In recent months, I’ve been asked my friends and family how to make fudge, how long fudge is good for, and how to store fudge. And because we have super hot and muggy summers here in SC, they also often asked me, “Can you freeze fudge?” as well as, “Does fudge need to be refrigerated?”
So, I decided to write a post covering everything you need to know. Let’s get started, shall we?
CAN YOU FREEZE FUDGE?
Yes, you can freeze fudge to extend its shelf life. However, the consistency and texture after thawing may vary slightly depending on how the fudge was frozen and the ingredients in the fudge. Most fudge can be successfully frozen up to 3 months although some may retain its quality for up to one year.
WHAT IS FUDGE?
Fudge is a confection usually made from chocolate. It is not baked. Fudge contains sugar, butter, milk, and chocolate. The ingredients are heated in a pan to 240° F, whipped, and then cooled.
WHAT DOES FUDGE TASTE LIKE?
Good fudge tastes rich, indulgent, velvety, smooth, and creamy. Poorly made fudge is grainy and has an unpleasant texture.
I have never been able to eat a lot of fudge at once. Actually, most people can’t. So it’s necessary to know how to properly store your fudge in your cost-effective kitchen.
DOES FUDGE NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED?
No, fudge doesn’t need to be refrigerated but it can help extend its shelf life.
HOW LONG IS FUDGE GOOD FOR?
The length of time your fudge keeps before going bad depends on whether it was store-bought with preservatives or homemade without preservatives. Shelf life also depends on what added ingredients it contains (think nuts), and how it is stored.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE FUDGE?
There is no one “best” way to store fudge. As I said previously, the shelf life of your fudge depends on (1) whether it has preservatives or not, and (2) whether it has added ingredients like nuts.
Let’s take a look at how to store fudge at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer.
HOW TO STORE FUDGE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
Whether it is store-bought or homemade, fudge can be stored at room temperature.
It needs to be stored in an airtight container away from heat and direct sunlight. Think pantry, not counter.
Left unrefrigerated and at room temperature, homemade fudge will last 7 to 14 days (depending on ingredients) if stored in a cool, dry location in an airtight container.
For store-bought fudge, you should always look at the manufacturer’s best by date and storage recommendations first.
Many times, store-bought fudge will last longer due to preservatives.
HOW TO STORE FUDGE IN THE REFRIGERATOR
Don’t worry. You can put your homemade fudge in the fridge.
When storing fudge in the refrigerator, make sure you store it in an airtight container to prevent the fudge from drying out and absorbing unpleasant odors. If properly stored, most fudge will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator.
If you have store-bought fudge, you can most probably store it in the fridge, but again, always read the storage suggestions on the manufacturer’s product first.
HOW TO FREEZE FUDGE
Fudge should always be frozen in an airtight, freezer-safe container to prevent moisture loss. However, double wrapping your fudge may extend the quality of your frozen fudge.
To double wrap your fudge, first wrap the fudge in plastic wrap carefully making sure there is no air caught between the plastic wrap and fudge.
You can then wrap your fudge in aluminum foil, place it in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or even put the plastic-wrapped fudge in an airtight container.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO STORE HOMEMADE FUDGE?
If storing fudge on the counter, remember to keep it away from light and heat.
For the refrigerator, be sure to store in an airtight container so it doesn’t pick up odors from the fridge.
In the freezer, be sure to double-wrap to ensure your fudge retains its’ quality for as long as possible.
HOW LONG DOES FUDGE LAST IN THE FREEZER?
The length of time your fudge lasts in the freezer depends on the ingredients in the fudge and how well the fudge is wrapped.
Most fudge will retain its quality for three months up to a year.
CAN YOU FREEZE FUDGE WITH CONDENSED MILK?
Yes, you can safely and successfully freeze fudge made with sweetened condensed milk. Follow the same instructions as if you were freezing any other fudge.
CAN YOU FREEZE PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE?
Yes, peanut butter fudge can be frozen.
Freeze it the same way you do regular fudge but be sure to let it cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap.
CAN YOU FREEZE HOT FUDGE?
Yes, you can freeze hot fudge if you follow these instructions.
First, allow the hot fudge to cool completely. Then you can freeze in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag.
Remember, when freezing liquids, you must allow 1” to 2” of headroom in the container as liquids expand when frozen.
Thaw hot fudge in the refrigerator and heat up slowly on the stove (preferably in a double-boiler) or in the microwave in 10 to 15-second increments until the desired consistency is reached.
HOW DO YOU THAW FROZEN FUDGE?
The best way to thaw your frozen fudge is to do so in the refrigerator.
WHAT CAUSES FUDGE NOT TO HARDEN?
Most of the time the reason when homemade fudge doesn’t harden, it is usually because it was hot heated to a high enough temperature before it was cooled.
If your fudge didn’t set (harden), don’t bake it.
Instead, return it to the stove with 1 to 1 ½ cups of water and reheat until your candy thermometer reached 235°-245° F.
WHAT TO DO WITH FUDGE THAT FAILS TO SET UP?
If your fudge didn’t harden even after you placed it back on the stove and reheated to the proper temperature, you can always use it as icing. Trust me, it makes a decadent icing!
CAN OLD FUDGE MAKE YOU SICK?
Plain old fudge probably won’t make you sick even if it is dried out or soggy. However, if you fudge contained other add-ins such as nuts, they could spoil and make you ill.
When it comes to food consumption, you should always err on the side of caution and not consume fudge that had dried out to the point it has deep cracks or if it has liquid pooled on the top of it due to separation.
HOW FAR AHEAD CAN YOU MAKE FUDGE?
How far in advance you can make fudge depends on how you will store the fudge.
Remember, if stored at room temperature, room temperature, the fudge will likely last 7 to 14 days.
If you plan on storing your fudge in the fridge as soon as it is made and cooled, the shelf life is extended by two to three weeks. Don’t forget to store your fudge in an airtight container so that it doesn’t pick up fridge odors.
And finally, if you prepare your fudge and freeze as soon as it has cooled, your fudge could easily last up to 6 months in the freezer if it is double-wrapped and stored in an airtight container.
CAN YOU COOL FUDGE IN THE FREEZER?
Even though many people claim they have quick cooled their fudge in the freezer, I’ve found it is best to NOT cool your fudge in the freezer or refrigerator.
Fudge should be cooled at room temperature to avoid lumpy, grainy fudge due to crystallization.
Want even more fudge ideas? Follow me on Pinterest here. I am always on the lookout for new fudge recipes.
THOUGHTS FROM COST-EFFECTIVE KITCHEN
Reducing food waste is a major component of maintaining a cost-effective kitchen and that includes sweet treats like fudge.
We love to make fudge during the holidays. Did you know fudge makes an excellent gift for your kids’ teachers, your coworkers, friends, and neighbors?
Not only do the recipients love the gift, but the fudge doesn’t take you long to make and it can be made ahead of time to reduce your stress during the holidays.
And it you follow your grocery store’s sale cycle when purchasing the ingredients, it’s extremely cost-effective. It’s a win-win!
Remember, heat and light are fudge’s number one enemy so store your fudge away from light and heat if storing at room temperature.
If storing in the refrigerator and freezer, you want to store it in an air-tight container to avoid it drying out and picking up “off” odors. Double-wrapping will help.
Let me know if you have any questions or need additional information. I am here to help and I’d love to hear from you!