Store dried fruit in a cool, dry place (like a cupboard or closet) in an air-tight container.
At least twelve months.
When using medjool dates as an ingredient, be sure to pit them first.
Dried fruit can be used in trail mix, served at parties, or simply enjoyed as-is. However it also makes a great ingredient in baked goods, sauces, braised dishes and desserts. Try adding finely chopped dried fruit to scones, soda bread, cookies, muffins, homemade granola, granola bars and more.
Adding dried fruit to braising dishes (dates are sometimes used in North African tajines) just before the slow-braise will rehydrate it and infuse its flavors into the sauce. Some varieties will also break down during the braising process.
Savory date applications include couscous (also sometimes served sweetened) and chicken or squab dishes.
Dates are often stuffed (either by piping filling into the round hole left by the pitting process or by slicing them in half, filling, and then re-sandwiching the two halves together). Once stuffed, they can be served raw (sometimes dipped in coconut or chocolate) or battered and fried. Common stuffing ingredients include nuts (particularly blanched almonds or pistachios), soft cheeses (ricotta, mascarpone, or cream cheese), almond paste or marzipan, and marmalade.
Dates can also be used to make ice cream, jam, or nougat, blended with milk and ice cream to make a classic California date shake, or steeped in liqueur and served with a creamy dairy ingredient (mascarpone, cream, crème fraiche or ice cream) for a simple but satisfying dessert.