If you’re hoping to ration and save your Halloween candy, it’s important to know when it’s past its prime.
A candy’s age typically just affects its taste. But some — like anything with fruit or nuts — can actually turn moldy.
How long a candy lasts depends on its ingredients. For most sugar-based candy, it typically goes bad when it loses moisture and dries out. When it comes to chocolate, there are several ways it can spoil, causing it to taste either sour or gritty. The good news is all of the sugars and preservatives mean it likely will not make you sick.
Candy wrappers have expiration dates, but like most foods, those are typically “best by” dates.
Hard candy like Jolly Ranchers, lollipops and other individually wrapped candies can essentially last forever if they’re stored right and kept away from moisture.
Dark chocolate can last one to two years in a cool, dark, dry place.
Milk and white chocolate will last up to 10 months. According to the Confectioners Association, the pantry is generally the best place to keep those.
Some candies are OK to freeze, but anything with fruit or nuts should not be frozen. Experts say those particular candies — along with anything with a high-fat content like Reese’s — are the exception to the “best by” rule. It’s best to throw those out if the date on their wrappers has passed.