Jelly beans are typically associated with Easter or springtime, but they make a tasty treat all year round. Because of their egg-shaped appearance, they became a popular Easter treat, starting in the 1930s.
If you do have a bag left over from months ago when the Easter Bunny visited, you may now be wondering whether or not they are still good to eat.
Here’s the bottom line: Jelly beans have a very long shelf life when unopened, lasting even years beyond the packaged “best by” date. However, once the package has been opened, they have a limited shelf life.
You can expect an unopened package to be good for years, and remain good for months after opening.
Shelf Life Of Jelly Beans
Jelly beans are flavorful, but for how long will they keep as a tasty treat? Since they are very sugary, it makes it difficult for bacteria or other growth to develop. Because of this, jelly beans have a very long shelf life.
When remaining unopened, jelly beans will remain good quality for several years. Typically, the packaging will include a “best by” date, but this is just a recommendation for when quality may begin to lessen. When unopened, a package of jelly beans can last for even years beyond the labeled “best by” date.
Once you have opened the packaging, the clock begins to tick on the shelf life of your jelly beans. If stored properly, they can last for up to 3 to 6 months in ideal conditions once opened.
Proper Storage Of Jelly Beans
Often, jelly beans will not necessarily be bad to eat once they have passed their prime, though they may not be as palatable. Typically, jelly beans will go stale, becoming hard and very difficult to chew.
To keep the jelly beans in the best quality for as long as possible, they should be stored properly. This will keep them a tasty treat for longer.
Jelly beans should be kept in a cool, dark location, such as a pantry. Exposure to heat or light will cause the jelly beans to melt, get sticky, and fuse together. This can also cause them to deteriorate and lose quality quickly.
If you live in a particularly humid or hot area, you may want to refrigerate your jelly beans to keep them from melting, getting sticky, or fusing together. Refrigerating them, however, can change the consistency and make them harder.
Once you have opened a package of jelly beans, they should be kept in an airtight container or plastic bag, with all excess air squeezed out. Exposure to air will cause jelly beans to begin to go stale and harden, making them very difficult to chew.
Are These Jelly Beans Still Good?
Jelly beans rarely will change in appearance when they begin to go bad. Instead, to determine if the jelly beans are still good, you will have to try one.
If the jelly bean has started to go stale or harden, it may not be as good of quality. Jelly beans may also begin to lose some of the flavor and quality after time.
Jelly beans should also be kept away from any sources of moisture. Moisture or humidity will cause jelly beans to get sticky or slimy and begin to lose their consistency.
If stored incorrectly, jelly beans can begin to fuse together, develop an odd odor, or have changes in texture or consistency. At this point, you will want to throw them out.
Once jelly beans have begun to pass their prime, they will likely be perfectly safe to consume. Eating them, however, may be a chore.
In Summary: Jelly Beans
- Jelly beans are a popular Easter treat, but are tasty all year round.
- Jelly beans last a very long time. They can last for several years when remaining unopened.
- Once the package of jelly beans has been opened, they can last 3 to 6 months if stored properly.
- Jelly beans should be stored in a cool, dark location, such as a pantry.
- Exposure to heat or moisture will cause jelly beans to change in texture and consistency.
- Once jelly beans age, they are still safe to consume, but will start to harden and lose flavor.
So if you are wondering about that bag of jelly beans that has been in your pantry for a while, go ahead and crack it open. As long as the first few are fine, they should be perfectly fine to eat. Enjoy that flavor of the Easter holiday!