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How to store your edibles for optimal safety and freshness

October 18, 2019
Leafly store cannabis edibles fresh locked
Jesse Milns/Leafly

Whether you’ve brought home a stash of CBD foodstuffs or picked up some THC edibles (10 mg per serving, as per the legal limits), don’t get burned by letting these foods go stale and inedible before consuming them all.

Or worse, having them gobbled down by unsuspecting guests—or even worse: by children or pets.

For all your cannabis goodies, remember three things: lock, label, colour: Store in lockable containers, clearly label the contents, and, when making your own recipes, colour them differently than non-cannabis foods (ideally green, because: weed).

Keeping candies fresh

Since sugar acts as a natural preservative, cannabis candies will last a while, but air and temperature can make their texture unappealing. Cool and dry is best, but not all candies store the same:

Sweets like hard candies and caramels absorb moisture, making them soften and stick together over time (e.g. ribbon candy in a bowl). Keep these in a locked, labeled, airtight container on a cool spot in your pantry. Anything soft, like caramels, should be individually wrapped if they aren’t already, before storing in said locked container. Hard candies will keep up to one year; anything softer, six to nine months.

Jellied candies and fudge will lose moisture and freshness quickly in the open air. Keep leftovers tightly wrapped before labeling and locking away, six to nine months.

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Storing chocolate

Like other candy, chocolate is sensitive to humidity and temperature. Wrap leftovers in foil and store in a cool, dark place—that locked, labeled box on the top pantry shelf is ideal. Dark chocolate lasts up to one year; milk and white chocolate eight to 10 months.

You can refrigerate or freeze chocolate to help it last an extra two to four months, but it will develop a “sugar bloom”—a harmless white film caused by absorbing moisture from the fridge. Chocolate will also absorb flavours from surrounding foods in the fridge, but because your cannabis chocolate is locked in its own labeled, airtight container, you won’t have this problem.

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Condiments

The Cannabis Act only allows retailers to sell shelf-stable edibles, ruling out most infused condiments, but if you choose to make your own, know that most are only good for a few months in the fridge. Consider adding “date made” to your labelled cannabis condiments before locking away in a fridge-safe container. Here’s the storage life for some commonly used condiments, once opened:

Pickles: Two weeks
Chutneys, mayonnaise, and salad dressings: Two months
Barbecue sauce: Four months
Ketchup, jams, and jellies: Six months
Peanut butter: Six to nine months (refrigerated; two to three months in the pantry)
Mustards: 12 months

Mould in the jar? Most likely cross-contamination. Always use a clean knife or spoon every time you dip in.

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Snacks and baked goods

As with candies, air is not your friend when it comes to anything baked. Locked, labeled, and airtight will keep things fresh. Here’s a list of snacks, ranked by freshness level:

Crackers and chips: Once opened, two weeks in the pantry
Muffins: three days in the pantry; one week in the fridge; two months in the freezer
Cakes: four days in the pantry; one week in the fridge; three months in the freezer
Breads: four days in the pantry; two weeks in the fridge; three months in the freezer
Brownies: two weeks in the pantry; one month in the fridge; three months in the freezer

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Storing drinks

Shelf-stable drinks left unopened will last six to nine months in a cool location, whether in the pantry or the fridge. However, anything leaking, bulging, rusting or badly dented should be tossed.

Teas keep really well; when locked away in an airtight, labeled container away from heat, they’ll keep for up to two years.

Oils

All oils are light and heat-sensitive, and the same storage rules apply to cananbis-infused oils. Keep them locked and labeled in a dark place, away from any heat source.

Stored properly, you can expect your oil to last six months to a year. But if it’s tasting bitter, this means the oil is turning rancid (and your cannabis compounds are likely breaking down), so use it up quickly or throw it away.

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Tinctures

Made from cannabis that’s been allowed to sit in alcohol or vinegar long enough to extract its properties (not unlike vanilla for baking), tinctures might be the best bang for your edible buck: locked away in a cool, dry place, they can last for years.

But buyer beware: glycerin added to the product will cause it to degrade faster.

Colleen Fisher Tully's Bio Image

Colleen Fisher Tully

Colleen Fisher Tully is a freelance writer and editor with recent work in Clean Eating, Today's Parent, The Walrus and Local Love. She posts random thoughts on Twitter @colleenftully

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