The INSIDER Summary:
- Halloween candy does have a shelf life, but it's probably longer than you think.
- The type of candy and how you store it can affect how long it will last.
- Keeping your sweets in cool and dry places is the most efficient way to store it.
- Plain chocolate typically lasts the longest.
Not all Halloween candy is created equal and, because of that, each treat will last different lengths of time. Determining how long you have to eat your favorite candy comes down to what type it is and how you store it – and it's probably longer than you think.
Sometimes this means you can eat your candy past the "sell by" or "best by" date. Besides "use-by," most expiration dates are more like guidelines than hard fast rules, according to Business Insider.
Here are some general "rules" you should follow to keep your Halloween candy edible for as long as possible.
How long your candy will last depends on the ingredients .
"Generally, it is very difficult for candy to spoil, due to its low moisture content, but it depends on the candy," Registered Dietitian Lisa DeFazio told INSIDER.
Fadi Aramouni, professor of food science at Kansas State University, agreed and also told Best Food Facts that the lack of water in the product and the amount of fat can impact how long you have to eat it.
The good news is that plain chocolate bars are one of those long-lasting candies. This is especially true when compared to chocolate bars with other ingredients like nuts, seeds, or peanut butter. The added ingredients go bad before the chocolate itself, thus making the whole bar inedible, Slate reports.
There is a difference between candy that is edible and candy that tastes good.
Aramouni also noted that the quality of the candy is often more important than the expiration date when it comes to the window of time you have to eat it. The better the quality, the longer it will last.
Typically, caramels, candy corn, jelly candies, and gum, can last anywhere from six to nine months, as long as they are still packaged, Woman's Day reports.
The magazine also noted that other candies — chocolate and hard candies like lollipops or butter scotches — can last up to a year. Slate reports, however, that the chocolate can often become too hard to eat and the texture might change over time too. Chocolate old enough to break a tooth might not be pleasant to eat, but it doesn't present any serious health risks.
Sometimes, chocolate will have a white spot or haze due to fat or sugar rising to the surface. Slate reports that this is not mold, and is harmless to your health. Professional chocolatiers call this "blooming." A more telling sign of rotten candy is a grainy texture or mold. It is possible for old candy to carry microbes that Defazio said can make you sick, this is particularly true with chocolate. So be sure to check for the signs of spoiled goods and toss anything that is more than a year old.
It's also worth noting that white chocolate doesn't last as long as it's dark counterparts, and is only good for about eight to 10 months.
Most, if not all candies, need to be kept in their original packaging and stored in a cool, dry place to last as long as possible.
According to DeFazio, keeping your candy away from the light and in a cool, dry place can improve its chances of lasting as long as possible. DeFazio specifically recommended keeping chocolate candy in the freezer because it keeps it fresher longer. And if you haven't tried a frozen chocolate bar, DeFazio said you're missing out.
"I always freeze Hershey bars, you bite into the cold bar, it is crunchy and ice cold in your mouth then slowly melts," she said. "My mom always put chocolate bars in the freezer, not to keep them for a long time but because we loved to eat the chocolate frozen."
There are many myths about sugar, but when it comes to eating old Halloween candy, there are only a few facts you need to know: Keep an eye out for mold and store your candy properly. And remember, although it's possible to eat older candy, eating tons of sugar isn't good for your health — even if it may be good for the soul.
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