How To Keep Dates Fresh

Small, sweet, and delightfully chewy, dates are a tasty treat whether eaten on their own as a snack, or as part of an appetizer, entrée, or dessert dish. The fruit of the date palm tree, and native to the Middle East and North Africa, though grown elsewhere as well, dates are an ancient fruit that has been cultivated for thousands of years, according to Delighted Cooking. Although there are hundreds of varieties of dates, the two most common varieties include Medjool and Deglet Noor (via Real Simple). Dates can be fresh or dried, and there are three different categories of fresh dates: soft, semi-dry, or dry (via Leafy Place).

Dates are also full of nutritional benefits. Not only are they high in dietary fiber and antioxidants, but dates are also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, and vitamin B6, according to Healthline. Given how delicious and beneficial dates are, and their many uses in both sweet and savory dishes (via Epicurious), you'll want to keep a bunch on hand. Read on for the best ways to keep your dates fresh and at their best.

Choosing dates

One way to keep your dates fresh for longer is to choose the freshest dates you possibly can to begin with. When you are selecting fresh dates, either from a farmer directly or from your neighborhood market, look for plump fresh dates with a skin that is slightly glossy, recommends The Spruce Eats. Pick dates that are intact and moist and avoid ones that are broken and dry, advises the Produce for Better Health Foundation, which also notes that there also shouldn't be any mold, black mildew spots, or any other blemishes on the dates that you select.

Basket Bulk also recommends smelling the dates first, and to avoid buying ones that have a sour or bad smell. Dates that are wrinkled are perfectly fine, but don't buy ones that are too hard or too mushy, according to Epicurious, which also warns against buying dates with any white spots or sugar crystallization on their skin, as it's a sign that the dates are old and have lost moisture. Basket Bulk also recommends avoiding packaged dates where the dates are stuck together, or where the package also contains foreign objects like plant debris.

Room temperature

It's best to consume dates within a week of purchase, according to Basket Bulk. Dates can be stored at room temperature for a while, but for the best results, store them in an airtight container or jar (via Bateel). Either glass or plastic containers or jars will work, according to the Foods Guy. You can also store them in a resealable plastic bag or vacuum-sealed bag—for the best results, be sure to squeeze out all the excess air (via Fab How). The airtight container or bag should then be placed in a cool, dry place, such as a kitchen cupboard or pantry. Be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and any sources of heat, such as the stove or oven, warns Deliciously Dates.

When stored properly, fresh and semi-dry dates will stay good at room temperature for 4 to 6 weeks, while dried dates will last longer and should still be good for about 6 months, according to the Foods Guy. It's also good idea to put a label noting when you purchased or stored the dates, so you know how long they are good for.


Storing dates in the refrigerator is a great way to keep them fresh for longer than at room temperature. Storing dates in the refrigerator is also particularly important if you happen to live in an environment that is hot and humid (via Still Tasty). You may be tempted to simply place the dates in the refrigerator in whatever container, box, or bag they came in, but there is a better way to store them that will keep them fresher for longer.

Just as you would store dates at room temperature in an airtight container or bag with the excess air squeezed out, you should do the same when storing dates in the refrigerator. Using an airtight container will also prevent the dates from picking up other odors and condensation while inside the refrigerator (via Bateel). Stored properly in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator, fresh dates will remain fresh and full of flavor for up to 1 month, while dried dates will remain fresh for 6 to 12 months, according to the Foods Guy.


If you ended up with way more dates than you could possibly use in the near future or you want to save them for a much later date, perhaps due to buying in bulk at your local market, the best way to keep them fresh until you want to use them is to store them in the freezer. Freezing dates will keep them good for up to 3 years, according to the Foods Guy. Given their high sugar content, dates don't actually ever completely freeze, meaning their texture isn't really affected by being frozen (via Epicurious).

Bateel recommends placing dates inside a freezer bag, making sure to squeeze out all the excess air before placing the bag inside the freezer. The Foods Guy recommends leaving some space between the dates as they may expand when frozen. Thaw the dates out to room temperature before consuming them. If the dates aren't soft enough for your recipe needs, you can soak them in some water for a few hours (via Foodal). Once you thaw the fresh dates out though, you must consume them within six weeks, warns Deliciously Dates.