Can you freeze syrup?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you freeze syrup?”, and how to freeze simple syrup?

Can you freeze syrup?

Yes, you can freeze syrup. Be it maple syrup or simple sugar syrup, freezing is a great way to extend its shelf-life. Freeze the syrup in small containers so that the thawed syrup can be used as soon as possible. 

The higher prices of sugar have been associated with soft drink manufacturer’s decisions about increasing their use of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The price of refined sugar increased from 12.4 cents a pound in 1973 to 56 cents a pound in December 1974 due to lower sugar yields, which is associated with the 1974 decision of the Coca-Cola company about replacing 25 percent of sucrose with HFCS-42 Forrestal. Additionally, lower world sugar yields caused the price of refined sugar to rise again from 21 cents a pound in 1979 to 52 cents a pound in 1980, which is associated with the decisions of Coca-Cola and Pepsi about increasing the use rates of HFCS-55 from 25 to 50 percent in 1980, and finally to 100 percent in 1984 (2).

How to freeze the simple syrup?

In a study, the experimental freezing points of the sucrose-aqueous solution at 30, 40, 50 and 60% were -2.9, -4.9, -8.7 and -13.9°C, respectively. It is generally noted that the freezing points were lower with increasing solute concentrations. As shown in their patterns, the freezing points were lower with decreasing molecular weight of the solute at the same solute concentration; in other words with the increase in the molal concentration for the same solute concentration (weight percentage) (1).

Choose the right container 

Choose a good-quality air-tight container with a tight lid for storing simple syrup. Tupperware or glass containers work best for refrigeration. 

Do not use glass containers if you plan to freeze the syrup. The glass can easily break if not tempered. A bottle with a pour spout is your best bet to store simple syrup if you plan to use it for cocktails.

Sterilize your container 

Simply cleaning the container does not equate to sterilizing it and it does not do the job. If you opted for a glass container, sterilize it by rinsing it with boiling water. 

To make it easier, you can just dump the container in the bowl of boiling water and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

To sterilize a plastic container, microwave it for 3 minutes after filling it with water. When sterilizing, take caution to not accidentally burn your skin.

Store the syrup in the fridge 

Refrigerate the syrup after packing it in the container. The cold and dark environment of the fridge is the ideal storage to extend the shelf-life of the syrup.

Syrups may be frozen instead of canned. If freezing, leave 1inch headspace to allow for expansion during freezing. Frozen syrup will maintain high quality if used within one year of freezing. Syrups stored in the freezer should be kept in the refrigerator once opened (3).

Use 1:1 hot process syrup within a month 

The more sugar added to the syrup, the higher is the shelf-life of the syrup. Simple syrup with a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water won’t last for more than 4 weeks. Simple hot process syrup with a 2:1 ratio of sugar and water lasts about 6 months.

Use cold process and flavored syrups within 2 weeks

Do not keep your cold process and flavored syrup stored for more than 2 weeks or else the syrup will become moldy. The method you use to make the syrup also determines the shelf-life of the syrup.

Add some vodka to the hot porches syrup for a longer shelf-life

Adding 1 tablespoon (14.8 mL) of vodka to your hot process syrup significantly increases the shelf-life of the syrup beyond the 1 month and 6 months time window. Vodka acts as an antibacterial agent and suppresses the growth of microbes.

In food and beverages, bacterial growth inhibitors are used, such as benzoic acid, sulfur dioxide, and sodium nitrite (NaNO2). Ethanol (CH3CH2OH) has long been used as a preservative, both of itself (as in wine), and of other foods (e.g. fruits stored in brandy) (6).

Freeze hot or cold process syrup for up to a year

Due to high sugar content, the syrup may not freeze solid but it sure will last longer. Thaw the frozen syrup by submerging the container in warm water.

Can you freeze maple syrup?

Yes, you can freeze maple syrup. Freezing extends the shelf-life of maple syrup for up to a year. Prolonged storage may noticeably impact the quality of the syrup. Therefore, it is recommended to use it within 6 months of storage. 

Pure maple syrup in glass or tin containers may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. Use syrup stored in plastic containers within three to six months. Plastic breathes causing a change to syrup color and flavor. You may freeze maple syrup. To freeze, pour it into freezable glass jars, making sure to leave a one-inch space at the top. Frozen syrup maintains quality and flavor for an indefinite period (4). 

Defrost the frozen maple syrup in the fridge overnight, in the microwave, or by dumping it in warm water(do not use hot water). Use the low power setting of the microwave. 

Make sure to leave a 1-½-inches headspace in the storage container of the maple syrup before freezing. This gives room for the syrup to safely expand during freezing without shattering the storage container.

Storage containers for maple syrup 

The best storage container for freezing maple syrup is its original pitcher. However, if you bought the maple syrup in bulk, you may want to store it in one big bottle. Use a glass bottle or container to do the job. 

Maple syrup is packaged in tin, plastic, or glass. Each has advantages and disadvantages as to maintaining the quality of the syrup in storage (5).

  • Glass maintains the flavor of the maple syrup indefinitely. It may darken slightly, especially if the syrup is not kept in the dark. Glass also allows you to inspect the syrup for cloudiness or sugar crystals. Glass containers are usually reserved for packaging small amounts—½ pints, pints, and quarts. It is a costly way to package and is often seen in gift packs.
  • Tin maintains syrup quality for 11 to 12 months. Tin cans rust, so care must be taken as to where the container is stored. A tin flavor can be picked up if stored for long periods.
  • Plastic is a popular packaging material. It is lightweight and easy to use. Syrup stored in plastic will usually maintain quality for three to six months. Plastic breathes, so a color and flavor change can be the result in long-term storage in plastic containers. However, new plastic containers have been developed to extend shelf life. The disadvantage to these, so far, is that the cost is more than the regular plastic jugs.

Glass does a great job at protecting the syrup from oxygen and moisture, both of which are the top quality threats to the syrup. Just make sure the glass is tempered and can withstand the freezing temperatures without shattering or cracking.

If you have a good-quality plastic container, you can ditch the glass container for it. However, make sure the seal of the plastic container is not flimsy. A tightly shut lid is imperative to block the oxygen and moisture from reaching the syrup.

If you have none of the containers, you can rely on plastic bags. Use good quality bags so that they do not tear when frozen. 

Pouring the syrup in the plastic or freezer bags for freezing is a messy task. But it is a great option if you want to save some freezer space and thaw only a little maple syrup at a time.

Pour the maple syrup into the freezer bag, flatten it and squeeze out the air from the bag, then freezer the bag. Stack the bags on top of each in a tidy way.

Other FAQs about Syrup that you may be interested in.

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  1. URAJI, Tatsuya, et al. Freezing point depression of polyol-aqueous solutions in the high concentration range. Food Sci Technol Int, 1996, Tokyo, 2, 38-42.
  2. Garcia-Fuentes, Pablo A., P. Lynn Kennedy, and Gustavo FC Ferreira. Price response of the high fructose corn syrup industry in the United States: a Bertrand model application. J Appl Econ, 2022, 25, 156-177.
  3. Wells-Moses, C. Preserving berry syrups at home. 2016. Washington State University.
  4. Willis, K. Maple Syrup. 2015. Michigan State University.
  5. Drake, B. Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Maple Syrup. 2010. Ohio State University.
  6. Abdulmumeen, Hamid A., Ahmed N. Risikat, and Agboola R. Sururah. Food: Its preservatives, additives and applications. Int J Chem Biochem Sci, 2012, 1, 36-47.