Maple Syrup is another one of those ingredients that is rarely, if ever, found in a bargain section nearing the end of its sell by date. The reasons for this are simple, really. A bottle of maple syrup in its unopened state will keep remarkably well for a long period of time – it’s the kind of thing you’d expect to find in a survivalists bunker, it lasts so well.
But what of the opened bottle of maple syrup that has been in the fridge for the past year now? Is it time to throw that out, or is it still good? Should I taste a little to find out, or is it better to just discard it outright? In this article, we’ll get into exactly how long maple syrup can keep, in all kinds of various conditions and methods of storage. We’ll also delve into the best way to keep your syrup tasting good for extended periods of time. So, without further ado, here’s the science bit. Please be aware that all information in this article refers to pure maple syrup, and doesn’t extend to products that are merely fabricated using maple syrup as one of several ingredients.
The Best Way to Store Maple Syrup
Maple Syrup is an incredibly easy product to store correctly. It just isn’t that picky about what happens to it once it leaves the store. Ideally, it prefers cool and dark areas, but in its unopened state it doesn’t demand to occupy your fridge and will do just as well in the back of the pantry or in a press – anywhere where it is not constantly exposed to sunlight.
Some high quality maple syrups can also be stored in such a way after they have been opened, though it is not recommended to do such a thing. Generally, the best option to take is the safest one when it comes to foodstuffs. Instead, make sure the cap, or lid, is shut tightly and from there it can be put into the fridge where it will stay good for ages – which brings us to our next section:
How Long Does Maple Syrup Last?
Maple syrup, despite having a clear sell by date, is one of those magical products out there that can last for an eternity. Consider honey, for example; if honey is left in an untampered with container for years and years, it will still be perfectly fine. In this sense, once some conditions have been met, your unopened maple syrup should be 100% safe for consumption. These conditions are; the bottle was stored in a cool, dark place, with no visible damage to the bottle and seal.
In the case of unopened maple syrup, the answer is a lot more complex as there are many more factors to consider. In the best case scenario, where the maple syrup has been frozen after opening, it can last an age. But, there really isn’t any point to this as the shelf-life of maple syrup is so long anyway. As we stated earlier, it isn’t the best idea to return an opened bottle of maple syrup to the cabinet as it may begin to lose its flavour within the space of a few months and it just isn’t as hygienic as putting it in the fridge. If sealed properly and put back into the fridge, however, there is no reason that your maple syrup won’t be at its best up to a year later.
Quick and Easy Maple Syrup Storage Tips
So, essentially how long your maple syrup will last is entirely dependent on what you do with it after buying it. Treat it well and it will treat you well in return An unopened bottle of syrup will last an incredibly long time, possibly for generations, if simply put aside into a cool and dark environment and doesn’t suffer any knocks. An already opened bottle will keep for up to a year in the fridge. There are still some tell-tale signs of spoilage that you do need to look out for though, many of which are only a minor concern. Thankfully, these signs are easy to spot and don’t require you actually consuming a product that may harm you.
Signs That Your Maple Syrup May Have Gone Off
Perhaps the easiest and most obvious sign that your syrup should be discarded is the presence of mold. We have seen elsewhere that some people, upon seeing mold in their maple syrup, opt to scoop out the mold and boil the remainder of the syrup, thus sterilizing it. Though this can be an effective method, it is not one that we can support fully and endorse as it is not 100% foolproof. Another sign that your maple syrup may have degenerated over time is that it may have begun to smell a bit strange – possible a bit yeasty or almost like alcohol. This is generally a sign that fermentation has begun. In this case, the syrup simply won’t taste good, and is gone beyond saving. At this point, it is for the best to just cut your losses and chuck it out.
A mistake that many, including ourselves, have made: On occasion, and especially in lower quality productions of maple syrup, there can be some sediment that sits at the bottom of the bottle. When this happens, it is important to note that it doesn’t have any bearing on the taste or the hygiene of the syrup itself. Instead, it just means that it wasn’t bottled at the right temperature or that not enough care was put into the initial filtration of the syrup. It is nothing to worry about though, and if it really bothers you, you can filter it again at home.
Thankfully, maple syrup is one of the easiest ingredients out there to store and to spot the signs of spoilage. As a general rule of thumb, it boils down to this one thing: if your maple syrup looks and smells good, the chances are extremely high that it is, in fact, good!
Should Maple Syrup be Refrigerated?
This really depends. If you have an unopened bottle in perfect condition, there is no point in putting it in the fridge as it will not prolong its life whatsoever – the same goes for putting it in the freezer. Really, the fridge is the best place only for syrup that has already been opened or for bottles of brand new syrup that have taken some damage. As far as freezing goes, we can’t see any clear benefit to doing this in any case. Given that an opened bottle will store perfectly well in the fridge for up to a year, there is no real need to prolong that already quite generous deadline.
Maple Syrup Storage, Sell-by Dates, and Other Related Questions
How long does maple syrup last after packaging?
Maple syrup quite literally has the potential to last forever if it is produced right. If the sugar by volume is between 66 and 68.9%, is bottled using sterilized equipment at the right temperature, and is packaged in an airtight and germ-free container, there is pretty much nothing that can go wrong from there – provided it is then stored correctly, that is.
Why is there a sell by date if the syrup doesn’t go off?
Maple syrup having a sell by date doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is no longer usable, as you have seen. Instead, it is best to consider the sell by date almost like an insurance policy against bad storage and bottling procedures.