When I think of maple syrup, pancakes usually come to mind, but there are so many other uses for maple syrup that it generally won’t last long in any household. From smoothies to delectable desserts, there are tons of recipes that call for maple syrup.
Chances are you’ll be running out long before the expiry date, but on the off chance that you forgot you had a bottle, how long does maple syrup really last? Will it go bad after a few months, a year or two maybe?
Well, continue reading as we explore more on this topic.
Can Maple Syrup Spoil or Go Bad?
It’s a complicated question. In its pure form, stored in the right environment, maple syrup can last indefinitely.
However, stored under the wrong conditions, it will go bad. That is, it can attract mold or become rancid.
Why Does Maple Syrup Go Bad?
As briefly mentioned earlier, maple syrup will go bad if it’s not stored in the ideal environment. Temperature for example is important. Too much heat could cause rancidity and constant changes in temperature as well could lead to spoilage.
Mold growth as well is popular with maple syrup. This is generally caused by exposure to moisture or humidity.
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How To Tell If Maple Syrup Has Gone Bad/Spoiled?
There are a couple of signs you should start to see if the maple syrup has started to go bad.
The Smell Check:
Maple syrup does not have a strong scent, it’s generally very mild, so much so that you might not even notice it. Maple syrup that’s gone bad on the other hand will sometimes have a noticeable pungent smell.
The Taste Test:
While there may be differences in the level of sweetness, maple syrup has a consistent taste regardless of the brand. If you taste the product and there is any inconsistency, that is souring, bitterness etc, then that’s an indication that the syrup has gone bad.
At the same time, it’s important to note that the type of storage used can have an impact on the taste of your syrup. Maple syrup that’s stored in cans for instance, could develop a metallic taste. While undesirable for consumption, the syrup in this case wouldn’t be “spoilt”.
Has The Color Changed?:
Maple syrup is generally a light golden brown. While there are slight variations across brands, the color is usually consistent enough where you can identify changes. As such, if you notice consistent darkening of the syrup, then that means it’s probably sat around for too long and you might want to throw it out.
When it comes to maple syrup, you should always watch out for mold. This is a clear sign that the product has gone bad. Be wary of removing mold and using the rest of the syrup, as some kinds of molds can be dangerous if they’re consumed.
In addition to mold, crystallization is also common with maple syrup. Unlike mold, however, crystals are nothing to worry about. This is caused by the high sugar content of the product and usually happens when you store it in the refrigerator after it has been exposed to heat.
Does Maple Syrup Need to be Refrigerated After Opening?
While maple syrup does not need to be refrigerated, it does benefit from refrigeration. The cool temperature of the refrigerator keeps the syrup stable and thus potentially lengthens its lifespan.
Maple syrup can also be frozen. If you bought in bulk or made a whole batch, then you can freeze the excess for use at a later date.
Freezing at a temperature around -18 degrees is ideal for best results. Also, avoid filling the storage container to its full capacity when freezing, as room is needed for expansion of the product.
How Long Does Maple Syrup Last?
Maple syrup in its purest form will not go bad for years on end, once it is stored properly. The manufacturing process involves boiling the syrup at high temperatures. This removes water, resulting in a very concentrated and sweet final product. The low water content is advantageous as it ought to prevent mold and bacteria growth when storage is done properly.
Unopened maple syrup should be stored in a cabinet, while an open bottle should be stored in the refrigerator for best results.
In general, an unopened bottle of syrup is edible indefinitely once it passes the tests outlined above. A bottle of maple syrup that’s open and in use though, will generally be good for a year in the refrigerator.
Best Ways to Store Maple Syrup So It Doesn’t Go Bad
Storage is extremely important in the preservation of all food items. Common mistakes made when storing food include exposure to the elements such as air, sunlight and moisture. These generally speed up the breakdown of food particles, causing spoilage. Check out some useful tips for storing maple syrup below.
Glass Is Best:
Glass containers are less likely to be havens for bacteria that could cause spoilage. Glass helps in the retention of flavor and overall quality. In addition you can easily see the contents of glass containers, so you can quickly check for signs of spoilage. Avoid tin containers which can alter the taste of maple syrup.
Hygiene is Key:
If you buy in bulk, it’s best to divide the syrup into smaller quantities instead of using a large container. When repacking, ensure that you use clean sanitized containers. If you use utensils to dip into the container, ensure they are clean at all times to keep mold and bacteria away.
Storing Unopened Bottles:
Unopened bottles can be stored at room temperature with no negative implications. Simply ensure that they are stored in a location where there are no fluctuations in temperature. Kitchen cabinets and shelves away from the stove and other appliances are generally ideal locations.
Risks of Consuming Spoiled Maple Syrup
You should avoid consuming spoilt food at all costs. If you accidentally ingest spoilt maple syrup, you can have symptoms of mild food poisoning.
If you happen to ingest syrup that had any kind of xerophilic mold growing on it, then there could be serious allergic reaction. Therefore, never consume syrup that is spoilt, and has fungus or mold of any kind.
Wrapping it up
Maple syrup has a long shelf life, and can be good for use months after the expiration has passed. Like all products, it will go bad, given the right conditions. As such, if you have doubts you should always do a quick check before consuming the product.