When it comes to keeping food at the summer cabin or maintaining a sizeable store of emergency rations in the home, crackers are a no-brainer. But you have to store them correctly to reap their long-lasting qualities.
Crackers will generally last up to two months for open packages and up to nine months for unopened boxes when stored in the proper conditions. The best place to store crackers long-term is in a cool, dry space, preferably in an air-tight container such as a Mylar bag.
What Is the Shelf Life of Unopened Crackers?
The shelf-life of unopened crackers will vary based on the storage conditions of the container itself. Unopened boxes of crackers stored in optimal locations will last six and nine months.
What Is An Ideal Storage Location For Unopened Crackers?
Your standard pantry closet will work well for storing unopened boxes of crackers. However, if your pantry becomes exposed to water or humidity, the quality and shelf-life of the crackers will deteriorate quickly.
What Is the Shelf Life of Opened Crackers?
Opened crackers will not last nearly as long as their unopened counterparts. However, crackers stored in optimal conditions will last up to two months once opened.
What Is An Ideal Storage Location For Opened Crackers?
You’ll want to store your opened crackers in a similar location as unopened containers – like a cool and dry kitchen pantry or cupboard. However, you should keep opened crackers in an airtight container, like a ziplock bag or Tupperware, to maintain their freshness.
Can You Re-store Crackers That Have Sat Out of Their Container?
If crackers have sat out for longer than two hours besides other food, like meats or cheeses, it’s best not to try and store them for later consumption. The crackers can become contaminated with bacteria from other foods and become a breeding ground for food poisoning bacteria.
However, if you kept the crackers on a separate plate and in dry conditions, you can probably place them in a zip lock bag and keep them for a month or two.
Best Containers for Cracker Storage
If you’re looking to increase the longevity of your crackers, whether open or unopened, some containers will work better than others.
A quality Tupperware will protect crackers from moisture and maintain freshness. You can store opened and unopened crackers in Tupperware. With unopened boxes, only keep the crackers in Tupperware if you have a large enough container to fit the box.
- Ziplock Bags
Large freezer bags or ziplock containers work great to store open containers of crackers. Place the crackers in the bag, and make sure to squeeze out all the air from the container before closing it.
- Vacuum Sealing
If you happen to own a vacuum sealer, you can vacuum seal your crackers in their original wrapping to ensure long-term storage in a moisture-free container.
- Original Container
Whether it is a box or bag, the original crackers container works fine for the long-term storage of unopened crackers. Just make sure to keep the box out of humid environments, and if it becomes damaged, switch to another container.
- Mylar Bags
Mylar bags are perfect for storing food long-term. Made by DuPont Chemical back in the 1950s, Mylar bags are a form of metalized polyester that is created using polyethylene terephthalate. The advantage of using Mylar bags to store saltine crackers long-term is they’re relatively cheap and can preserve food for much longer than a regular plastic baggie.
Can Crackers Keep Past Their Best-By Date?
The USDA notes that most shelf-stable foods, including crackers, will last past their best-by date. The best-by date only indicates the point at which the crackers will maintain their best flavor, texture, and appearance. You may find crackers eaten past their best-by date stale.
Do Crackers Expire?
There is no hard date determining the expiration of crackers. However, most companies utilize a best-by date to indicate when they recommend consuming the crackers in terms of composition, not safety. But, it’s essential to keep in mind recommended expiry dates.
As a good rule of thumb, it’s best not to keep opened boxes of crackers for more than two months after opening. For unopened packages, you can usually eat them safely if there are no signs of damage or disease present when you open the box.
Signs Crackers Have Gone Bad
If you are concerned that your package of containers has gone bad, there are plenty of signs to look for that can confirm those suspicions.
- Damaged Containers – If you notice that the container is bent, damaged, or cracked, it’s likely the crackers aren’t safe for you to eat. Damaged containers can introduce bacteria and mold-producing moisture to the crackers.
- Moldy or Musty Smell – If you open the container and get a whiff of a sour, musty smell akin to a basement or fish tank, toss the box of crackers. Sour smells indicate mold or mildew has found a home on your crackers.
- Discoloration – If you notice crackers with black or green spots, brown stains, or other discolorations, it’s best to throw them out.
- Soggy Texture – If you take a handful of crackers out and they crumple into a mushy mess, they’ve experienced moisture during their storage. Throw them out; they may have grown bacteria or mold thanks to the moisture.
How To Freshen Up Stored Crackers
Say you’ve popped open a container of stored crackers and found them to be a bit stale – is there a way to fix their flavor and texture? Yes, but only if there are no signs of spoilage like moldy smells, discoloration, or damage to the container.
Place your crackers onto a cookie sheet and bake them at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for up to five minutes to bring back the crisp textures of the crackers. Top the warm crackers with salt and pepper for added flavor.
When appropriately stored, crackers can add variety to your pantry and emergency storage supplies. Keep your crackers in a cool, dry place for optimal longevity. Before enjoying your stored crackers, check for signs of damage or spoiling before eating them.