marshmallows

Marshmallow Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

In this current scenario of being homebound, one does miss the freedom and hustle-bustle of life which starts from getting ready to coming back home tired and desperately waiting for the weekend to come. The list continues to being be able to enjoy in the park, spend a night out near a bonfire in peace and hear the crackling sound of fire with a marshmallow on a stick getting roasted.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a stay-at-home type of person, your happy mood will still be in pajamas while watching TV and enjoying a hot chocolate with a marshmallow on top. In both cases, it is this sweet chunk we all love having in our lives, our guilty pleasure, the marshmallow.

This sweet delight is a confection made up of these main ingredients namely sugar, water, air and a whipping agent which is usually a protein and in the end, coated with cornstarch. Marshmallows are used as a topping, filling in baking, add-on desserts or enjoyed as it is.

Commercially, they are prepared through a process called extrusion in which marshmallow mixture is pushed through long cylindrical tubes, giving them shape and texture and in the end coated with cornstarch and cut into shape which we are all familiar with.

Nutritionally, marshmallows do not hold much significance. It is a processed food item. It comes under the category of foods having minimal nutritional value, according to UDSA (*).

Marshmallow Variety

Nowadays, marshmallows are available in a lot of varieties. It comes in different flavors and caters special needs like vegan, kosher and gluten-free. These sugary pillows are made for everyone to enjoy.

With all this sweet talk, the big question remains. How do you store them properly to be able to enjoy them whenever we want to eat them?

Keeping Marshmallows Fresh

#1. Once opened, putting them in the refrigerator and in an airtight container is the best way to go.

#2. If you find your marshmallows to be dry, they can then be renewed. Put one to two pieces of fresh and moist bread in the resealable bag and keep it for 1 – 2 days. Your marshmallows will then be good as new.

#3. If you are unwilling to wait that long, put marshmallows in the microwave with a cup of water and turn on for 10 seconds till they are soft again.

#4. If you feel that marshmallows are starting to clump together, sprinkle around 1-2 tsp of powdered sugar or corn starch in the resealable bag and give a vigorous shake for all of them to be coated well. After a while, they will start to lose their sides.

How To Store Marshmallows Properly

The ingredients of marshmallows make them easy to store. But like any other food item, they do need to be stored properly. If the package is unopened, keeping them in a cool and dark place will be sufficient like a pantry or cupboard. 

However, if you feel like the room temperature is not on the cooler side then it is preferable to store it in the refrigerator. If you live in a tropical place where the temperature is usually hot, then you should store it in the refrigerator as the marshmallows will melt and stick together.

When you open a bag of marshmallows, put them in an airtight jar then straight into the fridge. This will help them not to get exposed to air for a longer period which makes them hard. They also pick odor from the environment so keeping them in a container saves them from that disappointment as well.

If you have a lot of them, freezing is the best option which makes them good for 6 months.

Unopened packages can be put in the freezer. Once opened, store them in small packs in an airtight container so that they do not hold together and get clumped. This also helps to avoid forming ice crystals which will make them soggy during thawing.

How Long Do Marshmallows Last?

Although they are present in the market in a variety of colors, the most common ones are the white-colored marshmallows. This color helps to tell if the marshmallow is good to eat or not as any change in color usually yellow, indicates that it has gone bad.

The shelf life varies from one brand to another but it varies from 2-6 months. The best is to look at the best before date if the bag is not opened. In case it is opened, it is better to consume it early as with time they will lose their quality along with texture and will get hard, so it is better to freeze it before making them go bad.

Leaving the bag of marshmallows for a long time in a moist or humid place will surely affect its shelf life. A change in appearance will indicate that they are turning bad followed by bad smell and hard texture.

If you are unable to store them properly or keep them in the pantry or kitchen cabinet without putting them in a container, their sweet aroma will attract a lot of bugs, flies, and ants plus due to high sugar content, they will start to clump together.

Usually, unopened bags have a shelf life of 6 – 8 months and opened bags have 4 months or less but it depends on how you store them.


FAQs

What’s the best way to store marshmallows?

Putting them in the refrigerator in an airtight container is the best way to store marshmallows. If you intend to not use them within 2 weeks, then it is better to put them in small sections and freeze them.

Are frozen marshmallows good?

Yes. Freezing marshmallows makes it easier to store for up to 6 months. Whenever needed, take them out, allow it to come to room temperature and they will be good as new. 

How can I tell if marshmallows have gone bad?

Normally, marshmallows have a soft, fluffy, sweet flavor and a mild sugary aroma. Bad marshmallows are hard, sticky, and smell bad. So, it will be easier for you to tell the difference.

Can you eat old marshmallows?

There is nothing wrong with eating old marshmallows as long as they are not bad. Old marshmallows can be renewed by putting a piece of fresh bread in the bag for some time or in the microwave for 10 seconds with a cup of water.

Are marshmallows gluten-free?

Most of the available variety is gluten-free but it is always best to check the package before consuming as there might be some traces of gluten or may contain ingredients sourced from wheat or gluten-containing grains. 

Are marshmallows lactose-free?

Yes. The basic ingredients of marshmallows are sugar, air, water, and gelatin, so they can be consumed while following a lactose-free diet.

Conclusion

We love marshmallows and these little treats have been part of us in all our major events. From being alone to birthdays and parties, these go-to sugary pillows are most enjoyable. Storing them is easy so it is better to keep them that way rather than putting such sweetness to trash.

Marshmallow Shelf Life

*Photo by urban_light/depositphotos

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