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Do sprinkles and other decorations expire?

I'm in the midst of planning all my Christmas cookie baking and I'm not sure if I can use colored sugar, sprinkles, and other decorations that I have left over from last year. I can't find any expiration dates but I'd feel bad if I got people sick with old sprinkles. The main reason I don't want to rebuy everything is that I have many different shapes and colors that I don't want to spend more money on. Isn't all just sugar?

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  1. Absolutely use them. I went a little crazy when my son started kindergarten and bought a huge assortment of sprinkles and jimmies, with visions of birthday cupcakes and Christmas cookies in my head. I've been using them ever since -- he just entered highschool. I plan to use them again this year, including the now "illegal" tiny silver balls. Maybe I'll have used up the collection by the time he graduates...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Glencora

      You must have purchased a lot to be able to use them for so long! Thanks for letting me know. They charge an arm and a leg for some of those cuter sprinkles.

    2. I don't think so. We used to use stuff year after year after year...

      3 Replies
        1. re: scuzzo

          Those colored sprinkles do have oil in them and yes they do go rancid.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            A rancid item may taste bad, but it isn't dangerous. So go ahead and taste some of the sprinkles. If they taste ok, use them.
            paulj

        2. They'd better NOT! I/ve been using the same bottle of gold balls for 5 years now and they still taste just fine and nobody seems to be suffering. How come the silver ones are illegal? what did I miss?

          1 Reply
          1. re: LJS

            The silver balls are not edible and say so...in tiny fine print. I don't think many people noticed, especially as they sold it along with sprinkles as cake/cookie decorating supplies. I don't think they're illegal everywhere, though.

          2. From the nasty way they taste, "sprinkles" all expire before they are even packaged.
            Once you use up what you have, maybe devise some 'real food' sprinkles. You might come up with some outstanding flavor combos that become family traditions!

            Crushed anise seed
            crushed coffee beans
            crushed hard candies of various colors
            chopped candied flower buds
            Poppy seed
            Sesame seed
            chopped chocolate or mini morsels
            chopped nuts
            chopped candied peels and ginger

            If you really need color(making cookies for kids) use colored sparkling sugar.

            2 Replies
            1. re: toodie jane

              Thanks for the great ideas and they'll come in handy at other times of the year. I generally only use the sparkling sugars and sprinkles for Christmas (since there are some really cute designs like snowflakes, trees, gingerbread people, etc.)

              1. re: toodie jane

                Candied pistachios are great (like Jordan almonds) ... and finely chopped pistachios are gorgeous on cookies (I did this last year). I've also made poppy cookies with poppy seeds ... I think I put the candied pistachios in the middle.

                That nasty taste could also mean they are deathless ;) But I agree, I try to stay away from the weird stuff. I do have a collection of green sprinkles from a St Patrick's bakefest ...

              2. Unless they are discolored, sticking together or turning to powder, they are fine to use. I have some that are 2-3 year old and they are fine.