It can generally go without saying that there are countless different ways that people can enjoy the fruits that they know and love. Some people prefer to eat their fruit fresh, even straight from the plant itself, while other people appreciate cooking their fruit into other foods to add flavor and texture. Out of all the different ways that people enjoy their fruit, there is always going to be a question of the best way to store fruit.
Fruit falls into a category of food known as perishables, which makes sense, as fruit is a food that can perish very easily if it is not stored in the right conditions. However, the right conditions for your fruit to be stored in will vary wildly depending on the type of fruit, its age, and what condition it is in.
A peach that has already been bruised and banged around and is then stored in a warm, humid environment is going to go bad much faster than a cherry that is being carefully handled and is stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
With this in mind, you might begin to wonder what the best ways to store fruit is going to be. The answer to this question depends heavily on what kind of fruit you are planning on storing and what condition the fruit is in. Under most conditions, even fruit that is well taken care of won’t last more than a week or two at a time. Thankfully, there are some exceptions to this rule.
One common exception to this rule is candied fruit. Candied fruit falls in between a strange line of being pure candy that you can eat for dessert or use as the topping of a cake or pie, and being legitimate fruit that you would eat as a healthy snack. Some people even question whether or not candied fruit is even real fruit, as the storage process for real fruit differs immensely from candied fruit.
Before you can begin to understand what you need to do with candied fruit, you will first need to know what exactly candied fruit is and how it is made. Knowing this will help you have a better understanding of how and why you need to store it the way that you should.
What Is Candied Fruit?
To answer one question, candied fruit is actually real fruit. It originates from using fresh fruit to create these candied treats, and it also means that more often than not, authentic candied fruit isn’t going to have an eternal shelf life like many types of candy can.
The way that you can make candied fruit is by cutting up pieces of the fruit that you want to have candied into small, thin slices. These fruits can be lemons, limes, oranges, cherries, strawberries, and just about any fruit that you can think of that would make a delicious treat. Most people choose fruits with a vibrant color, simply to emphasize the candy-like appearance of this treat.
Once the fruit has been sliced, you will want to soak all of the pieces of the fruit in a sugar syrup. This is what gives your fruit slices the thinner and smaller appearance than what they normally are before you cut them. Once all of the fruit is in the container of sugar syrup, you will want to heat everything up to the point where the fruit’s water content is replaced with the sugar from the syrup.
Before you know it, you will have little slices of candied fruit that you can eat. The appearance will still hold some resemblance to the fruit that the candy came from, and the recipe itself is made using real fruit, but it turns this treat into a common wintertime dessert.
How Long Does Candied Fruit Last?
Under good conditions, candied fruit can typically last for about two years on your shelf. Keep in mind that the two years suggested is a maximum of how long your fruit can last, and often due to the way that the food is made and the way it is stored, its flavor will begin to change after one year’s time. It will still be edible at this point, but you may not appreciate the difference in taste.
If you are concerned about the idea of fresh fruit lasting for more than a few days in a place that isn’t particularly cold or dry, then there are a few things for you to learn. The sugar that is found in candied fruit acts as a natural preservative agent.
Additionally, because of the process that you use to make candied fruit, the fruit will have little to no actual water content, as all of that water became sugar because of the syrup. This means that there is no water content for any bacteria or mold to take notice of and latch onto, effectively turning your fruit into something that can last for a much longer time.
In a sense, you can think of candied fruit as being a sweet equivalent of meat jerky. The processes might be drastically different, but the end result is the same. You will have a version of the original food, that has changed in appearance and taste, that no longer has the water content needed to sustain the life of other organisms, allowing that food to last for a long time.
As for how you should go about storing your candied fruit in a way that will not leave it susceptible, there are a couple things that you can do. Typically, you will want to take an air-tight container and you will want to pour the candied fruit into that container. Once the fruit is inside, you will want to close the lid so that no air or moisture can make its way into the container.
By keeping the container free of moisture and air, you will be able to preserve the flavor and texture of the candied fruit, allowing it to last for about a year before there are changes in its flavor and possibly texture. You will want to keep this container of candied fruit in a cool, dark, and dry part of your house. A common place for this would be a cabinet or shelf in the kitchen, although other times you could keep it in the basement.
If you plan on using the fruit in the next year, you don’t have to do anything else to keep its condition preserved. However, if you are planning on waiting to use the fruit for longer than a year, you will want to keep this container in the fridge so that you can further protect the fruit over time.
In fact, candied fruit has a tendency to keep so well that you will not have to worry about it going bad for a while. You are more likely to have problems with bugs being attracted to the sugar content of candied fruits, especially if you leave the container in places where bugs frequent, such as your basement. If you are planning on keeping your candied fruits in the basement, especially if you have a bug problem, you will need to make absolutely sure that your container of fruits is completely sealed so that you do not run the risk of having a surprise the next time you open up the container of candied fruits.
Aside from that, you won’t really have to give much thought into how you care for your candied fruit. Instead of thinking about what to do with it, you can usually just enjoy it while it lasts, if you can even make it last for a year.