The post-Christmas orphan leaves on the table orphans nougat. The eagerness to shop overcame us and we went overboard with the ration, leaving half-eaten tablets or in intact containers. To make matters worse, supermarkets do not play in our favor.
We see how a month later the offers follow each other, trying free up the stock of unsold nougat. Sweet temptations that invite us from the linear to look at their preferred consumption date.
July, August, September, sometimes October … We rarely see that the Preferred consumption goes beyond the following Christmas. A whirring comes to mind: “Surely it is a trick of the nougat industry so that we do not reuse them from one year to the next.”
We regret to dismantle the theory, although we understand the reluctance, but that is why the nougat is marked with a preferred consumption date and not with expiration date. Two similar terms but they are not the same. Therefore, can we eat nougat from one year to the next without problems?
Is it safe to eat nougat from one year to the next?
Until not so long ago our nougat universe was relatively finite. We were talking about Jijona (soft nougat), Alicante (hard nougat) and the famous guirlache. From there, other versions began to appear, such as the toasted yolk, the legion of chocolate nougat or the fruit ones.
Under that landing hordes of varieties that now populate the supermarkets. Lemons, gin and tonic, orange, coconut, strawberry, cherry, tomato sauce, XO nougats from Dabiz Muñoz …
This also changes the way it is preserved and its ingredients change, altering traditional recipes to benefit other flavors or textures. Because, not all nougats are going to behave the same once they are open.
In any case, if we are a little skeptical and go to the nougat formulation, we will see nuances that will ‘invite’ us to be incredulous with the durability of the nougat. If we talk about the most classic, their main ingredients are honey, sugar and almonds, that is to say, elements with very little water and that, in other times, have been used as preservatives of the first order.
This is the case of honey and sugar, products that do not have an expiration date either and yes preferential consumption. Therefore, we run into water as a great enemy in conservation, but they hardly have any water. What should we worry about?
We spoke with Miguel Angel Lurueña, PhD in Food Science and Technology, as well as author of the blog Petroleum jelly beans so that it brings some light to these nougat that accompany us after Christmas.
“All tend to have a best before date; the expiration date is only on perishables that pose a health risk. In the event that the nougat passes that date, if it is well preserved, it does not pose a health risk, “he explains.
“What happens is that its organoleptic characteristics deteriorate. They generally have a year or so of preferred consumption. If we take it after that date, maybe the almonds are rancid or, if it has a wafer, it is soft or moist, “he says.
Is it advisable to consume nougats with the expired best before date?
“Nougat are products that are not recommended for regular consumption“He warns. It refers to the amount of sugars and fats they contain, which is why he also recommends alternatives for consumption.
“If we have already opened it, the best would be consume it as soon as possible and, if there is nougat left, make use recipes such as desserts or to sweeten yogurts, for example, “he advises.
“Nothing should happen to consume nougat with the best before date expired. It is advisable to respect this date but, although it is not as demanding as the expiration date, the taste or characteristics of the tablet may be affected “, he clarifies.
Regarding the myth that companies set preferential consumption dates so that they can sell nougat in the following campaign, Lurueña does not believe that there is any ‘black hand’ on this. “The usual thing is to do useful life studies in which how the product deteriorates over time is measured. It is normal and what should be done, putting that date with objective data, “he says.
“Microbiological, sensory, physicochemical analyzes are made and what comes out of there is the guarantee of preferential consumption and when a nougat begins to deteriorate,” he explains. In any case, “the nougat they last a long time because they have very little water content“, qualifies.
How to keep the nougat that is left over
Closed or open? In the fridge, in the freezer or at room temperature? … There are many dilemmas that plague us at the prospect of post-festive nougat. We can take it for granted that a lousy idea will be to keep them on the dessert tray in which they have been exposed for two weeks.
Beyond that, what do we do with it? “Best in a cool, dry place, away from light and from heat sources, “he clarifies.” In the refrigerator, the sugars crystallize and the flourishing of sugars and fats appears. It is not bad, but it gives a bad appearance and worsens the texture, so it is not necessary to put it in the refrigerator “, adds.”If it’s closed, keep it closed; if it is open, close it as tightly as possible “, he concludes.
What do we do with the freezer? It is not a bad option, of course. If we have said that nougat has practically no water, its texture you will not suffer as much from the inclemencies of the freezer as it happens to meat, fish or vegetables.
In addition, it would slow down the rancidity process of nuts, for example, since they do not melt in the same way as at room temperature if we are talking about almond nougats. If we are going to use them in other desserts where the texture of the nougat will matter less to us, it is a good alternative.
In this case, it must also be explained that a soft nougat is not the same as a hard nougat. The soft one, having already minced a good part of its almond, lasts in better conditions longer because it does not soften and it loses its texture, something that will happen to hard nougat.
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