Maple Syrup - Does It Ever Go Bad?

Buying a jar of maple syrup can be a little heavy on the pocket especially when you are buying the best of the best i.e. totally pure syrup. So, if you are going to be spending your hard-earned money, you must know how long will maple syrup last in the refrigerator or can pure maple syrup go bad. But most importantly does maple syrup go off or does it expire? Technically, no, it does not. 

In this article, we have answered every possible question that you might have when it comes to the syrup. Keep reading if you want to know everything about the delicious syrup, how to store it, and how to make it last long:

Let's Start With the Basics

Let's start with the difference between spoiled and stale. Spoiled food is unfit for consumption by humans. Stale, on the other hand, is safe food, but it has gone dry or lost its flavour over time. Maple syrup neither expires nor does it go stale. If it has been produced according to modern production standards, its sweet flavour will not change for years.

However, the syrup can change color over the time. This alteration can be due to pollution or contaminants of one kind or another, non-living or living.

Non-living pollutants can include minerals, wood chips, dust or ash. But they are filtered out in every self-respecting sugar house.

Living contaminants, on the other hand, may grow over time in an open container. All of these living things enjoy humidity, sunshine and water. They float in the air, and they can be anything ranging from bacteria, and yeast, to mould.

How Long Does Maple Syrup Last

Similar to honey, unopened syrup also lasts indefinitely. Even though some bottles or jars come with the best before or best by date printed on their label, which is usually to conform to government food regulations, the sweet syrup remains okay for years longer. Provided that the jar the syrup comes in remains intact, without any damage visible on it. 

Once opened, the syrup can stay fresh for at least a year if the storage is done in a proper way. Even if the syrup starts to taste a little bland or tasteless, it is still considered safe to consume. So, if you are eating "out of date" syrup, there is no need to worry.

Why Does Maple Syrup Go Off?

The reason why the syrup goes off? Water. Why? Because the syrup has slightly more water content as compared to honey and sugar. This makes the syrup more vulnerable to mould. Because of its high sugar content, mould is still less likely to grow as compared to other wet foods, although there are a few varieties of mould and fungi that can still grow in it.

To avoid mould from developing in your syrup, open containers should be stored in the refrigerator for almost a year or in the freezer for an infinite amount of time. Unopened bottles, can, however, be stored on the shelves for a year. 

The great news is that the mould that forms in the syrup is not poisonous. This means that if you have splurged on an expensive bottle of the syrup and it has become mouldy, you do not have to throw it in the bin.

Rather, remove the mould from the top layer of the syrup and boil it. Allow the syrup to cool, scrape any leftover floats, and transfer it to a clean bottle. Once done, the syrup is ready to be consumed again. Store it In the refrigerator, and you will not have to deal with mould again.

How to Tell if Your Syrup Has Gone Bad?

The first thing you need to do to check if the syrup has gone off is to review the best-by date written on the bottle. Now, this is just a vague indication. The syrup could still be rotten before this date, and it might be healthy after that date as well.

The most popular microbe that ruins the syrup is mould. This stuff floating in the syrup belongs to the kingdom of the fungus. Although you may consider mould as a single organism, there are thousands of forms and species. 

Most of the maple syrup fungus (mould) belongs to the group called wallemiomycetes. Although an overwhelming majority of moulds need a water-rich climate, they are a super hardy bunch. It is unclear if maple syrup mould is dangerous or not, so it is better if you just discard it. 

If you have stored it correctly in the fridge or freezer, the odds of losing your syrup to any kind of floating yuck are small.

How to Store Maple Syrup

As far as maple syrup storage is concerned, until the container/jar is opened, it can be kept in a cool and dry place like the pantry. If you've opened the can, place it in the refrigerator, as it has no preservatives. One thing to note – if you purchased it in a tin bottle, it is recommended to move the syrup to a glass container or airtight jar before placing it in the fridge. Another thing – keep the container/jar hermetically sealed when not in use, so that no pollutants can get into the syrup.

The Reason Behind off Flavours, Crystals, and Haze?

If you sense any off flavours, then they are most likely a result of a mishap during the production. The off flavours can range from popcorn, peanut butter to even cardboard. 

If you find your syrup hazy or if it has light sediments at the bottom of the jar, that's probably because it might not have been distilled. The sediments are basically minerals that naturally occur in the sap.

If the syrup has crystallised, that's because additional water might have dissipated, and as a result, the sugar has concentrated to a point where it can not be dissolved any further.

Wrapping It Up

So, in a nutshell, even though maple syrup can not expire, it can surely go off but even that is a very rare occurrence. In most cases, even after a few years, if stored correctly, it will be edible. The only thing you can't really be sure about is its taste – it may not be as amazing after 3 to 5 years of storage, but it will certainly be edible.