Marshmallows are one of the most beloved and versatile treats out there! They can be eaten by themselves, roasted over a campfire, melted in hot chocolate, and even used as a sweet topping on sweet potato casserole during the holiday season.
But, have you ever wondered if marshmallows can go bad? After all, we all have that one bag of marshmallows sitting in our pantry for a while.
Marshmallows have a long shelf life, but like most food items, they can go bad or spoil eventually. This doesn’t always mean unsafe to eat but just unenjoyable.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the shelf life of marshmallows, how to tell if they’ve gone bad, and how to properly store them to maximize their freshness.
What Are Marshmallows?
Before we dive into the shelf life of marshmallows, let’s first define what they are.
Marshmallows are a type of confectionery made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and some whipped air to bring out the fluffy texture. Similar to cotton candy, this incorporated air is an important part of the final texture.
They are known for their soft, fluffy texture and sweet taste. Premade, packaged marshmallows come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors, including mini, regular, and jumbo sizes.
How Long Do Marshmallows Last?
Generally, store-bought marshmallows can last for up to 6-8 months if stored properly (in an airtight container in a cool place).
The shelf life of marshmallows varies depending on several factors, such as the ingredients used (preservatives) and how they are stored.
On the other hand, opened bags or homemade marshmallows can dry out and become stale from exposure to air and moisture.
Signs of Spoilage
Marshmallows don’t usually have an expiration date, but they can still go bad. Here are some signs of spoilage to look out for:
- Hardness or stiffness: Marshmallows should be soft and squishy. If they are hard or stiff, they may have gone bad.
- Dryness: If your marshmallows are dry, they may have lost their moisture content and gone stale.
- Odor: If your marshmallows have a strange or off-putting odor, it’s a sign that they may have spoiled.
Generally, it is rare for marshmallows to become unsafe to eat. Rather, the quality degrades over time.
Can You Eat Expired Marshmallows?
While it’s not recommended to eat expired marshmallows, they are generally safe to consume. Marshmallows are mostly made of sugar, which acts as a natural preservative.
However, eating stale marshmallows may result in a less enjoyable taste and texture. It becomes dry, gritty, and overall unpleasant to eat.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and throw them away if they’re past their prime.
How to Store Marshmallows
Proper storage is key to extending the shelf life of marshmallows.
Keep them in an airtight container: Marshmallows are sensitive to air and moisture. To keep them fresh, store them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag.
Avoid humidity. Marshmallows that are exposed to humid storage conditions will start sticking together and become clumped.
Freeze them. In an airtight container, marshmallows can be stored in the freezer quite well! Defrosting is as easy as leaving it out for about 30 minutes.