How to Store Dates

We use a lot of dates in my house, ever since my husband started making green smoothies every day, and using them to sweeten up his drink.

I’ve also become addicted to power balls, which are made from nuts and dried fruit. They’re so easy to whip up. That being said, we’ve found it’s more economical to buy them in bulk.

How to store dried dates |

Since they’re mostly sugar, they last a very long time. You don’t really have to worry about them going bad, but they may lose their delicious flavor and texture.

There’s a little bit to learn about the proper way of storing them, so I’ll share my knowledge here, along with a brief summary of their culinary uses, and the qualities of different varieties.

Uses and Varieties

If you’re not familiar with this fruit, it’s very popular in the organic and natural food world, and the Middle East. During Ramadan, they’re used to break the fast.

The two most common varieties are the Medjool and the Deglet Noor. Depending on where you live, you might also find other types including Barhi, Honey, Thoory, and Zahidi.

Personally, I favor the Medjool. It’s plumper, super moist, and very sweet. It’s the ultimate way to sweeten a smoothie or dessert recipe.

Deglet, on the other hand, is the opposite: skinnier, drier, and only moderately sweet. These are great for eating on their own, or using in savory dishes.

Though different types offer different qualities of texture and flavor, you can store both types the same way.

Preserve Flavor by Keeping Cold

Like I mentioned above, this is a sweet fruit, and they’re technically already dried – so you don’t have to worry about them going bad.

However, it’s recommended that you store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator if you plan to use them within 30 days.

If you buy a whole heap of them from your grocery’s bulk section, and you don’t see yourself using them up for a few months, it’s best that you place them in the freezer.

Plate of Dates Closeup |

When you plan to use some, simply take a few out the day before. Freezing them will not diminish the flavor or texture, and this is one frozen item that actually thaws rather nicely.

I will say that I’ve kept ours in the pantry for a few weeks, even up to a month, and they’ve been fine.

If you only have a handful, storing them at room temperature is going to be fine. But for long-term storage, the refrigerator or the freezer is definitely the way to go.

Additional Useful Tips

If you happen to keep your dried fruit in the freezer, and then you need them to be super soft for use in a recipe, just soak the fruit in a bowl of super hot water.

You only need to let them soak for a few hours, and you’ll have sticky soft fruit before you know it.

These days, more and more people are cutting sugar out of their diets, or at least being very cautious of it – myself included.

Plate of Dates |

That being said, this fruit is a better alternative than processed sugars as it contains fiber, which makes it possible for the body to absorb those sugars more slowly, preventing the type of sugar spikes that may lead to insulin resistant.

Dates are also usually raw, which means the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are still intact. They make a delicious addition to hot and cold cereal or yogurt, or a tasty snack on their own.

They can also be boiled and turned into a syrup. The resulting product can be used in place of honey and other liquid sweeteners, as well as white or brown sugars. Date syrups have a wonderful caramel flavor that I love adding to cookies.


I really enjoy this fruit, and I hope this will encourage you to start featuring it in your recipes.

If you have questions about this sweet fruit, or tips on how you like to store them, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Photo credits: Shutterstock.

About Sarah Hagstrom

Sarah is a health food advocate and loves to spend her time whipping up something healthy and delicious in the kitchen and then sharing either on Foodal or on her own blog "The Seasonal Diet" ( She lives in Sunny San Diego with her husband, where they enjoy running on the beach and weekend adventures.

19 thoughts on “How to Store Dates”

  1. Quick question, are they pretty affordable? The way you describe them in this article, my mind is turning with several ways to use them. I’ve eaten some before, but that was many moons ago.

    • When it comes to price, it really depends on where you live. I’m in California, and they sell them at my local farmers market so I can stock up on a pound for 6 dollars. Someone mentioned below that you can get them at a good price at ethnic stores, so I would check that out. I hope you give them a try! Come back and let me know what you make.

  2. These are truly the nature’s candy. I love stuffing my face with them. I find that they are quite expensive though, so I don’t buy them that regularly. Especially the big juicy fat ones can be quite pricey. I did discover that at middle eastern/ethnic stores you can buy them cheaper… And sometimes they have sales too. It might be worth considering stocking up and freezing when they are heavily discounted.

  3. Yeah, you don’t want to waste these beauties, especially at the high prices. I never knew that they needed more care than just sealing them up. Good to know.

    It does make sense to keep them cool like other dried stuff. I just never gave it too much thought. Of course, they don’t generally last long enough for me to worry about it.

    Then again, I should trying buying economy size to save some cash. If I do, I’ll know the best storage options now.

