Dates are a dried fruit that appear glossy and wrinkled. They don’t need to be frozen to keep their freshness unless you are planning to use them about a year later. Sometimes dates can become so dry that they are unpleasant to eat. Freezing them can help keep their freshness especially if you plan to make holiday dishes within the next six months. Something like date nut whorls may be better off having the dates frozen. Dates have a long shelf life and overall you don’t need to freeze them. However, in case you purchased a lot or grew many you may want to keep them for a long period of time and will not eat all of them within the same year.

Yemeni Market Dates

Image used under Creative Commons from Itinerant Tightwad

Freezing

When freezing, place a handful of dates in a small container or freezer bag and make sure that they are air tight to avoid freezer burn. By keeping small amounts of dates in each container or bag you will avoid having to thaw out all of the dates at the same time and re-freezing them. This allows you to take a few out at a time and if you want more you can select another group of dates.

Shelf life of Dates

Dates are ripe when they are brown and soft. You can store them in a refrigerator without freezing them for two to three weeks or place them in the freezer for more than four months. Before storing them you can choose to remove the pits by slicing them in half and removing the seed. Then dry them in two pieces. Leave in a warm area to dry for up to 20 hours. When they are soft and leathery they are dry enough to eat. Put them in proper airtight containers and leave in your refrigerator for up to six months or place in your freezer, depending on when you plan to eat them. If you plan to eat them right away then you don’t have to worry about placing them in the freezer. This is only if you choose to use them several months later. If you choose to leave the dates out on your counter you will have to monitor for any insects or fungus that may grow within the fruit.

Thawing

To thaw the fruit place in the refrigerator for a slow thawing. You can leave them in the refrigerator for a day and then place in room temperature for another day. They should be completely thawed out within 48 hours. Avoid placing them in a microwave to thaw as they can become dried out and hard if not carefully defrosted. Plan ahead for the best results and enjoy the dates tasting their sweetest. If you are in need of thawing the dates out quickly you will not get the best results or the best tasting fruit, but you can get it done. Place them under running warm water until the container or bag doesn’t show a freeze texture. Then place in the microwave under a very mild temperature for about an hour. Then leave in room temperature until you need to use them. If the texture is hard then the dates are no good. They will need to be soft and shiny for the best tasting dates.