Medjool dates, also known as "the king of dates," are sweet, crave-worthy and even healthy. They're great for snacking as well as sweetening up nutritious smoothies.

Fresh dates will keep at room temperature for about 45 days. When stored in the refrigerator, they're good for up to 6 months. Frozen dates keep for up to a year.

Dried dates can be refrigerated for a year, or frozen for as long as 5 years.

Store dates in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and label the bag with the date you bought them.

If the dates develop a dusty exterior over time, it simply means the sugars are making their way to the surface. If you feel the need, wipe off the sugar with a damp paper towel or heat the dates over a very low temperature.

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Meg Jernigan

Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.