With its gorgeous flavor and its smooth, honeyed texture, maple syrup is a favorite when it comes to sweetening food like pancakes, porridge and waffles.
It is made from the sap of acers—those trees with beautiful, five-point leaves—most commonly sap from the sugar maple, red maple, or black maple.
After the sap has been collected, it is processed with heat so that most of the water content evaporates, forming a concentrated syrup.
Because of this, you’d be forgiven for thinking maple syrup never goes off but, the truth is, it does indeed have a shelf life.
How Do I Know My Maple Syrup Has Gone Off?
The good news: if left unopened, your syrup will keep for an indefinite amount of time.
And it gets better: some people have reported storing maple syrup for over 50 years and, after opening, it still tasting perfect!
The shelf life of maple syrup depends on what kind of container is being used to store it. If it’s in a tin, it will only last about six months before you need to discard it (if unfinished). If kept in plastic, the shelf life is between 18-24 months. In glass, it lasts for about four years if opened.
You know it’s gone off if you see a rather large amount of mold growing on your syrup. If this is the case, throw it out as it’s no longer edible.
But if there is a thin layer of mold on the surface, you’ll be pleased to hear there’s a handy trick for eliminating it and still getting use out of your syrup afterwards. Simply follow these three easy steps:
- Safely remove the mold with a clean spoon.
- Tip the syrup into a small pan and bring it to a brief boil at about 190°F.
- Rebottle in a sterilized glass jar or container and seal it.
How To Store Maple Syrup
As mentioned, maple syrup can be kept in tin, plastic or glass. If you want to store away your maple syrup for a long time, it’s easy!
For best results, an unopened glass bottle is the most ideal, preferably kept at room temperature. Make sure it is properly sealed and in a cool, dry dark place such as your pantry or a kitchen cupboard.
In fact, a glass bottle is much safer for storing maple syrup as plastic is porous, which can encourage mold spore growth by letting in small amounts of air.
Want to know the best part?
Glass is much better for the environment as it’s always a bonus if you can reduce plastic use.
You can even freeze it or place it in a cooler if you want it to last for a very long time, but be aware that prolonged storage can cause the color to darken and taste to degrade. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone off (remember to check for mold), although you may not want to eat maple syrup if it doesn’t have its usual, sweet flavor.
If you have opened your maple syrup, don’t forget to refrigerate it rather than placing it back in your cupboard—that way, it will keep for several more months.
Maple syrup does go bad but only if kept in the wrong conditions. Luckily, it’s a very easy condiment to store and simply following the advice above should help you if you want it kept in your home as an essential for a long time!