place the dried fruit still in its original bag inside another container or decant the contents entirely. Later, we are going to take a look at the very best containers for storing dried fruit, but the aim is to use one that is airtight.
So this could be a purpose-made storage container or you could upcycle by reusing an old food jar.
Just remember that however you choose to store your opened bags of dried fruit, they should always be kept in a cool, dark place away from heat and direct sunlight.
How Long Can Store-Bought Dried Fruit Be Stored?
One thing we can go all agree on is that drying fruit is the best way to prolong its useful life.
Store-bought dried fruit normally has a shelf-life of at least one year before opening. However, this is only guaranteed when the fruit is kept in a cool, dark place, normally at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
When the ambient temperature of the storage area is increased to around 80°F, this time is reduced to just six months.
Other things that reduce the storage time of dried fruit are light and exposure to air.
The great thing about dried fruit is that the best before date is an advisory notice and does not necessarily have to be adhered to.
This is the date that the manufacturers consider your fruit should have been consumed by in order to enjoy it in its best possible condition.However, when dried fruit is stored correctly, you may well be able to eat it long after this date.
It may lose some of its flavors over time, but it will still be edible and even enjoyable to eat.
If you’ve got a bag of store-bought dried fruit that’s been sitting on the pantry shelf for longer than intended, it is important to check it carefully to make sure it is still safe to eat.
Signs Dried Fruit Is Going Bad
Signs that dried fruit is past its best include moisture or condensation inside the bag. The fruit may have faded in color or changed color altogether, or you may notice mold around the fruit.
Dried fruit that is not fit for consumption will also have a slightly ‘off’, or even moldy smell. You may not notice any changes in appearance or smell, but the taste can become slightly rancid.
If you are in any doubt that your dried fruit is fit for human consumption, don’t try it! The best option is to discard it. Try to remember to consume your dried fruit more quickly in the future.
How To Store Dehydrated Fruit (Homemade)
Dehydrating, or drying, your own fruit is a great way to make use of an abundant crop.
Why Do It
Whether you’ve been given a glut of fruit robbed by a friend or neighbor, or are lucky enough to have your own orchard or fruit garden, time spent drying fruit will reward you with tasty snacks throughout the year.
There are many ways to store an excess of fruit, such as freezing them or making jams and preserves. However, dehydrating knocks all of these methods out of the park when it comes to convenience and longevity of storage.
Once your fruit has been dried, it will be easy to store without the use of precious freezer space. It will provide you and your family with healthy and nutritious snacks whenever you want them.
Dried fruit is versatile to use, and can be incorporated into many different recipes.
We’re not going to go too in-depth about the methods of drying fruit here, as that’s a matter for another day.
But whether you use a countertop dehydrator or live in a climate where sun drying is possible, you’ll want to make sure the (dried!) fruits of your labor are stored correctly to preserve them for as long as possible.
Storing Fruit That’s Freshly Dehydrated
Once your fruit has been dried or dehydrated, it is important to finish the process with a period of conditioning.
Home-dried fruit should have a moisture content of around 20%. However, because not all pieces of fruit are of equal thickness, some parts will be drier while others will retain higher amounts of moisture.
The conditioning process allows these moisture levels to equalize throughout the fruits, reducing the risk of mold growth.
To condition dehydrated fruit, allow the fruit to call and pack it loosely in plastic or glass jars. Seal these containers and let them stand for around 10 days. Give each jar a shake daily to redistribute the fruit.
Every day, have a quick peek inside each jar to check for moisture condensation. If you see condensation developing on the inside of the jar, the fruit still contains too much moisture.
Return the fruits to the dehydrator for more drying and then start the conditioning process again.
As with store-bought dried fruit, the ideal containers for storing home dehydrated fruit should be airtight. The fruit should be packed snugly inside the containers without breaking it up.
Make sure that each container is labeled clearly with the contents and the date that it was dehydrated.
Best Storage Conditions For Homemade Dried Fruit
The ideal storage conditions for your containers of dehydrated fruit are in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight.
For many people, a home kitchen is too warm to store dehydrated fruits for long periods. This is why in years gone by many houses were built with an underground cellar, to provide a cool storage place for preserved foods!
If the ambient temperature in your kitchen tends to be above 60°F, look for a cooler place in the house to store your dried and dehydrated fruits.
As many houses these days tend to be climate controlled and warm throughout, it may be necessary to move your dehydrated fruits to a cooler outdoor shed or garage.
Just don’t forget about them during the summer months, as your outdoor storage could soon become warmer than your house!
How Long Does Dehydrated Fruit Last?
If you are dehydrating fruit at home, you won’t have the manufacturer’s guidelines to help you decide how long it can be stored.
This means you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to adhering to the best possible storage practices. It is also important to manage the rotation of the contents of your pantry, so the oldest fruits are consumed first.
Food safety authorities recommend that dried fruits can be safely stored from 4 months up to 1 year.
