Candy canes are like one of the significations of Christmas. They are a cane-shaped hard candy with barber-pole stripes on them. The classic flavor is peppermint but nowadays, they are enriched with more and more different flavors.
You can use candy canes just to decorate your Christmas tree or treat them like real candy. It’s fine to only consume candy canes in some special occasions in a year but not all year long.
With the high amount of sugar in the ingredients board and no essential nutrients included, this sweet stuff is considered an unhealthy confection to our health.
However, if by chance, you have bought a big bunch of candy canes and have a lot of leftovers, you might feel waste to throw them all away. Therefore, it’s necessary to learn about candy canes’ shelf life to know how long your candies can last before going bad and how to store them properly. And you are wondering where to learn about this knowledge, don’t worry, all is included in this article.
How long do candy canes last?
There are plenty of kinds of candy canes but most of them have such a long shelf life. How long they can last actually depends on what condition they are in and how they are stored. You must have wondered can candy canes expire and can you recycle your last-year candy canes for the upcoming Christmas?
Normally, if your candy canes are unopened, they can last 2 to 3 years thanks to the high percentage of sugar in the content. Once you tore the package of a candy cane, if properly stored, it can still be safe for another 12 months even being kept at room temperature or in cold places such as your fridge or freezer.
You might feel a little hesitant to eat a candy cane that has passed the printed date on its label. However, the fact is the date on the package is the recommended consuming time from the manufacturers. To get the best quality of the candies, they encourage people to eat their candy canes before that date, it’s not a safety date so you don’t have to worry.
How to tell if candy canes go bad?
Not like other food such as meat, fish or vegetables that can have severe spoilage such as stale or rotten, confection like candies or cakes rarely get ruined or at least, they won’t be too harmful that lead to any extreme food poisoning.
However, you still need to determine the time to throw your candy canes away as they won’t taste as good as initial. To figure the bad identification of a candy cane, you will have to give it a try by biting it or pressing your fingernail into the cane.
If you leave an impression on the cane or the candy sticks to your teeth, it’s when the candy cane becomes softer and chewy over time. Then instead of enjoying it by traditional licking, you might be struggling with how to enjoy this old candy cane in the most comfortable way.
Sweetness always attracts insects and bugs, therefore, if your leftover candy canes are not covered totally, they might become a home for some insects to visit. At that time to be safe, you should discard your candies.
How to store candy canes?
The hot and humid environment is the enemy of candy canes, therefore, you should keep this sweet stuff in a cool dry place to extend their shelf life. At room temperature, your kitchen cabinet, pantry or the basement will be the ideal places.
If you feel insecure about the surrounding environment that is not safe enough to store your candy canes for the long term, you can choose to refrigerate or freeze them in a fridge or freezer.
Can you freeze candy canes?
Yes, you can still freeze candy canes although it’s not really a necessary and best option to store them. You need to make sure to follow the below instruction, otherwise, you will turn them into a mess.
How to freeze candy canes?
Now you are going to learn how to freeze candy canes properly in just some simple steps.
Tips to freeze candy canes
- The most important rule when freezing candy canes is to always ensure that each candy cane is wrapped fully to avoid sticking together
- You can use a vacuum sealer to draw out as much air as it can to prevent any moisture from contacting with the candies
- The texture of candy canes might be a bit changed after freezing and thawing so you shouldn’t expect much on it
Things you’ll need to freeze candy canes
- A freezer-safe bag/ An airtight container
- Plastic wrap or aluminum foil
How to freeze candy canes
- Wrap each cane with plastic wrap or aluminum foil completely (if your candy canes are unopened, just keep them in their original package)
- Put all the wrapped canes in a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container
- Label the bag or container with name and storage date then stick to the freezer
There is another alter way to freeze candy canes without keeping them intact:
- Place a few candy canes at a time into your blender and crush them into very small pieces or fine dust
- Put the pieces of candies or dust in a vacuum-sealed bag, label, and freeze
How to defrost/ thaw candy canes?
Remember that the heat can make candy canes melt and sticky, therefore, to ensure that your candies don’t have to encounter that situation, just thaw them in the fridge for several hours then you can enjoy your sweet favorite.
If you don’t freeze whole candy canes and use the second method which freezes crushed candies, you can directly use them as a topping for your hot chocolate, cake or ice cream without thawing.