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BTD Forums  /  SWAMI Xpress  /  Do dates go bad?
Posted by: JJR, Thursday, September 15, 2011, 4:31pm
I bought some in bulk and after a while they start to get a "zingy" smell to them.  I can't really tell if they're bad or not.  They SEEM to taste fine, but I'm not sure.  So I bought some other ones and when I got them home, they had this same zingy smell to them.  And then I bought some Dole ones and there is almost a fermented smell to them.  I'm just worried that there's so much sugar in some of these, they might be morphing or something.

Anyone else experience?????  I tasted a little bit of a couple of them and I didn't go into a convulsion or something, but it makes me wonder.  I wonder if I should bake them or something, before eating.  
Posted by: brinyskysail, Thursday, September 15, 2011, 5:13pm; Reply: 1
I've noticed that the newer/fresher/moister (whatever you want to call it) dried fruit is, the more fermented it smells.  Really dry, hard fruit and the stuff that is preserved with sulfur dioxide doesn't smell like that.  I don't know what causes the smell, but I consider it a good thing.
Posted by: chrissyA, Thursday, September 15, 2011, 5:32pm; Reply: 2
I've had a lot of dates go bad. Oh!, you mean the other kind of dates, the kind you eat! (wink) Sorry, couldn't help myself... heehee (hugegrin)
Posted by: JJR, Thursday, September 15, 2011, 8:50pm; Reply: 3
Quoted from brinyskysail
I've noticed that the newer/fresher/moister (whatever you want to call it) dried fruit is, the more fermented it smells.  Really dry, hard fruit and the stuff that is preserved with sulfur dioxide doesn't smell like that.  I don't know what causes the smell, but I consider it a good thing.


So you think it's completely normal, eh?  Yeah, no additives on these.  All 3 that I bought.  I'm guessing it's got to be normal, as 2 of the packages smell exactly the same, and the other is similar.  I don't know.

Posted by: Chloe, Thursday, September 15, 2011, 9:01pm; Reply: 4
I buy all natural dates that have no preservative... and I'm not sure what you mean by zingy....I always keep them in a tightly closed container and refrigerate them so they stay moist.  Mine come from Israel...and they are these big plump dates that almost taste too good to be fruit...almost have a caramel flavor and a sweet, sugary odor. I think they're jumbo medjool dates.

Sometimes when these dates are old, they will dry out...and get firmer and chewier...but
not zingy smelling.

When something doesn't smell right to me, I throw it out...especially if it morphed into that odor
after once smelling good.

I never found dried fruit that smells fermented except for apricots...and that odor is offensive
to me.  Won't eat them.
Posted by: Possum, Friday, September 16, 2011, 10:45pm; Reply: 5
Quoted from chrissyA
I've had a lot of dates go bad. Oh!, you mean the other kind of dates, the kind you eat! (wink) Sorry, couldn't help myself... heehee (hugegrin)
:D ;D

Posted by: Victoria, Saturday, September 17, 2011, 12:49am; Reply: 6
The big, moist dates can ferment in hot weather, so refrigeration is a good idea for those.  The varieties that are dry just seem to get drier with age.  

As to whether or not it's harmful, I don't know the ultimate truth on that question.  ;)  I would personally eat them (if I still ate dates) in moderation.
Posted by: Suzanne, Saturday, September 17, 2011, 2:05pm; Reply: 7
Dates are the only dried fruit that I keep in the refrigerator.  They do ferment at room temperature after the package is open.  I've had both dry and moist go bad.  
Posted by: Amazone I., Saturday, September 17, 2011, 2:55pm; Reply: 8
I also prefer them fresh ;) ;D ... ... :X
Posted by: ABJoe, Saturday, September 17, 2011, 4:01pm; Reply: 9
Quoted from JJR
I bought some in bulk and after a while they start to get a "zingy" smell to them.  I can't really tell if they're bad or not.  They SEEM to taste fine, but I'm not sure.  So I bought some other ones and when I got them home, they had this same zingy smell to them.  And then I bought some Dole ones and there is almost a fermented smell to them.  I'm just worried that there's so much sugar in some of these, they might be morphing or something.

Any fruit with a high sugar content and adequate moisture can ferment.  Fermentation is the process which turns sugar into alcohol.  If the fruit is really moist, fermentation can happen very quickly - some figs start to ferment on the tree if I don't pick them immediately when ripe.  Dates are usually dry enough that it takes a while for them to ferment.

The "zingy" is probably a slight acidic flavor from low dose alcohol.  It is hard to know how fruit is handled prior to you buying it, especially if the store has low volume for a specific item.  
I like to buy dates from a high volume source and refrigerate them in a closed container, as I have had dates stored at room temperature start to ferment.  I don't mind this for an occasional piece, but don't want the whole package to be fermented.  I've never enjoyed much alcohol.
Posted by: JJR, Saturday, September 17, 2011, 4:27pm; Reply: 10
My Son is eating them saying they're fine.  And when I ate a little bite of one the other day, it doesn't taste funny.  But I think you're probably correct Joe.  I don't think a lot of people buy dates, therefore they sit for a long time on the shelves.  So it's possible they're.... changing somewhat.  It's depressing because I don't really want to eat them if they're turning into alcohol.  Yet they're so good.  It's not like I eat a lot at one sitting anyways, but I'm afraid to eat even 1 or 2.

Would cooking or baking them cook off any weirdness?
Posted by: ABJoe, Saturday, September 17, 2011, 6:54pm; Reply: 11
Quoted from JJR
It's depressing because I don't really want to eat them if they're turning into alcohol.  Yet they're so good.  It's not like I eat a lot at one sitting anyways, but I'm afraid to eat even 1 or 2.

Would cooking or baking them cook off any weirdness?

First, the amount of alcohol in them is going to be very small, but can affect the taste.  You'd have a hard time failing a sobriety test by eating them... ;D

Cooking or baking, either one, will be hot enough to dissipate any alcohol that does form.  The flavor will remain.  The same as putting rum on a hot fruitcake and lighting it...
Posted by: JJR, Sunday, September 18, 2011, 8:10pm; Reply: 12
Yeah, maybe I'll simmer some and make a paste or spread out of some and try it that way.  Mmmmmmmm....  
Posted by: ruthiegirl, Sunday, September 18, 2011, 10:09pm; Reply: 13
I've had dried figs get moldy. I haven't had a date in years. (Of either variety. No produce dates since starting BTD and no social dates since, um, uh, last millenium?)
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