This length of time is directly affected by the temperature at which it is stored. At 60°F, dried fruits can be stored for up to one year. Increase this temperature to 80°F and your dried fruit can only be stored for 6 months or so.
The other main factor which affects how long dehydrated fruit can be stored is the residual moisture content. When dehydrating fruit, aim for a moisture content of around 20%, which is evenly distributed throughout the fruit.
Moisture content lower than this will result in fruit that is too dry, chewy, and hard to eat.
If your moisture content is higher than 20%, you risk condensation inside the storage jars. This will provide the perfect environmental conditions for mold to grow and develop.
Which Containers Work Best For Storing Dried Food?
When storing dried fruit, selecting the correct type of container is vital. There is one key quality that matters above all others: the container should be airtight.
What’s the aim of an airtight container is to prevent air from circulating freely around the fruit, these containers also have another big advantage: Moisture is neither able to enter nor leave the container.
This enables you to create the perfect climatic conditions to keep your dehydrated fruit in the best possible condition.
However, as with many things in life, some air types of airtight containers are far superior to others. When it comes to selecting the right airtight container for dehydrated fruit, there are some things you should take into consideration:
Size Of Container
It is important to consider the size of the container carefully when storing your dehydrated fruits. The aim is to have as little air as possible inside the container. So you should pick one that the contents fill snugly.
If you’ve got a large batch of dehydrated fruits, it may be preferable to split these into several smaller containers.
This gives you the advantage that you will only need to open one batch at a time, while the rest remain safe and snug in their sealed jars. It also means that if one container goes bad, you do not lose the whole lot, just one jar.
When dehydrating fruits we need to be able to check the contents of the jars regularly. This enables you to take prompt action if you suspect that your dried fruits are becoming past their best.
However, you don’t want to have to open a jar every time you want to take a peek at it. Using containers made of a clear material, such as glass or plastic, means you can easily see the contents without opening the jar.
A good quality air-tight seal is essential to prevent air and moisture from spoiling your dehydrated fruit. Look for containers that have a tight seal around the lid. Or if you are using bags, make sure these have an airtight closure system.
Although we all like to reuse jars and containers as much as possible, these airtight seals can become less efficient over time. Use only the best quality ones for storing your precious dehydrated fruits.
Best Dried Fruit Storage Containers
If you come to the trouble of drying or dehydrating fruit at home for your family, you want to make sure you pick the right container to keep in peak condition for as long as possible.
Here are our top picks for the best dried fruit storage containers:
There are many options when it comes to choosing glass jars to store your dehydrated fruit. They come in a range of different sizes and give you the advantage of being able to visualize your fruit easily.
Recommended: YINGERHUAN Glass Jar Canning Set
For most people, the top pick is a glass canning jar. This is the ultimate design when it comes to long-term food storage. It will keep your dehydrated fruit tightly sealed against air and moisture.
Alternatively, you may be able to reuse commercial glass jars to store your dehydrated fruit. It’s a good idea to check the lids of these carefully to make sure they have an airtight seal.
Food Storage Bags
When it comes to food storage bags, some are far superior to others for storing dried fruit. We would advise you avoid storing dried fruit in plastic sandwich bags. The seal on these is not always truly airtight.
Recommended: Mylar Bags
A good option when it comes to food storage bags is one designed for long-term storage such as Mylar bags.
These do require some extra equipment to create the airtight seal. But once your food is stored inside them, it will be kept in peak condition for the maximum possible time.
Alternatively, you could try using a vacuum storage bag, which removes as much air as possible from inside the bag.
Rigid Storage Containers
Rigid storage containers, such as Tupperware, are convenient for stacking on your pantry shelves.
Recommended: Rubbermaid 1/2 cup Storage Containers
The best options have a good quality airtight seal, preferably with a lid that clips in place securely.
The main downside to these is that you cannot always visualize the contents easily.
Now we’ve got your dried fruit questions sorted, here are the answers to some other commonly asked queries relating to storing dried fruit!
Do You Need To Refrigerate Dried Fruit?
Dried fruit does not necessarily need to be refrigerated, but in some circumstances, it may be preferable to do so.
Traditionally, fruits were dried to provide a way of preserving them for longer without the need for a refrigerator. Dried fruit contains less moisture than fresh fruit so should not spoil it as quickly.
However, for certain types of dried fruit, keeping them in the refrigerator can help them maintain their freshness for longer. This particularly applies to fruit that had a high moisture content when fresh.
When storing dried fruit in the refrigerator, it should be placed in an airtight container on a shelf in the main compartment. Stored in this way, dried fruit can be kept for up to six months.
Can Dried Fruit Be Frozen?
It would never occur to many people to keep dried fruit in the freezer, but this is actually a really effective way to store dried fruit for longer.
If you’re not 100% confident in your home dehydration technique or have opened a bag of dried fruit that is not going to store well in the pantry, then the freezer is a good choice.
Lay your dried fruit on a silicone baking sheet or a paper-lined baking tray and place it in the freezer for around an hour.
When the fruit is frozen, place it into an airtight container and label the contents. This can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months.
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