Have you ever found an old bag of hard candy in the very back of your pantry and desperately wondered whether it’s still good or not? Do you risk it? How long does hard candy last?
Well, today we answer that exact question just in time for the spooky season! More often than not we throw out perfectly good food which is not only wasteful but also costs you money. Here, we will look at what hard candy is, what reduces its shelf life, and how to properly store it.
What is Hard Candy?
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Hard candy, also known as boiled sweets, is a type of confection made from sugar syrups. Usually, manufacturers prefer using sucrose, fructose, or glucose, but sugar-free versions have also recently been developed.
These syrups are heated until they begin to caramelize around 320°F / 160°C. Once the syrup has reached the correct temperature, a few additional ingredients are added to create a delicious flavor.
Making hard candy at home is surprisingly easy, but we must admit, it took us a few tries to get the sugar temperature just right. We absolutely love the fruitier essences and also add a drop or two of food coloring to match.
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Does Hard Candy Expire?
The question isn’t really “does hard candy expire”, but rather when. Despite popular belief, all food items do eventually expire, even if it takes decades.
Hard candy has a best-by-shelf life of up to a year. A “best by” date doesn’t indicate when a product has expired, but rather when it has gone past its prime.
The shelf life of hard candy made in a factory is slightly longer compared to homemade versions. This is because manufacturers also add stabilizers and preservatives to make their products last longer.
We have found that homemade hard candy lasts about 6 to 9 months without losing its hard texture and intense flavor.
How to Correctly Store Hard Candy
Bacteria only need a few things to grow; favorable temperatures, moisture, and oxygen. By eliminating even one of these factors you can extend the shelf life of your candy by months.
To create an unfavorable environment for the bacteria, first eliminate any light or heat sources. We like to keep our candy in a pantry or food cupboard – a “cool dry place” as the packaging always says.
You can even store the candy inside a refrigerator, especially in hot summers days. Heat also makes the candy melt and changes the texture.
To eliminate oxygen for the bacteria, just try to use all the opened candies immediately. We store any opened candies or homemade candy inside a re-sealable bag or an airtight container.
Lastly, hard candies already have a naturally low moisture content, so all you have to do is keep them away from high humidity areas and even heat sources. Keeping the candy near a microwave or oven can create water molecules inside the package.
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Can You Freeze Hard Candy?
The answer is yes! However, we have personally found it unnecessary. Hard candy already has a long shelf life and let’s be honest, you will probably devour them before they are even close to expiring!
So, in essence, hard candy can last up to a year if stored correctly. Choose an area away from any light, high temperatures, and moisture. Also, make sure that you keep it sealed in an airtight container or bag.
If you would like to give us your own tips and tricks for storing candy or if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments below!
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