Bagels are delicious, there are very few people around that’ll argue against that. So delicious, in fact, that no matter if they’re store-bought or freshly baked, we can sometimes buy a few more than we really need. It’s our motto that a home without copious amounts of bagels isn’t really a home at all. But that presents another problem. How long do bagels last? And what do you need to do to keep them fresh so you can enjoy them whenever you like?
Well, the answer to those questions depends on how long you need to keep your bagels fresh. Thankfully, we’ve got plenty of tips about that, and you can find them all in today’s post! So if you want to keep them fresh for a few days, a week, or for many months, you’ll find all the help you need below!
Eating Them Within 2-4 Days
If you’ve been here for a while, then you’re probably expecting us to tell you to put your bagels in the refrigerator, because when storing for a short amount of time, that’s our go-to method for keeping things fresh. Today, though, we’re not going to talk about the fridge at all (if we can help it)! It’s the single worst place you can put your bagels, and here’s why.
Yes, fridges help food stay fresher for longer because of the low temperature inside. But with that low temperature comes low humidity, and these conditions are just terrible for bagels. Yes, they’ll stay fresh, but they’ll dry out so quickly that it isn’t worth keeping them in the fridge. So, how should you store them?
If eating within 2-4 days, then bagels will last perfectly by simply placing them inside a paper bag. The paper bag is important! You can’t substitute for a plastic bag, because the humidity inside a plastic bag at room temperature is perfect for spoiling food. Your bagels will go bad quickly inside plastic. But with a paper bag, the humidity is perfect. It’s high enough to keep the moisture in the bagels, but not so high as to become dangerous for bacteria levels.
Leaving bagels in a paper bag at room temperature is perfect if you plan to eat them in 2-4 days. They’ll stay fresh and delicious! But what if you’re storing for longer?
Eating Them Within A Week
If your bagels are store-bought, then you don’t need to worry about consuming them within a week. They’ll be just as delicious on day 7 as they were on day 1, so long as they haven’t gone past their expiry date. Just leave them in the packaging they came in, and store them at room temperature to keep them delicious.
But what if you’ve bought fresh bagels? How long do bagels last using the paper bag method we talked about above? Well, they will be safe to eat within a week if stored in paper bags at room temperature. Safe to eat, not necessarily perfect to eat. That’s because, after around 4-5 days in the paper bag, bagels can start to dry out. But don’t worry, because you can still enjoy them using a simple trick.
Obviously, at this point, you’re going to have to work with the older bagel rather than against it, and that means you’ll need to toast it a little to bring it back to life. But don’t reach for your toaster! It’s much better to toast them in the oven for this method.
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your bagel halves on a baking tray and spritz them a little with water. A few dashes are all you need. You’re bringing back a little moisture, not giving your bagels a bath. Then place them in the oven. What you’re looking for is a crust again, like the bagels first had when you bought them or made them fresh, and for them to be soft and warm in the middle. The heat and the few splashes of water work together brilliantly to recreate this.
Yes, you’ll be able to tell that the bagel isn’t completely fresh, but it’ll still be delicious! If you’re really put off by the idea of leaving your fresh bagels out for a week, then we suppose you could place them in the refrigerator to keep them fresher for longer. Use the water-oven-bagel-reviving method above to help them with the drying out issue though and don’t say we didn’t warn you if you find the revival isn’t so great after being stored in the fridge…
Keeping Them Fresh For Months!
If the idea of a potentially dry bagel is enough to bring tears to your eyes, then here’s an alternative method. You can use this if you plan to eat your bagels within a week, too, if you want your bagels to be as fresh as possible, but you can also use it to keep bagels fresh for months. We’re talking, of course, about the freezer. The trick here is to remember that the quicker you freeze them after buying or making them, the fresher they’ll be when you use them again!
So, if you’re worried that your fresh bagels will be dry by the time you eat them, then throw them straight into the freezer. Use freezer bags or freezer-safe storage containers for best results. It’s also a good idea to halve your bagels before freezing because you can take your bagel right out of the freezer, and place them straight into the toaster and they’ll taste just like they were baked fresh that morning by the time they’re done.
If you think you won’t be able to consume your bagels within a few days, then the freezer is a great option – just remember to freeze them when you get home because it’ll be even fresher when you actually get round to eating them!
Once in the freezer, you can store bagels safely for up to 12 months, and they’ll taste fresh and delicious when you next use them!
What To Do And What Not To Do: A Roundup Of Our Tips
Before we leave you, we thought we’d give you a quick roundup of our tips today explaining what to do and what not to do when storing your bagels for maximum freshness:
- ALWAYS use paper bags when storing on the counter
- ALWAYS revive dry bagels using your oven and a spritz of water
- ALWAYS act fast if freezing bagels – the quicker you freeze them, the fresher they’ll taste
- NEVER use plastic bags when storing bagels (and only ever use the fridge if you must)
- NEVER eat store-bought bagels past the expiry date
And that’s it. That’s all you need to know about storing bagels for maximum freshness. Hopefully, today’s post has answered ‘how long do bagels last’ and you now know the best tips and tricks to keep them fresher for longer!