Fudge is one of those desserts you either love or hate. If you’ve ever had fudge, you know how hard it is to make. It takes patience, skill and lots of sugar.
And, when you’re done making it, you usually end up with a giant pile of gooey goodness that either needs to be eaten immediately or an alternative way to keep it.
What happens if you want to store some fudge? Do you just throw it away? Or can you freeze it? Well, yes, you can certainly freeze fudge. However, there are a few things you’ll need to consider.
First off, you’ll need to figure out exactly what type of fudge you’re making. There are many different types of fudge.
Some are thick, others are thin. Some are smooth, while others are grainy. Some contain nuts, while others do not. Some are creamy, chunky, cooked, raw, baked or boiled.
Some are soft, while others are firm. Some are coated with powdered sugar, while others are not, etc., etc.
Before we dive into the science behind fudge shelf life, let’s start off by saying that there isn’t much science involved here at all.
Fudge is basically just sugar mixed with milk and butter. Some recipes call for eggs, vanilla extract, and sometimes even nuts. In terms of ingredients, there really aren’t too many variables.
The main thing to consider is how long those ingredients take to dissolve once combined. Sugar takes about 15 minutes to fully dissolve, while butter is much quicker. Milk takes around 30 minutes.
But what happens if you wait too long? Well, the fat molecules in the butter begin to separate from each other. This creates pockets of air within the mixture, which can lead to mold growth.
If this happens after a few days the fudge starts to look gross, and smells worse. You might think you could salvage it by cutting away the moldy parts, but you’d be wasting a lot of good stuff.
However, if you get it right, fudge can last a long time. Most people assume that fudge expires somewhere around 2 weeks after making it. But depending on how well you store it, fudge can last anywhere from 3 months to a full year.
Here’s why – temperature
If you keep your fudge in a cool place, such as a refrigerator or freezer it will last longer. While refrigeration slows down the process of sugar dissolving, it also helps prevent bacterial growth.
For example, if you store your fudge in a cupboard, it won’t last nearly as long because it gets warm. As temperatures rise, the sugars inside become less stable and break apart faster.
Cooked, Raw Fudge
When you freeze fudge, it doesn’t change much. There are a few exceptions, such as chocolate chips, where the texture changes somewhat.
But most types of fudge won’t really change much once you put it into the freezer. However, there are several factors that could affect how well your fudge freezes.
First, the type of sugar used will play a role. Some sugars contain stabilizers that help prevent crystallization during storage. This is important because if the fudge starts to crystallize, it won’t melt smoothly when heated.
In addition, the amount of moisture in the fudge will also have an effect. The more water present, the harder it is to freeze.
Fudge With Condensed Milk
Fudge made with condensed milk is hard to keep because it melts quickly but here’s a trick that works every time.
First, freeze fudge made with condensed sugar with three things.
1. Double wrap the fudge in plastic wrap or cling wrap.
2. Wrap the fudge pieces in foil, and last, put them into a large freezer zip-top bag.
3. Put the whole thing into the fridge overnight.
4. When you’re ready to eat, simply let the fudge sit out for 15 minutes.
To reduce the chance of freezer burns (or drying out), you’ll want to make sure your fudge is stored in an airtight, freezer safe container or plastic bag.
Be sure to label the contents clearly. If possible, keep the fudge away from foods that will steal or contribute flavors to your fudge.
You can use wax paper to prevent moisture loss while storing your fudge.
As already mentioned it’s best to wrap the fudge in waxed paper and place it in an airtight container or plastic bag. This will help protect the fudge from absorbing too much moisture.
If you don’t, you won’t know how much you need for each portion. Once you’ve separated the pieces, you can wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil.
The next time you feel like making fudge, you can take out one or more of the frozen blocks based on how many servings you need.
However, if you are sure that you will need the entire batch at once, you can just throw everything into a single container and place it in the freezer.
If you plan on keeping your fudge longer than one month, it’s best to refrigerate it. Store it in the refrigerator for up to three months. Don’t let it sit around for long periods of time.
Freezing your fudge will keep your fudge frozen solid. If you’re planning to make fudge ahead of time, you’ll want to thaw it properly before eating — otherwise, you risk having a mouthful of hard ice cold fudge.
To defrost fudge, follow these steps:
1. Cut pieces of fudge into bite-sized pieces.
2. Place each piece into a microwave-safe bowl.
3. Microwave on high power for 30 seconds.
4. Remove the bowl from the microwave. Let stand for 5 minutes.
5. Repeat step 3 twice more.
6. Allow the fudge to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
7. Serve immediately.
Alternately allow the fridge to defrost overnight.
Freezing fudge is a great way of keeping it when you’ve made a big batch, follow the tips above and you can be indulging in your favorite sweet treat whenever you desire.