Basically Candy Melts are at their freshest 18 months after date of production. They are still okay after that but might be harder to melt and are not at their freshest - but still edible.
Here is how you read the 5 digit number in the front of the bag to know their production date: Say your bag has this number "53304" stamped on the front.
The 1st digit "5" is the production number.
The 2nd digit "3" is the produced year - so it's '2003'.
The next 3 digits "304" tell you the Julian Calendar date (or basically, the year's day number, there's 365 days in a year) - in this instance October 31st.
Store in a cool dry place, preferably in an airtight container. Do not refrigerate.
I keep mine in a Rubbermaid storage container -- both bags of Candy Melts and also leftovers (in zip bags). I have printed out the shelf life information and have it taped inside the cover of that box, because I sure can't remember it from one time to the next.
I buy black candy melts every fall, when they are available for vampires and bats, knowing they will be good for the entire year.
Molded candy has essentially the same storage requirements.
I'm not sure why I put it in there. Perhaps because my mother and grandmother store their chocolate chips in the freezer? I leave nuts in there too because I don't want them to go bad.
It sure doesn't last 18 months in my house, so I guess a cupboard or drawer isn't a bad idea.
Thanks for the info!
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