If you rank all of the different types of snack foods, crackers are certainly going to come out towards the top. There’s so many types to choose from: saltine crackers, keto crackers, homemade crackers, oyster crackers, the list goes on!
While you can use any type of cracker in multiple ways, the wide selection of cracker types makes it even easier to find the perfect cracker for every occasion. They can be sweet, salty, or even completely plain. So, whether you want to top it with cheese, hummus, peanut butter or even melted chocolate, there’s always a perfect cracker to choose from!
However, the drawback of crackers is that they often go stale far too quickly. Particularly if you buy a large bulk package. While you can keep them unopened for quite a while, once open you can soon be left with a bunch of stale crackers.
So what can you do to make them last longer? Can you freeze crackers? It’s not the best idea. In this article I’ll explain why, as well as the best way to store crackers for the long term.
- 1 Can You Freeze Crackers?
- 2 Why You Can’t Freeze Crackers
- 3 What’s The Best Way to Store Crackers?
- 4 Related Questions
Can You Freeze Crackers?
No, generally speaking, you shouldn’t freeze crackers as they don’t freeze well.
When they’re frozen, ice crystals can form in the crackers and they will become soggy and soft after they’re defrosted.
Some people have tried freezing crackers – particularly saltine crackers – and had good results. However, to be safe, there are many other ways that you can store them that aren’t in the freezer that can help to keep your crackers fresh.
Why You Can’t Freeze Crackers
Crackers are so great because of their light, crisp, and crunchy texture. This is also why stale crackers are so bad, because they turn dense and crumbly – yuck!
With most foods, storing them in the freezer is a great way to preserve them and keep them at their best for a long period of time. However, that’s not the case with crackers. If you freeze crackers it’s likely that they’ll become soggy once taken out of the freezer and defrosted. And this is because of the salt and structure of the cracker.
The salt and structure are important factors because they don’t go well with each other when kept in a cold environment. Since salt attracts and absorbs atmospheric water, it can negatively impact the cracker.
So, when you freeze a cracker, ice crystals will form inside due to the salt attracting the atmospheric moisture. Then, when you defrost crackers, the water will sit on the surface of and not evaporate, making the cracker soft or even soggy.
Also, since crackers are very aerated and fragile, the air and/or moisture can make them either stale and/or soggy. So, this is how the structure and salt can negatively impact each other in the case of freezing crackers.
There are some other ways that storing crackers in the freezer can harm them as well. Since the temperature of a freezer can slightly fluctuate – particularly if the door is opened and closed frequently – then the crackers may continuously that and freeze slightly, which also can have a negative impact on the crackers.
Lastly, freezer burn is a common culprit for damaged foods that are stored in the freezer. And this can happen if they aren’t stored properly and the air is allowed into the container.
What If You Want To Freeze Them Anyway?
If you’re feeling bold and are determined to freeze your crackers, at least make sure that they’re completely sealed. You can do this by tightly wrapping them in plastic wrap and then putting them in an airtight freezer-safe container. The lower the salt content, the better the chance they will still be in good condition when they are defrosted.
What’s The Best Way to Store Crackers?
Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to avoid freezing your crackers! The good news is that there are ways to keep them fresh without freezing. Here are the best ways to store crackers to keep them from getting stale.
As I already mentioned, crackers can stay good for a long time if you keep them in their original packaging and unopened. They can last nearly indefinitely in this state. You’ll notice that pretty much every brand of cracker uses nearly identical packaging – airtight plastic sleeves in a cardboard box or molded plastic.
The airtight sleeves protect the crackers from air, moisture and bacteria. The box or prevents the crackers from being crushed, which is important since they can be quite fragile. If you’ve already opened the sleeve you can use a food clip or rubber band to seal it. While this isn’t a perfect solution, by keeping the opened sleeve tightly sealed and in the cardboard/plastic box, you can prevent the crackers from getting crushed or misplaced.
So, keeping them in the original packaging is a great and super convenient way to store your crackers. You just need to make sure that your pantry is free from the usual suspects (pests like rodents, weevils, beetles, etc.) because they always seem to find a way into your food if they are already in your house.
If you’ve already opened the crackers, the countdown has begun before they lose their light, crispy texture. A good, simple method to help keep them fresh and prevent them from becoming stale is to store them in a Ziploc bag.
Ziploc bags are great because you’re bound to probably have them already lying around your kitchen and they’re also convenient for pre-portioning the crackers. So, if you happen to be in a hurry and want to take some crackers along with you, it’s very easy to grab one or two Ziploc bags of crackers.
Additionally, these bags are also great to prevent pests from getting in, as well as keeping out any unwanted odors.
The drawback of using Ziploc bags is that the crackers will be quite vulnerable to getting smashed. That’s because there isn’t a rigid structure protecting them like when they’re stored in their original packaging.
My favorite method of storing an opened package of crackers is in an airtight container. An airtight container doesn’t just keep out air and pests. It can also protect the crackers from getting squished.
You can use regular airtight containers like Tupperware, metal tins, or glass jars. You can even buy special cracker saver containers that come in various shapes that can perfectly fit a sleeve of crackers.
Other Storage Methods
There are a few other methods that you can try as well that involve reducing the excess moisture in the air, which are storing your crackers with a slice of bread inside the container. Or, you can also place a silica gel packet as well. However, if you use a silica gel packet, you need to be sure that the contents of the packet don’t leak. They should not be ingested as it’s poisonous. However, used safely it’s effective in reducing the amount of moisture.
Alternatively, you can also reduce the amount of moisture in an entire cupboard. This nifty trick involved placing a small, open container of salt or baking soda inside the cupboard. Since these ingredients absorb moisture (as I previously mentioned) they can absorb the moisture from the air inside the cupboard, helping to keep the crackers fresh.
How Long Do Crackers Last?
How long crackers last largely depend on the condition that you store them in. If you store them in a warm, humid place, they will not last long at all. However, if you keep them in a cool, dry place then they can last for quite a long time.
Another big factor is if you’ve opened them or not. Unopened, crackers can last nearly indefinitely. You should keep in mind the expiration date, but crackers are safe to eat past the expiry date as long as they are free from mold or haven’t gone rancid. So, make sure to look at them and smell them before eating expired crackers.
When crackers are opened, however, most crackers will last for only about two to four weeks, if stored properly, before becoming stale.
Can You Store Crackers in the Fridge?
No, you should avoid storing crackers in the fridge. Except for a hot, humid place, a fridge is the worse place to store them.
This is because of the moisture in the fridge. While it may be cool, the moisture is a cracker’s worst enemy and can ruin them.
Can You Re-Crisp Crackers?
Yup! You can certainly re-crisp crackers to bring back their crunch. But, it also depends on the type of cracker as it works better for some than others. To do it, you simply place the crackers in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake them in the oven at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-25 minutes.