  4. I never really liked dates until I worked at a really good bulk food store and I realized how delicious they can be. The medjool variety are my favourite as well, and I think a lot of people feel that way because they sure used to sell out about as fast as they came in! 😛 I did’t realize that you could freeze them, I’m going to do that next time I buy a large amount…last time I think I must have left them in the cupboard for too long because the sugar started to crystallize. It was such a waste!

  5. I had no idea how delicious dates can be until I had to cook an authentic Roman feast for one of my antiquities classes in college (it was a very interesting class!). The honey-covered date turned out to be the easiest thing to bake (all you need are almonds, honey, dates and an oven), and was the most popular dish, too. Ever since then I’ve substituted typical candies and chocolates.

    I have noticed that you have to eat them pretty soon after purchasing them or they tend to acquire a strange flavor. That’s always pretty sad considering how expensive they can be. I’ll have to start freezing them like you suggested to get them to last longer and check the ethnic markets for cheaper prices.

    Great article!

  6. Hi Sarah, this was a great article, really informative.

    You briefly mentioned dried dates – I often find that when I go to supermarkets there are no “fresh” or “raw” ones available, only dried fruit in packaging (I think it has something to do with them being seen as a “seasonal” item in the UK traditionally eaten around Christmas). Does the dried variety still have the same nutritional value? I often hear that dried fruit is more sugary than its raw equivalent, is that true?

  7. Thank you for the great ideas in this post. I think dates are absolutely delicious but I have never known much to do with them beyond eating them as a snack. You’ve definitely given me some ideas for more ways to use them. I had no idea they froze well also, so I look forward to getting a big bag from the natural food store near me soon!

  8. I am a date lover as well. As a child of the 50s and 60s, in smalltown Saskatchewan, Canada, the only dates we ever saw were the blocks of dried dates with pieces of pit tarred in the mass. My grandmothers both made a lovely ‘matrimonial cake’ using these nasty little morsels,the preparation for which was included a period of soaking the dates in hot water. A lot of sugar was also included in the recipe. So, that was my early introduction to this fruit.

    As a young adult I lived in Vancouver and met “real” dates that were as unlike the “blockd” as grapes are unlike raisins. I love the Medjool type — plump and toothsome– but generally buy a plastic box-like a container of Honey dates because they are highly affordable, and delicious too. One of our favourite recipes is a raw “brownie” that can be made in minutes in a food processor by throwing in dates, cocoa, a dash of maple syrup, a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt and a handful of pecans.

    I appreciate your suggestions around storage. My major suggestion is that you brush your teeth well after eating these little yummies because they really are sticky and sweet and apparently the reason that some raw foodists have very bad– or no– teeth!

  9. My favorite appetizer is bacon-wrapped dates. My cousin’s wife is Japanese and they served this at their wedding. The dish is super simple to prepare and works well in any occasion.

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

    Stuff each date with 1 to 2 almonds. Wrap each one with half a piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

    Bake, turning them halfway through so the bacon is evenly cooked, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  10. Your tips on storing dates will really help me out as I hate waste, and occasionally some of my dates have found their way into the compost. We get through a lot of dates in our house. Adding them to porridge oats is the way we eat them most often, and every now and then I make a sticky toffee pudding or cake where the dates are the star of the show. It never crossed my mind to add them to smoothies – sounds like a great twist on some of my favorite combinations! I’ll try that as it will definitely cut down on wastage.

  11. Hi Sarah! I know this is a bit disgusting but recently I saw some articles saying that it’s common to have bugs in dates so I was wondering if that is true and if you know anything about that..! It looks like you’re an expert so I wanted to ask you! Also, can I just store them at room temperature?

    • Thanks for your question Ashley! I’ve been buying dates from a variety of vendors for decades, both in the US and overseas, from grocery stores as well as farmers markets, and I’ve never had a problem. But the truth is, finding an insect here or there isn’t unusual whenever you’re dealing with a natural product.

      Room temperature storage largely depends on the variety- something like the medjool has a much firmer texture and longer shelf life, and its thicker skin and flesh allows it to withstand temperature fluctuations and long-term storage at room temp longer than other varieties like honey and barhi dates. This also depends, of course, on the actual temperature of your room! Overall, storage without refrigeration for longer than about 5 days after purchase is not recommended. If you notice the fruit softening, it should definitely be refrigerated. Hope this helps!

    • Yum! Refrigerator or freezer storage is recommended, since fresh dates don’t have a very long shelf life compared to dried, but they may also be stored on the counter in an airtight container at room temperature for a few weeks. Washing and pitting prior to storage might be more convenient if you plan to freeze them, and storing in an airtight bag is a good idea. For those stored in the refrigerator or on the counter, wait to wash them until just before you plan to eat them.

    • Vacuum sealing is a great way to prolong the shelf life of dried fruits, though bags may be a better option than jars. Store in a cool, dry place, or in the refrigerator or freezer.


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