Easy to make, available to buy, and delicious to eat, fudge is increasingly gaining popularity worldwide. To make this dessert, you don’t need any special skills, but you do need some information in terms of storage. So, does fudge need to be refrigerated, and how to keep it fresh?
Fudge needs refrigeration as part of its making process. Since it is initially soft, it needs to sit in the fridge to harden. However, once it is hard enough, it should be further stored at room temperature during its three-week shelf life. If you want to keep it longer than this, you should freeze it.
The beauty of fudge is in its simplicity. The ingredients are easily accessible and not expensive at all, and the making process is a piece of cake. Still, storing fudge has given me some hard time, as it significantly changes its consistency and flavor when stored improperly.
In the following text, I will explain how to store fudge, how long it is safe, and how to recognize if it’s gone bad.
Does Fudge Go Bad Without Refrigeration?
Your fudge will be safe for about one to two weeks without refrigeration. Fudge typically contains dairy (milk and butter), but it also includes a large amount of sugar.
The high sugar content keeps fudge from going bad too soon. So, provided that you store it correctly, your fudge will be ok on the counter.
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Does Fudge Need to Be Refrigerated to Harden?
When initially made, fudge is soft and hot and isn’t in its final form. So, to finalize its making process, you need to refrigerate it to harden. It isn’t supposed to be hard enough to crumble, but it isn’t supposed to be pudding-like.
Can You Leave Fudge in the Fridge Overnight?
You can leave your fudge in the fridge overnight, but only as part of the making process. Once it is done, your fudge will be soft, so leaving it in the fridge overnight will harden it enough to get the proper consistency.
However, suppose your fudge contains only soft or meltable ingredients, such as chocolate, caramel, chocolate chips, peanut butter, and alike. In that case, it is best to leave it for several hours in the fridge to harden. If it’s still not hard, it means that fudge didn’t set properly.
On the other hand, if you’ve used hard ingredients that don’t melt, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, they could interfere with the hardening process. These ingredients embed in the fudge, making it more difficult for the fudge to harden in the space around them.
Therefore, leaving your fudge overnight when using hard ingredients that don’t melt is not only allowed but recommended.
Can You Freeze Fudge?
Freezing fudge is recommended if you want to store it for longer than its shelf life, which is one to two weeks. However, freezing fudge isn’t what you want as part of its making process.
Freezing prolongs the fudge’s shelf life for up to a year, but you need to freeze it properly. Airtight containers are always a good idea, but if you don’t have any, you can also use zip lock baggies and transfer them into a plastic container. Wrapping the fudge in several layers of plastic foil and then placing it into freezing baggies is also a good solution.
When you want to have fudge again, take it out of the freezer, let it thaw on the counter for two to three hours, and enjoy.
How Long Does Fudge Last?
As I already mentioned, the high amount of sugar keeps your fudge safe to eat for a long time, even though it contains dairy. However, it will eventually go bad if you don’t store it properly.
How Long Does Fudge Last at Room Temperature?
Your fudge is safe to eat for one to two weeks at room temperature. Still, this doesn’t mean that you can just leave it on the counter as it is.
You need to pick a room with a stable temperature. Frequent temperature changes can spoil the fudge.
Another thing to consider is where in the room you keep it. A light spot for your fudge isn’t a good idea, as it could trigger some chemical processes and spoil it. Also, placing your fudge under direct sunlight will cause it to melt, and you don’t want that.
Therefore, choose a dark and cool spot to store your fudge. A pantry is a perfect place for this, but you can keep it in your kitchen cabinets if you don’t have one.
It is also vital to wrap your fudge. Wax paper is best for this, but aluminum foil will also do nicely. I wouldn’t recommend using plastic foil, as it tends to sweat. Airtight containers are a good solution as well.
How Long Does Fudge Last in the Fridge?
Although it isn’t the worst thing you will ever do, storing your fudge in the fridge isn’t the wisest decision. The fudge is such that you can safely store it at room temperature, eliminating the need to refrigerate it.
Also, your fudge isn’t supposed to be hard and crumbly, so there’s no need to harden it further after it has obtained the needed consistency during the refrigeration in the making process.
However, you like it better when chilled; you can refrigerate it, but be very careful. You need to put a few layers of wax paper between each piece of fudge so that they won’t solidify together. Also, it is best to refrigerate only the amount of fudge you are about to eat and not the entire batch.
Another thing to keep in mind is to adjust the temperature in the fridge, so it doesn’t harden the fudge too much. However, the rest of your food can go bad because of this.
All in all, I don’t recommend refrigerating your fudge. It is a lot of work to get it done right, and the results aren’t worth the effort.
How to Keep Fudge Fresh?
The key to fresh fudge is its storage. Essentially, you need to protect it from too much heat and light and not expose it to low temperatures unless you want to freeze it.
To keep it fresh at room temperature, either wrap your fudge in aluminum foil, waxed paper, or put it in an airtight container.
When you freeze it, make sure you lock in its natural moisture by packing it in an airtight container, a zip lock baggie, or wrap it in a few layers of plastic foil and place it in a freezing baggie or a plastic container.
As you can see, you do not need to refrigerate fudge in order to keep it fresh, but you need to keep it out of exposure to elements. Your fudge can stay fresh for a long time if you just follow the proper steps for storing.
Does Fudge Go Bad in the Heat?
Fudge is safe at room temperature for one to two weeks. However, if it experiences variations in temperature during that time, it will start changing mainly if the temperature goes up abruptly.
It will develop a slimy outer texture, and the dairy products (butter and milk) used in the fudge will alter its internal structure. This means that it will start going bad, even though its standard shelf life hasn’t passed.
Now, if your fudge is adequately wrapped and stored, the temperature increase won’t have such a strong effect, as the fudge won’t be exposed to air. However, abrupt temperature fluctuations never go unnoticed with fudge.
How to Tell If Fudge Has Gone Bad?
The first signs that your fudge is about to go bad are the slimy surface and the different smell. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad smell, but it will be different from the fudge’s usual chocolaty and milky smell. This aroma is best described as slightly tangy, like when the milk starts to go bad but more discrete.
Does Fudge Melt in Hot Weather?
Considering that its melting temperature is 240 °F, i.e., 115° C, the fudge will soften in hot weather, but it won’t melt. Therefore, you should not worry about your fudge melting due to heat, but make sure that you store it in your fridge when the temperatures are quite high.