The end of October typically means way too much candy — even for those with the most insatiable sweet tooth. Whether you have kids bringing home big bags of candy, or you overestimated how much you needed for trick-or-treating, chances are, you’re going to need to store some for later.
If you want to enjoy your candy haul slowly, it’s vital you know how to properly store your candies. If not, you could end up with a melty mess or scary flavors later on.
Candy bars are very high in sugar and low in moisture — a combination that inhibits bacterial growth. This keeps them naturally edible for really long periods of time, but you can extend their shelf-life even further with a little care.
Here are some tips from the National Confectioners Association that will leave your candy tasting fresh, long after your jack-o-lantern has gone dark.
Candy Storage in general
Different types of candy have different requirements, but generally, the pantry is a safe place to stash your sweets. If you can store candy in an airtight container, that’s even better.
A number of candies can go in the freezer for long periods of time, but not all sweets are suited for this treatment. Toffee and truffles can be frozen, but candy with fruits or nuts won’t fair well.
Also, don’t store candies together that absorb moisture (such as caramels, mints and hard candies) with those that lose moisture (like creamy fudge). Storing these together means both tend to lose their texture and take on unappetizing qualities.
If wrapped in foil and stored in a cool, dark, dry place, dark chocolate will stay good for 1 to 2 years. A pantry or basement is usually best, but make sure there is no chance of rodent or moisture damage. Milk chocolate and white chelate have a more limited storage time. Store the same way, but don’t expect it to taste as great past the 8 month mark.
Hard candies (like lifesavers, lollipops, and butterscotch) can be stored for later, but there are a few things to remember when preserving these sugar-heavy treats.
Hard candies will last up to one year if stored in a cool, dry place. Make sure they’re away from humidity and heat or you could be in for a misshapen mess.
Also, to keep hard candies from absorbing moisture, sprinkle them with sugar before stashing them away in an airtight glass jar. Hard candies already individually wrapped are ready to resist sticking together if a little dampness does enter the glass jar.
Gummy bears do best in a covered candy dish away from heat and light. Store at about 70ºF, if you have the option. Stored this way, soft gummies will last 6 to 9 months. If the package hasn’t been opened yet, you can expect them to last as long as 12 months.
Opened candy corn will last for 3 to 6 months when stored away from heat. Unopened, you can get 9 to 12 months out of them. Also see, The Sweet History of Candy Corn.
Caramels and Nougat
Soft confections like caramel, nougat, and taffy are magnets for moisture and even dust — gross! Make sure these candies are wrapped tightly in plastic wrap before storing them somewhere cool, dry, and away from light. For best results, these types of candies should really be wrapped individually.
In case you get too much gum in your Halloween haul, remember to keep the package sealed and you’ll still be able to enjoy it for 6 to 9 months. To maximize freshness, store separate of other candies in a cool, dry place, and out of sunlight.