It’s been ages since you made some homemade ice cream sundaes and you’ve decided to give it a try. Hence, you’re gathering all the necessary ingredients, and suddenly you notice something is missing. Of course – chocolate syrup!
But the one you’ve found in the back of your pantry is way past its best before date. So, you’ve decided to open the package and try it. It smells and tastes new, so does that mean you can use it? Does chocolate syrup go bad?
Chocolate syrup is the one food product that can be found in almost every household. Opened or unopened, this syrup seems to have a very long shelf life. We’re sure you’ve probably wondered at least once or twice by now can this sweet condiment go bad.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the shelf life of chocolate syrup, and we’ve also provided some storage tips, so read along!
Does Chocolate Syrup Go Bad?
The short answer would be – yes, chocolate syrup does go bad. But not as fast as you might think.
The most popular store-bought chocolate syrup contains preservatives and emulsifiers that allow it to remain shelf-stable for much longer.
On top of that, it contains corn syrup, sugar, and cocoa, which are not perishable food products. But even those ingredients will eventually degrade in quality, and the syrup will show some spoilage signs (if it’s not eaten by then!).
This sweet, chocolate-flavored condiment is mostly used as topping or dessert sauce for various desserts such as ice cream, pancakes, biscuits, cakes, milkshakes, etc. The syrup is typically made out of corn and fructose syrup, water, cocoa, sugar, salt, vanillin, and several emulsifiers and preservatives, which keep the product shelf-stable for a very long time.
One serving (2 tablespoons) of chocolate syrup contain:
|Total fat||0,4 g|
The chocolate syrup also contains some small amounts of magnesium and iron. However, the syrup does have a lot of sodium and sugar. Because of that, it is recommended to reduce your daily intake to 2 tablespoons, or you can make a healthier version at home.
How Long Does Chocolate Syrup Last?
Every bottle of store-bought chocolate syrup comes with a best-before date, which is genuinely there to inform you of how much the product will be of the best quality. However, the syrup can be used months if not years after its best-by date.
The store-bought chocolate syrup usually lasts one year if unopened, and it depends explicitly on the brand, production method, and ingredients used. Furthermore, it can last 1-3 years after its best-by date, but the syrup’s quality will probably be much worse.
On the other hand, an opened chocolate syrup bottle can last from 6-9 months if tightly sealed and kept in the refrigerator.
As for the homemade version, it won’t go bad that easily or quickly. Even though it doesn’t contain preservatives and emulsifiers (which means it is much healthier than store-bought), it does contain sugar and cocoa, which have a pretty long shelf life. Hence, the homemade version will last three months, if not longer, when stored properly.
How To Store Chocolate Syrup?
Storing chocolate syrup is very easy, as the product itself doesn’t require much. Let’s start with store-bought ones since they’re the most popular types.
Unopened bottles of store-bought chocolate syrup can easily be kept at room temperature. As for other conditions, it is essential to keep it in a dark and dry place, away from direct light or heat sources.
Make sure you stash the bottle in a place where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate because that can cause separation of ingredients and changes in the texture. It is best to keep the package in a cool place (the colder, the better); even a fridge is a good option. Nevertheless, the pantry is the best option for unopened chocolate syrup, but the cupboard will also get the job done.
Once opened, a bottle of chocolate syrup should be kept in the refrigerator. However, the product won’t go bad if you don’t store it in the fridge upon opening.
You can easily keep opened bottle at room temperature, either in the cupboard or in the pantry. However, bear in mind that the syrup will retain its freshness for longer when kept at cold temperatures. Also, make sure to seal the bottle tightly after each use because the process of quality loss will proceed faster.
In general, store-bought versions always have preservatives that make them shelf-stable for a long time, even at room temperatures. On the other hand, the homemade version lacks the ingredients that make the syrup shelf-stable, so you have to always keep it in the fridge.
Moreover, always use clean utensils when scooping the syrup from the container to prevent contamination and spoilage.
Can You Freeze Chocolate Syrup?
Yes, you can freeze store-bought and homemade versions. As for the homemade version, we advise you to transfer the syrup in an airtight container first. You can also prolong its lifespan by canning it.
In addition, there will be some changes in the texture. The moisture in the store-bought version will form ice crystals causing the texture and consistency to change, so you should reheat it before using it. The best way to thaw the syrup is to put it in the refrigerator overnight and then heat it. However, keep in mind that once melted, the syrup should not be refrozen.
The homemade version will crystalize and thicken upon thawing, but you can quickly fix that by mixing the syrup with some liquid upon heating it.
Signs Of Spoilage
Since syrups are typically packaged in non-see-through plastic bottles, it is hard to determine the spoilage signs just by looking at the package. Thus, pour the syrup into the container and perform a visual inspection first.
First and foremost, if the syrup is showing signs of mold, it is not safe for consumption anymore, and you should throw the whole thing away.
Next off, if the syrup’s consistency has changed (and it hasn’t been frozen), it most certainly means it has gone bad. For example, if you see a separation of the ingredients or thicker texture, toss the package.
If the syrup becomes stiff and doesn’t have its usual color, and instead it’s much darker, it has gone off, and you shouldn’t consume it.
Lastly, if the syrup smells off and has an unpleasant or sour taste, it’s time to toss it and purchase a new package.
Even though you’re not likely to get foodborne illness by eating a deteriorated chocolate syrup (unless it contains mold!), it is always best to spend a few dollars on a new bottle than to risk your health and ruin your ice cream.
Does Chocolate Syrup Go Bad – Final Word
To conclude – chocolate syrup does go bad. But this will happen after a very long time, and with proper storage, it can last a few years past the printed date.
To explain this further, the chocolate syrup contains ingredients like sugar and cocoa, which are the ingredients that can pretty much last forever. Because of that, chocolate syrup is very unlikely to spoil, at least not in the near future.
As for storage conditions, you can keep unopened bottles of chocolate syrup in the pantry or cupboard. It is vital to store the package somewhere where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate, as that could accelerate the deterioration process.
Moreover, storing both unopened and opened bottles in the fridge is best if you want to ensure longer shelf life. The homemade chocolate syrup should always be kept in the refrigerator as it lacks preservatives that would keep it stable for a more extended period at room temperature.
You will often discard the syrup for quality purposes and not because it shows spoilage signs. However, deterioration is still a possibility. Hence, if you notice any signs of mold, changes in the texture like thickness or separation, much darker color, or off odor and taste, discard the syrup immediately.