There’s just under one week left to finish assembling those Easter baskets, people (two weeks if you’re Greek), and this year’s product releases are shaping up to be the finest Easter candy collection we’ve seen in years. As with any food-focused holiday, however, Easter can lead to a glut of candy in the house, a haul far larger what you’re able to gobble up before it all goes stale. Here are some ideas of what to do with it.
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Sure, you might not want to eat your 50th Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg right now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t crave one a few weeks from now, once they disappear from store shelves. That’s why you should consider sticking your stash in the freezer while it’s still fresh. Just like Halloween candy, Easter candy lends itself well to being frozen; simply place the still-wrapped candies in an airtight container and place them as far from the freezer door as possible.
Milk chocolate and white chocolate candy will last a year in the freezer without degrading in quality, as will hard candies and even gummies. An unopened package of marshmallow Peeps, meanwhile, stays fresh for months, even without freezing. Says the Peeps FAQ page, “for optimum freshness, we recommend storing the candy at about 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit with relative humidity of about 45% to 50%.”
When it comes to donating to local food pantries, many of us tend to think only of canned goods. While those items are certainly appreciated, an unopened package of candy is a welcome donation at most facilities, too.
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Donation centers often have lists of accepted items on their website or social media pages, or you can call ahead to double-check that candy is accepted. Best case scenario, you use your sugary bounty to extend the Easter sweets season for others in addition to yourself.
If the sight of a half-eaten chocolate bunny lying unceremoniously in the trash is too much for you to bear, there’s a way to get rid of it without letting it go entirely to waste: compost it.
According to Liam Donnelly, CEO of urban composting company WasteNot Compost, all the leading Easter treats, from Peeps to jelly beans to chocolate, can be added to the standard compost bin. While the products’ packaging might not be compostable (candy’s cardboard inserts are often treated with incompatible substances), the food itself certainly is. As funny as it might be to see sparkly marshmallow Peeps beside your Easter ham scraps in the compost heap, know that they’re going to better use there than in the landfill.
It should be noted that some people don’t mind the taste of stale Peeps—in fact, some people prefer it. Maybe you do, too—it’s worth a try. Before junking the Peeps, go ahead and take a bite of one that’s gone slightly stiff. There’s a whole community of consumers who proactively “age” their Peeps by leaving them in conditions that will rob them of their pillowy softness, insisting they taste way better when firm. Just Born, maker of Peeps since 1953, notes on its FAQ page that “storing unwrapped marshmallow in a warm, dry place generally results in prematurely stale product.” Who’s hungry?