Do Prunes Need to be Refrigerated?

Prunes have long been eaten for their incredible nutrition levels and health benefits. They can be consumed as a delicious snack on their own or as part of a recipe such as a smoothie where the prunes impart a delightfully sweet flavor profile. Did you know prunes support digestion, reduce inflammation, and have many more health benefits?

You should consume this powerhouse food with caution, they are high in sugar, and too many prunes can have explosive consequences!

In this article, we dive into prunes and answer the most frequently asked questions, so you have the information to consume prunes confidently.

Let’s dive in.

Can prunes be left unrefrigerated?

Yes, if you purchase dried prune varieties, they come in a sealed pack that can be resealed. Take the number of prunes you wish to consume, reseal the pack and store it in a dry, cool place such as the pantry.

Dried prunes have a long shelf life if stirred correctly. However, if they are exposed to moist conditions, they will develop mold and will need to be discarded.

The official line from the trusted USDA is that the prunes are stored correctly, and they will maintain their quality and have a shelf life of up to six months.

Why do dried prunes need to be refrigerated?

According to the USDA, dried prunes do not need to be refrigerated and have a shelf life of up to six months when stored correctly in a cool dark place such as your pantry.

However, even with dried prunes, their quality somewhat relies on their moisture content, and eating dry prunes can be an unpleasant experience. The prunes can lose some of their moisture even in a sealed bag.

Placing your dried prunes in an airtight container and placing them on a middle shelf in the fridge will ensure they are cool and moist when you take a bite of the prune.

The shelf life may be extended slightly under cooler conditions. But, there is a caveat, the fridge is cool, but because the fridge door is opened frequently, the fridge can be overly moist with condensation build-up. The prunes must not be exposed to external moisture if the quality of the friend fruit is to be preserved.

What happens if you don’t refrigerate prunes after opening?

If they are kept in an airtight container or the original resealable packet, they will be fine if stirred in a cool dark place to prevent moisture loss from the fruit.

According to the USDA, prunes stored in the pantry can have a shelf life of up to six months.

Although storing prunes in the fridge seems logical, the fridge can be moist. If the prunes are exposed to moisture, the quality of the dried fruit will diminish quickly. The prunes will become soggy and stale and may start to grow mold.

Do canned prunes need to be refrigerated?

Canned prunes are a great option for dietary fiber and a great-tasting fruit. The juice from the prunes is incredible too.

Eating the canned prunes within 4 to 7 days is recommended, and you will need to refrigerate them to maintain their quality. But storing in the pantry is also permissible for this versatile fruit once the can is opened.

There are a couple of caveats that you should pay attention to when storing opened canned prunes, which are:

  • Remove the prunes from the can. Cans can taint the fruit, so store the prunes in an airtight container to maintain the quality and flavor profile.
  • If you intend to freeze, the prunes use duty freezer bags heavily.

Can prunes be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze prunes. This delicious dried fruit will be eaten long before the fruit has expired. Dried prunes can have a shelf life of up to six months. Freezing is an option; you can gain an additional six months’ life from your dried prunes.

Do canned prunes benefit from freezing? Yes, they do. Canned prunes have a short shelf life once the can is open, so freezing canned or bottled prunes is the perfect solution for extending the fruit’s life.

How do you store frozen prunes?

If you are freezing a few leftovers, place the prunes in a zip lock bag and then into an airtight container and store them flat in the freezer compartment. The prunes should be frozen at 0℉.

The best way to take advantage of freezing prunes is to have a decent size batch, so it is worth the effort. Here are some top tips for freezing prunes:

  • Freeze the prunes in manageable portions. You know how many prunes your family will eat when served. Splitting the prunes into potion sizes will be cost-effective in the long run because once prunes are defrosted, they can’t be refrozen.
  • Use suitable bags and containers when freezing prunes. Start by using sealable bags. Something like a zip lock bag is perfect. When you have a portion of prunes in the bag, squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible and then seal. Once this stage is done, lay the bag flat in an airtight container before placing it in the freezer.
  • Top Tip. Label and Freeze: Write today’s date and the use-by date on the front of the freezer-safe bags and place your prunes in the freezer. Remember, you can freeze prunes for around twelve months.

How are prunes defrosted?

It depends. Suppose you love a prune smoothie. You can use frozen prunes straight in the blender and enjoy the texture of the smoothie drink.

However, if you plan to have a healthy snack, the prunes must be defrosted before you can tuck in.

Planning is key to thawing anything from the freezer. If possible, remove your portion of prunes the night before and palace it in the refrigerator naturally and slowly. This will give a better quality thawed prune.

When ready for your breakfast prunes, they will be thawed entirely and perfectly chilled for that sumptuous snack.

Can you still eat expired prunes?

Dried prunes have a long shelf life if stored correctly, so expiry dates are somewhat of a none issue. But, let us suppose you have prunes stored in the pantry for twelve months.

It will be unlikely that dried prunes will have changed in an airtight container, and they may be suitable for a further six months before you consider them expired.

If your prunes have expired and become exposed to air, they will have dried and become hard and will have mold. Never eat moldy dried fruit. 

If you are unsure of the age of friend prunes, it’s wise to take the view that they have passed their shelf life and should be discarded and replaced with fresh, dried prunes.

If you have frozen prunes, be they dried, canned, or bottled prunes if they are stirred at 0℉, they have an indefinite shelf life.

What is the white stuff on prunes?

Prunes are high in sugar; occasionally, the sugar forms in white patches. It’s nothing to worry about and is typical of prunes. The official term is sugaring.

This should not happen at a cooler temperature if you store your prunes in the fridge.


Prunes are low-glycemic. Unlike other dried fruit, they do not cause a blood sugar surge. They also include a lot of soluble fiber, which delays the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream by slowing the pace at which food leaves the stomach. 

According to Harvard Medical School, one serving of unsweetened dried prunes (60 grams, or around six prunes) has a glycemic index of 29. 

However, if you have diabetes, you should be cautious. Even though prunes have a low glycemic index, you should still talk to your doctor before including them in your everyday diet.


One of the conditions women find during pregnancy is constipation. Prunes are often recommended to relieve constipation typically and through pregnancy. The bonus is they are nutritious and fantastic to eat in moderation.

If you are pregnant and have constipation, you need to know that eating prunes can cause unpleasant gastric symptoms, including bloating and flatulence.

Before you eat prunes regularly throughout your pregnancy, it is worth consulting with your physician or CNM.

Final thoughts

Prunes are a fantastic nutritious addition to your diet, and they have many health benefits such as:

  • Helps digestion. Prunes are high in fiber, which helps prevent hemorrhoids brought on by constipation.
  • High in potassium.
  • High in vitamins.
  • Provides a good source of iron. 
  • Builds bones and muscles. 
  • Reduces cholesterol levels. 
  • Lowers blood pressure.

These are just a few of the health benefits of prunes. 

The shelf life of dried prunes is incredibly long, and they don’t need to be refrigerated and stored correctly in a cool, dry pantry.

Prunes can be frozen if they are dried, canned, or bottled, extending the shelf life indefinitely.

Do prunes need to be refrigerated? Not really, but there are some advantages to keeping prunes in the fridge. However, they must be in an airtight container and not exposed to external moisture. 


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