peeps, peeps, peeps
April 2, 2006 9:56 PM   Subscribe

How long before peeps go stale?

I have a friend who likes marshmallow peeps but only when they are stale. I bought a package of peeps that I want to give him as a present but, not being a peep connoisseur myself, have no idea how long I should hold on to them before giving them.

Also, do I need to open the package for staleness or can I just leave it sealed?
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife also likes them stale, so I bought a pack and opened it. Three weeks of air exposure later, they're a bit stiffer, but still not stale enough for her.

I would say you need to leave them (unwrapped) a minimum of two weeks, and more to your taste.
posted by camcgee at 10:01 PM on April 2, 2006

Chewy stale, or crunchy stale? Unwrap them now, one to six months or more depending on taste.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:03 PM on April 2, 2006

Overnight will make them chewy enough for me.
posted by fshgrl at 10:05 PM on April 2, 2006

I don't think there is any one right answer, but as a data point, my wife likes to open them and wait two or three days. (Note this is in a very low-humidity climate.)
posted by blenderfish at 10:09 PM on April 2, 2006

Best answer: Give them to him fresh. He, and only he, knows exactly how stale he likes them.

*bows solemnly as deep gong reverberates*
posted by squirrel at 10:18 PM on April 2, 2006

*bows solemnly as deep gong reverberates*

Either I'm drunk or that was exceedingly funny. Either seems possible.
posted by vaportrail at 10:52 PM on April 2, 2006

Those things will join Twinkies and fruitcake as the only (allegedly) edible remnants of our civilization around once it collapses.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:44 PM on April 2, 2006

I tend to agree with Steven. Try suspending one in the CERN particle accelerator and exposing it a small nuclear explosion. It might stale slightly.
posted by charmston at 12:16 AM on April 3, 2006

I usually like them a week after cutting a hole in the packaging, but this probably depends on the humidity of the air in the room you're "staleing" them in. I agree with letting your friend stale them him/herself.
posted by srah at 3:29 AM on April 3, 2006

Er, zap this if it is too much of a derail, but can someone please enlighten me about why they are better stale to some people? Is it a texture thing, a taste thing, or what?
posted by beth at 5:42 AM on April 3, 2006

I used to work with a guy who liked his Red Vines stale enough to shatter. We tried to get a package of Peeps to that point and had little success. After two months exposed to air, they were firmer, but not to the shattering point by any measure.
posted by plinth at 6:12 AM on April 3, 2006

My wife loves them stale, but thinks something has changed, because they used to get stale much faster. When we've gotten them, we've left the package open for a month or more and they still weren't very stale at all. Which sucks, because I've never experienced stale Peeps (and they're not very good fresh).
posted by Emanuel at 7:53 AM on April 3, 2006

My coworker writes:

To answer Beth about why Peeps are better stale, here is my theory. It's not taste or texture; it's habit. When we were kids, the Easter Bunny left unwrapped Peeps in our baskets. Most people never ate fresh Peeps. They were starting to get stale by the time we got to them in the morning and continued to get stale by the time we finished them.
posted by AJaffe at 11:43 AM on April 3, 2006

Best answer: My friends question my sanity over my love for peeps, so I think I can shed some light on the process of ripening Peeps.

How ripe someone likes their peeps is very much a matter of personal preference. I have found that most connoisseurs like them chewy, with perhaps a crunchy exterior.

The process of ripening a peep is primarily a matter of humidity. At work (very dry radiator heat in a university building), my peeps become shatterable solid in under a month, whereas at home I have peeps that are a year old that are just beginning to show signs of hardening. Note that in both cases I am talking of peeps that are still wrapped in their original packages. It is often possible to soften an overripe peep by putting in a more humid environment. One can not revive a peep that has reached the point in which it can be shattered with a hammer.

I have toyed with speeding up the hardening by both heat and airflow. Heat (halogen light close enough that if the peep were your hand, you would notice a distinct warmth) for 6 hours did not make a real difference. Airflow was much more successful. 3 hours in front of a constantly running air conditioner did wonders to a fresh squishy peep. This process did not create the luscious chewy interior that a lengthier ripening process creates

My unquestioned favorite peeps, are the ones in the chocolate eggs. The chocolate isn't very good, but if you poke a few hole (I use a hot metal skewer) and wait a bit longer than you would normally wait to ripen a package of regular peeps (with just a cut in the package (you wouldn't want to take off all of cellophane as you would get dusty peeps)) you will end up with a divine firm marshmallow peep with a glorious hint of chocolate flavor. Now if only they weren't so expensive ($3 an egg before Easter, $1-2 after).
posted by fief at 11:46 AM on April 3, 2006

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