Though cranberries are often thought of as a seasonal treat, they are delicious year-round. Used for fruit salads, pies, or baked goods, cranberries have far more versatility beyond a cranberry sauce at the holidays.
In addition to being tasty, cranberries also have a variety of health benefits. They are full of fiber and carbs. They also contain a variety of nutrients, including vitamin E, Vitamin C, and copper. Cranberries have been shown to boost immunity and prevent infection, while also being a tasty treat.
If you purchased a bag of fresh cranberries for a holiday dish or from a seasonal sale, you may now be finding it in the back of your produce drawer. Now, you are left wondering whether or not they are still good.
Bottom Line: Like all other fruits, cranberries will go bad. However, due to their high acidity and thick skin, cranberries will last longer than your standard fresh fruit. You can expect a bag of fresh cranberries to last up to 3 to 6 weeks when stored properly.
How Long Will Cranberries Stay Good?
Note: This article is specific to fresh cranberries. Dried cranberries have a much longer shelf life and vary depending on the product type.
Compared to many fresh fruits, cranberries have a relatively long shelf life. When properly stored, fresh cranberries will typically last up to 3 to 6 weeks. This can depend largely on where you purchase them from, how fresh the produce is, and how they have been packaged.
After a few weeks, the cranberries may begin to degrade in quality, getting mushier or changing in flavor or consistency.
There are ways you can extend the life of your cranberries. When frozen, these fruits will last for far longer, even up to a year.
Proper Storage Of Cranberries
Ensuring proper storage will keep your cranberries good for much longer. Cranberries like the cold. If you plan on using your cranberries within a few weeks, they can be kept in the refrigerator.
When refrigerating cranberries, they should be kept in an airtight container or plastic bag. You will also want to ensure they are dried off prior to refrigerating them. Any excess moisture will cause them to spoil quicker, so ensure there is no liquid in the packaging.
They should be kept in an area of the refrigerator with consistent temperature and away from odor-producing foods. A produce drawer is ideal.
You can extend the life of your cranberries by freezing them. To do this, put them in an airtight container or freezer bag. Ensure all air is squeezed out and that there is no extra moisture. Fortunately, freezing cranberries will not change the quality of the cranberries much, and given their small size, they will thaw very quickly.
How To Extend The Shelf Life Of Your Cranberries
If it has been several weeks and you can tell your cranberries are getting mushy or degrading in quality, you may want to try to preserve them. The quickest option is to freeze them.
However, if you would prefer not to freeze them, cranberries can be preserved in a variety of ways, keeping them good for longer. Even if the cranberries are a little overripe, you can make some cranberry sauce out of them. You can also dehydrate or bake them to create dried cranberries.
Have These Cranberries Gone Bad?
Cranberries will become rotten, like other fresh fruits. But, how can you tell if they are just a little overripe, or if they may have gone bad?
First, you will want to ensure there are no black spots or development of mold. If you see either of these signs of rotting, they should be thrown out.
If the cranberries have become overly mushy, or in contrast, have dried out, they are probably not good to use anymore.
Trust your gut. If anything looks or smells off, you will want to throw them out.
In Summary On Cranberries
- Fresh cranberries will last 3 to 6 weeks when refrigerated.
- Fresh cranberries should be refrigerated and kept in an airtight container or plastic bag. They should remain at a consistent temperature.
- You can extend the shelf life of cranberries by freezing them, dehydrating them, or making a cranberry sauce or other dessert.
- Use up overripe cranberries by making cranberry sauce or dehydrating them for dried cranberries.
Cranberries are a tasty fruit beyond the holiday season. Knowing proper storage techniques and how to check for signs of spoilage to ensure you are getting the most out of these nutritious berries.