Do Dates Go Bad? Here’s What You Didn’t Know About Their Shelf Life

Of the many sweet fruits, dates are one of those fruits that have a long shelf life. This is why you also love to stock up on them, right?

Nonetheless, dates will go bad someday. Yes, even though they can be dried and remain usable.

With this established, I believe you are curious to know how long date fruits can last before it goes bad. Also, knowing how to store them properly will help you make good use of their long shelf life.

What are date fruits?

Dates are the fruits of the tropical date palm tree. These trees are native to many regions of the world.

The date fruits form large clusters that hang from the palm tree. Ripe date fruits are identified by their brown, wrinkled backs.

These fruits are known for their sweet, sticky taste and nutty flavor. The nutty flavor is more prominent when date fruits are added to baked goods, salads, smoothies, and tarts.

You can purchase these sweet fruits fresh (very soft), semi-dry, or dry date fruits.

Furthermore, these fruits can help lower cholesterol levels and control weight gain. Date fruits are also rich in antioxidants that defend the body against diseases.

Additionally, date fruits improve digestion and heart health, may help control diabetes, aid detoxification, and help with insomnia.

Do dates go bad?

Yes, dates go bad.

Although they have a long shelf life, date fruits can still go bad. How long they last depend on how properly you store them and how quickly you consume them.

Do unopened dates go bad?

Unopened packs of date fruits will not go bad, at least not as quickly as open packs of date fruits.

Date fruits are best stored in airtight containers, away from heat and sunlight that can remove their natural moisture. At room temperature, unopened date fruits can last up to three months.

Nonetheless, they will last longer if you keep them in a refrigerator. Moreover, how long they last (opened or unopened) depends on the form they are in. For instance, very soft date fruits will not last as long as dry date fruits.

Do dates go bad in the refrigerator?

Yes, but if you put them in a freezer bag or airtight container, they will not go bad in the refrigerator.

Besides, a refrigerator can help you preserve your date fruits for twice as long as they would last at room temperature.

Refrigerating date fruits will keep them fresh for six to twelve months.

How long do dates last outside the refrigerator?

Dates last longer when you store them properly in the pantry or kitchen cabinet.

But when you store the fruits outside the refrigerator, keep them away from sunlight, and moisture and out of the reach of insects.

Do dried dates go bad?

Yes, they do.

Dried date fruits have lost their moisture. And this makes them last longer than fresh date fruits. However, they may go bad. When dried dates have gone bad, they begin to smell like rot and develop mold.

Additionally, there is something extra worth noting. A white speck on dry date fruits is not mold.

This white speck is a sign of the high sugar content in the fruits. It is not a cause for alarm. A little exposure to sunlight will remove the specks, and you can eat them.

What is the shelf life of dates?

The shelf life of date fruits varies with how you store them and how fresh or dry they were when you bought them.

For instance, dry date fruits will last longer than semi-dry and soft date fruits. At room temperature, dates will last between weeks to three months.

Also, freezing dates can preserve them for up to five years. Therefore, store your date fruits properly to extend their shelf life.

Can you eat bad dates?

Eating bad date fruits may not show long-term or lethal side effects, but it is not advisable.

When you notice mold growth or other signs of spoilage, throw them away. Consuming bad date fruits puts you at risk of food poisoning and other allergies that come with old date fruits.

How to tell if dates are bad

Feel the texture

Good date fruits should feel sturdy and smooth. The shells of good date fruits should feel dry and smooth.

Any deviation from this such as a slimy, sticky feel is a sign that the fruits have gone bad. Discard them.

Check for mold

Mold growth is different from the white specks that appear as a sign of high sugar content.

Break the dates open if you are unsure about what you see on them. A black, powdery growth is a sign of rot and you should discard the date fruits.

Smell the fruit

Fresh date fruits have an earthy, nutty smell. When they go bad, they smell rancid, alcoholic, or rotten. If you notice this smell, it is time to throw them away.

The presence of insects

When date fruits are going bad or have gone bad, you may find bugs and worms inside them. This is why you should break open old dates before you throw them into your mouth or blender.

However, if you are using this as a sign to determine bad date fruits, do not be quick to conclude over a bowl or bag of dates.

Open a few more and examine them before you throw them away. Also, check the best-by date before you conclude.

Taste the dates

The sugary taste of date fruits may not help you determine bad dates. This is because sometimes older dates have higher sugar content.

When your date fruits taste acidic and/or bitter amid the sweetness, it is time to do away with them.

Additionally, if the fruits do not taste bitter, check for an off taste from what they naturally taste like.

How to preserve dates

  • Keep date fruits away from sunlight, air, and moisture
  • Wrap opened date fruits with aluminum foil and keep them in cold areas of the house
  • You can also preserve date fruits for longer by refrigerating them
  • Additionally, freeze your date fruits if you want to store them long-term
  • Most importantly, always check the dates wherever you stored them. Check for bad dates among the batch and reseal the bag if necessary


Can you freeze date fruits?

Yes, keeping dates in a freezer will help retain their quality for up to five years.

But before you freeze date fruits, make sure you package them in a freezer bag or an airtight container and keep them at the back of the freezer.

What does mold look like on dates?

Mold growth on date fruits is seen inside after you have broken open the shell.

The mold is a speck of powdery black dust and a sign that you should throw them away.

Can you use old dates again?

Old, dried date fruits are still good for food.

If they are too hard to break or blend, you can soak them in water to soften the flesh and return lost moisture.

Do date fruits get worms when they go bad?

Yes, sometimes bad dates have maggots.

This is why it is advised that you open dates before you eat them.

Do dates give you diarrhea?

Yes, eating too many dates can give you diarrhea.

Dates are very sugary, so you should eat only a little at a time.


It is easy to fall for the sturdy backs of dates and think they’ll never go bad. Dates will go bad after a while and under improper storage conditions.

You should know how to identify signs that tell you your dates have gone bad. Most importantly, store them properly to get the best of their long shelf life.

Also, quickly separate bad dates from the rest before the rot spreads.

Love pistachio nuts too? Find out how long you can store them.

Thanks for reading.