Sun-dried tomatoes are a go-to option for some intense flavor with your dishes. They have a mouth-watery, sweet, and tangy flavor that goes way too well with various recipes.
The sweet-tangy flavor and chewy texture make them ideal for your meals. More like a cherry on top, right?
Italians love the ripe, sun-dried tomatoes and make them into pasta sauces, pizzas, and salads. They have been home-drying them for centuries now by adding salt to the tomatoes that fasten up the dehydration (water retention) and overall acts as a preservative.
Even though sun-dried tomatoes are dehydrated, they don’t lose vital nutrients and last longer, making them even a must-have for your pantry.
Imagine loving a food that’s insanely tasty and healthy- get some sun-dried tomatoes, either dry or oil-packed; sun-dried tomatoes come with a longer shelf life, and that depends on how well you store them.
Today, most of us prefer to buy packaged, store-bought sun-dried tomatoes, and they always have a “best by” or “use by” date for good.
In this article, I’ll tell you all about sun-dried tomatoes’ shelf life and how you store them for them to last longer.
Don’t have time, here’s a quick table.
|Opened Sun-Dried Tomatoes
|Over a year
|Unopened Sun-Dried Tomatoes
|6 to 9 months
|6 months or less
|Up to a year or two
|Opened Oil Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes
|2 weeks or less
|6 to 9 months
|Unopened Oil Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes
|6 to 9 months
|3 to 6 months
|8 to 12 months
|Store Bought Sun-Dried Tomatoes
|9 to 12 months
|9 months to a year
|Up to a year
How long do Sun-Dried Tomatoes Last in the Fridge?
Sun-dried tomatoes must be refrigerated for optimal freshness and to extend their shelf life. Homemade or store-bought ones, once opened, must be stored in the fridge and used at the right time.
Unopened and kept in an airtight bag, homemade oil-packed dried tomatoes can be stored for 6 to 9 months at least.
And the unopened store-bought ones will be fine without refrigerating for at least 6 months. But to avoid spoilage, you can also store them in the fridge.
I get it; the main concern about their shelf life enters your mind when you open the package.
Well, after opening the package of your homemade sun-dried tomatoes, they must be used within 2 weeks if you don’t want to toss them off.
So, don’t wait for years with those sweet and tangy sun-dried tomatoes inside your refrigerator.
How long do Sun-Dried Tomatoes last after Opening?
Sun-dried tomatoes, oil-packed or dry-packed, must be stored in an airtight container and a dry and cool place for better.
But once you open it, there’s a greater chance of the sun-dried tomatoes going bad as moisture and oxygen get in contact, the two major reasons for faster bacterial growth.
If you store well in the right place, the sun-dried tomatoes will last from 3-4 weeks to at least 6 to 9 months.
So, ensure you’re not pairing up bacteria with your sun-dried tomatoes.
Can you Freeze Sun-Dried Tomatoes?
Freezing is the best way to store sun-dried tomatoes if you aim to have them on your plates even after a year or two.
Keep all the air out, and secure them in a tightly sealed freezer bag. Doing this will reduce the risk of freezer burn.
Frozen sun-dried tomatoes can last from 8 to 10 months and up to 1-2 years if things go well with luck.
Although, if you’re storing oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes in the freezer, you must thaw them once before using them in recipes.
And lastly, here’s a friendly suggestion- use your flavorful sun-dried tomatoes within the first 3-4 months if you want them to consume in the initial “flavorful” state and not in the later dull state.
How to Store Sun-Dried Tomatoes for Better Shelf Life?
I’m sure you want to learn the unique skill of properly storing your sun-dried tomatoes for longer.
Well, if you follow my words religiously, and you are good to go.
For better shelf life, store the sun-dried tomatoes in a tight and sealed bag with no air and oxygen inside (say “No” to bacteria).
You can store them at room temperature in a cool and dry place like your pantry. This will be a secure option to store them for longer.
If you want to store them at room temperature safely, you can store your dried tomatoes in olive oil with herbs and garlic; it helps them last longer and immensely slows down the spoilage process.
Keep in containers that won’t affect the dried tomatoes’ taste and overall shelf life, especially keep them away from metal containers. Airtight plastic/freezer bags or glass jars are also a good option.
Once you open the sun-dried tomatoes for use, you can further refrigerate them for a few weeks till they go bad.
Oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes aren’t as long-lasting as dry-packed ones.
Although oil protects the dried tomatoes from air and moisture and can certainly last for at least a year (if you store them well).
Check before you use, as the oil may become rancid over time.
For longevity, you can freeze both the oil and dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes in small, airtight frozen bags.
Following these steps will definitely help. However, be practical to use them at the right time.
Because if you don’t, those little treasures will go to the trash bin and not into your stomach.
How to Tell if Sun-Dried Tomatoes Have Gone Bad?
Well, it is not that hard to tell if your sun-dried tomatoes have gone bad.
No matter what steps you take to make their shelf life longer, like any other food, sun-dried tomatoes go bad when you keep them for too long.
When you see through your eyes, you’ll first notice the color and texture change in the sun-dried tomatoes. The beautiful red or orange color may turn dark brown with some black spots.
And the texture will drastically change from chewy and dry-looking to soggy and musty. It shows that they have absorbed moisture and have developed enough bacteria to toss them out (right now!).
The second sign- Smell is something your nose will detect soon once you’re near those spoiled sun-dried tomatoes. There will be a foul odor that is unpleasant but disgusting.
Last but not (at all) least, spoiled sun-dried tomatoes will grow molds on them. It may look white, gray or just any other color that looks ugly on them. The environment is a big factor that causes the tomatoes to go moldy.
And if your tomatoes are stored in one container, your moldy tomato will spread its wings and infect all the other tomatoes around it.
All these signs make you realize that it’s time to say goodbye to your spoiled sun-dried tomatoes that look, smell, and even feel terrible to stay inside your house.
Once spoiled, you must get rid of them to avoid hazardous food-borne diseases.
Here comes the end of this article, where hopefully I have answered all your doubts and questions about the shelf life of Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
Although, the Dos and Don’ts mentioned above are facts backed by science. However, in the end, your real-life food situation may differ due to many factors.
So, be extra careful in handling and storing the sun-dried tomatoes. Use your best judgment and gut instincts at some point.