Fudge is one of the most delicious treat options known to mankind, and making homemade fudge isn't hard at all. Once you know how to store fudge, you will want to make this sweet delicacy more often.
The only problem is that fudge tastes so good it is unlikely to last more than a few days anyway! Regardless of that, it's still worth knowing the shelf life of fudge and how long fudge will stay good.
My favorite kind is chocolate cherry - with only 4 ingredients it's quick and easy to make and it also makes a nice gift at Christmas wrapped in cellophane and decorated with green, red, and white ribbons. I have to make a double batch though, so there is some left for me too!
What is Fudge?
Fudge is a type of candy that can be chewy although it's usually soft. Butter, sugar, and cream or milk are typical fudge ingredients, although there are many ways of making it.
The high sugar content of fudge makes it especially filling, so one or two cubes are usually enough. Fudge can be enjoyed as it is or added to recipes like sundaes or cheesecakes, either included in the recipe or sprinkled on top as a garnish.
Although it's not certain how and where fudge originated, it goes back to 1886 or even earlier. One story is that a batch of caramel got messed up and the cook exclaimed, "fudge!" and that's how this sweet confection was born. That might or not be how this candy store favorite was conceived.
Fudge comes in all kinds of flavors and can have any additions to make it even more delicious. Nuts, fruit, caramel, and chocolate are popular additions. Variations include white chocolate fudge, Snickers fudge, and banana fudge. Once you have the basic recipe for fudge down pat, you can experiment with all the different ingredients.
The usual preparation method is heating the ingredients to around 240°F, before letting the fudge cool slightly and then beating it until smooth and creamy. It is then left to set and then cut into chunks of deliciousness!
Now it goes without saying fudge isn't the healthiest food, since it's mainly comprised of butter, sugar, and cream, but a little square of it every now and again should be fine and it's certainly a mood-boosting treat! And there is actually a tiny bit of manganese in fudge so it's not all sinful.
Looking for ideas on how to use it? One great option is to try a little homemade fudge shaved and sprinkled over the cream on your next mug of hot chocolate! Or add chopped fudge to your next bowl of ice cream to make it extra irresistible.
How to Store Fudge
You might assume fresh fudge has a very short shelf-life because it's dairy-rich, but actually, it stays good for longer than you might expect, as long as you store your homemade fudge the right way. If you have store-bought fudge, check the expiration date on the plastic container or packaging. If you made your own, read on.
- Don't leave any kind of fudge in direct sunlight as it can become mushy and sweaty in warm and hot climates.
- You can keep fudge at room temperature for several days if you plan to eat it relatively soon.
- You can keep leftover fudge in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks or even up to a month.
- You can keep fudge in the freezer if you first wrap it in wax paper or parchment paper, and then add plastic wrap or aluminum foil over that and put it in an airtight container or a freezer bag. This triple-wrapping keeps the fudge fresh and stops it from getting freezer-burned, drying out, or absorbing any other flavors.
Frozen fudge should be good for up to a year, although I'd recommend eating it within 6 months for the freshest taste. It thaws fast on the countertop or you could try it semi-thawed- it's pretty good that way and offers a different texture!
How to Tell if Fudge is Spoiled
Fudge doesn't spoil seemingly overnight like some fruits and vegetables do, but it can still go bad because it's made with dairy products. Excess moisture getting into it makes fudge go bad which is why it should always be kept somewhere cool and dry.
Signs of old fudge that you should throw out include mold, a change in texture or color, a slimy texture, and deep cracks. If it smells or tastes bad, throw it out. You can always make more, perhaps something different like key lime fudge or whatever your favorite fudge recipe happens to be.
There are all kinds of tips you can use when making fudge the traditional way. Make sure you follow the recipe exactly and use a good-quality candy thermometer to accurately measure the temperature of your fudge.
Some people brush oil over the inside of their pot because this stops sugar crystals from sticking to the metal and also helps stop the candy mixture from bubbling over. Never shake the pot or stir the mixture once it reaches the right temperature, large sugar crystals will form in the mixture and this will give your fudge a grainy rather than creamy texture.
You can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator in the container it was frozen in. If you're in a rush, you can also thaw it on the countertop or another dry place but take care if you have pets or children who might spot it there and help themselves! Fudge doesn't take a long time to thaw if it's cut into pieces already, and freezing it is a great option if you have too much fudge.
Sometimes I make layered fudge, so one layer of fudge and then a layer of chocolate on top. Another nice idea is making fudge swirl, so you will swirl melted chocolate with the lighter-colored fudge for a pretty swirl look. If you're making a light-colored fudge, something like white chocolate flavor, you could mix in some berries chopped into smaller pieces or caramel or chocolate chips, or even add edible flowers on top of the fudge which is perfect if you're making the fudge as a gift.
Facts Worth Knowing
- Store-bought and homemade fudge have the same shelf life, so you can use the above tips to keep it fresh and tasty for as long as you need, regardless of what kind of fudge it is.
- You don't need a candy thermometer or fancy tools to make this candy - try this easy 2-ingredient fudge. All you need is a microwave and this method yields the best results if you're not confident of making it the traditional way.
- The word "fudge" has been an expression of annoyance long before fudge candy was first made, which is why it has that name (apparently fudge was born when a batch of caramels went wrong).
Once you know how to store fudge, you might like to experiment with some new recipes for it, such as dark chocolate fudge or another version. This candy keeps for quite a while but its wonderful flavor makes it hard to stop eating!