What Is the Shelf Life of Sun-Dried Tomatoes?

Sun-dried tomatoes come dehydrated, oil-packed and powdered, each with a different shelf life. Expiration and packing dates on the label give you the best indication of the shelf life of unopened sun-dried tomatoes. However, proper storage after you open them can keep the tomatoes fresh for up to 12 months.

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What Sun-Drying Entails

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Although sun-dried tomatoes evoke images of tomatoes laid out on wood tables drying in sunlight, the artisinal approach isn't efficient for commercial purveyors. Sun-dried tomatoes you find in the store are harvested at their peak ripeness and dried with salt, wood-generated heat or dehydrators. All drying methods reduce the sugar content and concentrate the essence of the tomato into a piquant, tart product. They are either packaged and sold whole and in slices, or ground into a powder that gives soups and sauces an extra kick of tomato flavor without adding volume.

Shelf Life: Whole or Sliced Tomatoes in Oil

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An unopened jar of whole or sliced tomatoes, preserved in olive oil, lasts 12 months from the time of packaging. Keep tightly lidded, opened jars refrigerated for anywhere from 6 to 12 months from their package date before discarding them. Keep the tomatoes fully covered in oil for maximum shelf life. Throw away any with a foul odor or discoloration.

Shelf Life: Dry Whole or Sliced Tomatoes and Powder

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Unopened cellophane bags of dried tomatoes last up to 9 months in the refrigerator and jarred and powdered dried tomatoes last up to 24 months in the refrigerator. Freezing unopened packages extends their shelf life by several months. Opened sun-dried tomatoes and powder last up to 6 months in the refrigerator. Never consume sun-dried tomatoes that appear rancid or smell bad.

Storage

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Proper storage maximizes the shelf life of sun-dried tomatoes. Always store sun-dried tomatoes and powder in the refrigerator. Sun-dried tomato powder normally gets packaged at temperatures below freezing. In air-tight packaging, the product warms to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet to preserve flavor and freshness, store it below 40 F with less than 65 percent humidity. Never keep opened sun-dried tomato packages near foods with strong odors, such as cheeses or garlic, because these odors can alter the natural flavor of the tomatoes.