A popular snack and fruit that goes back hundreds of years to the ‘Cradle of Civilization’ in Iraq, Dates have been a delicious and healthy mainstay to people from all walks of life. Dates are a dried fruit with an appearance of being glossy and wrinkled at the same time. The question remains: What if you want to buy a bulk amount of dates to keep for a longer period of time? Can you freeze dates to preserve them?
Can You Freeze Dates?
Yes, it is possible. Dates can maintain their freshness without being frozen. However, if you’re planning to use dates six months or even a year into the future, it may be best to freeze the dates then.
Without freezing, the dates can become so dry over time that they may be unpleasant to eat. Dates can last a while without freezing, but with freezing, you can extend their lifetime from six months to a year. If you have a holiday party or a social gathering, preserving the dates by freezing them may be your best option. If you do not want to eat all of your dates within a year, you can rest assured that they won’t go bad if you decide to freeze them.
The Freezing Process
For the freezing process for dates, remember to adhere to the following steps for the best results:
- Place up to ten to fifteen dates in a small container or freezer bag.
- Make sure that you tightly seal the freezer bag or small container and let out all of the excess air. If you do so, you’ll be able to avoid freezer burn for your dates.
- Putting separate amounts of dates in the bags and containers while freezing them at different times and days will allow you to have a handful of dates available for consumption at any time.
- Make sure to mark and label with a black, permanent marker the date and time for which the individual bag or container of dates was first frozen.
- By having different bags of dates frozen at different times, you won’t have to worry about taking one bag out at a time when the freezing process has been completed.
- Remember, dates should not be frozen for more than a year or they will start to become dry and have an uneven, rough texture.
The Thawing Process
For a slow yet measured thawing, place the small container or individual freezer bag of dates in the refrigerator directly after they were in the freezer. You may leave them in the refrigerator to cool off for up to a day and then you may place the dates on the kitchen counter to thaw out even more for another day at room temperature. The thawing out process in total should take two days or 48 hours. Do not place them in the microwave to heat up or thaw out after the freezer. This is because they will become dried out and hard if not defrosted in the correct manner. It’s also important to remember that dates should not be placed at room temperature right after the end of the freezing process. Placing the bags or containers of dates on the kitchen counter after the freezer is not a good move and will cause the dates to defrost poorly.
If you are in a rush and need to defrost your dates quickly, there is another option for more rapid thawing. The dates may not taste the best or you will not achieve great results by doing this but it can be done. Immediately after removing the dates from the freezer, place the freezer bag or container directly under warm running water in the kitchen sink. Do this step until the container or bag is not frozen anymore with its texture changing to be more pliable. Then, you will want to put the unfrozen bag or container in the microwave at a very mid and consistent temperature for about an hour. After taking the bag or container out of the microwave, you can leave the dates out on the kitchen counter at room temperature until you need to use or eat them. Please check to see if the texture is not hard or rough before you consume the dates. If they are hard, rough or have a foul taste, throw them out because the dates are inedible. Check to see if your dates have a soft texture or a shiny look before eating or using them.
Dates are the ripest for eating when they have a soft texture and have a sturdy, brown color. If you plan to eat your dates immediately, you don’t need to freeze them to enjoy the snack. However, if you plan on storing them for a long period of time, you can rest easy knowing that if you follow these steps for freezing and thawing, your dates will be good to eat and use for up to an entire year.