In this brief guide, we will address the question, “Does maple syrup go bad?” as well as other questions pertaining to the subject at hand like how to tell if your maple syrup has gone bad and what are some of the ideal practices to ensure optimal shelf life of maple syrup.
Does maple syrup go bad?
Maple syrup rarely ever goes bad. Yes! You heard it right. This is because of the high sugar concentration in the maple syrup that acts as a natural preservative.
Maple syrup is commonly used as an additional sweetener and is famous as the perfect companion for pancakes, waffles, and toast. It is a perfect alternative to honey.
Pure maple syrup is made from the concentrated sap of sugar maple trees. The maple sap is boiled into syrup. Underboiled syrup quickly spoils, while syrup boiled too long will crystallize. The perfect boil produces the shelf-stable, delicious syrup we all love.
The bottom line – No, it doesn’t. It can develop a mold or crystallize, but that’s not a definitive sign of spoiled maple syrup.
Pancake Syrups vs. Real Maple Syrup
Real, pure maple syrup is made directly from the concentrated sap of sugar maple trees while artificial “maple-flavoured” pancake syrups are made from unhealthy ingredients. Examine the ingredients indicated on the label or packaging, if you want real maple syrup. Real maple syrup has only one ingredient, while pancake syrup can have more than 10, including corn syrup, caramel colouring, and many more.
How to Store Maple Syrup
Most maple syrup is packaged in a glass bottle. Most plastic containers are slightly porous, allowing air to get through, thus making syrup more prone to contamination. Maple syrup stored in a tin can give a metallic taste over time.
Since most microbes need warmth, sunlight and airflow, storing unopened syrup in a cool, dark and enclosed space will reduce the chance of contamination. Thus a cellar or dark pantry is a good option for storage. Make sure to not place it near the oven. Once opened, you should just refrigerate it. Your refrigerator will hinder microbial growth for the same reasons.
You can store maple syrup in the freezer to prolong its shelf life for years. In the freezer, the syrup will thicken but will not freeze because maple syrup has incredibly high sugar content.
How Long Does Maple Syrup Last
Maple syrup is typically packaged in either glass or plastic bottles. Glass bottle performs better in maintaining its quality. Unopened maple syrup is similar to honey, that is it lasts indefinitely. Even though some bottles come with a best-by date, it stays fine for years longer. That is, of course, if the can or bottle the syrup comes in stays intact, without any visible damage.
Once you open the bottle, maple syrup stays fine for at least a year if stored properly. It will most likely stay fine for much longer, but with time, you might notice a drop in quality. The flavour will change slightly, and it won’t taste as good as it used to. Even if it tastes pretty bland, it is still safe to consume, as long as there is no noticeable mold.
Meanwhile, when packed in plastic containers, it keeps for 2 years. After opening, the syrup stays for about one year in the refrigerator. So if you are not a regular user, keeping maple syrup in the freezer will prolong its shelf life for a much more extended period, almost indefinitely. Pure maple syrup will not freeze, therefore, the freezer is a perfect place for long term storage.
How to Tell If Maple Syrup Is Bad
Although maple syrup can be kept indefinitely, the quality can drop when stored for too long. It depends on the initial quality and storage conditions. Spotting spoiled maple syrup is not a difficult job.
Signs of mold are the first indicator that your maple syrup is spoiled. The main culprits are water and dirty containers. Such circumstances support the growth of bacteria, molds, or yeast.
If you find signs of microbial growth in the container or smells a foul odour, it is best to discard the syrup. Although some people recommend scooping out the molds and boiling the syrup, we can never assure its safety.
Some molds produce toxins that can harm our health in the long run. So, staying on the safe side, it is better to discard it.
The liquid discolouration is a sign that maple syrup is showing quality degradation. After a while in your storage, the liquid is getting darker, particularly when packed in a plastic container. At some point, you may notice that the taste is not as great as it used to be.
Another sign of something going bad with the popular pancake topping is that it smells off. The smell can be sour due to fermentation. If the smell is off, just throw it away.
Sometimes you can also see cloudy sediment on the bottom of the container. Don’t worry, your syrup is not spoiled. Instead, this sediment is sugar sand, which is harmless. You can easily filter it out or carry on as is if you don’t mind.
Maple syrup doesn’t necessarily go bad as meat or milk does. The chances of maple syrup going bad are very slim, but it still can spoil.
In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “Does maple syrup go bad?” as well as other question pertaining to the subject at hand like how to tell if your maple syrup has gone bad and what are some of the ideal practices to ensure optimal shelf life of maple syrup.