Whether it’s pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal, maple syrup is a go-to choice for topping. If you live anywhere in the North American continent, you definitely can’t skip maple syrup on pancake day.
Although maple syrup is today a famous and highly available topping around the world, for many centuries, it has been consumed only in the northern parts of the American continent. That is because maple syrup is made from maple tree sap that grows in these parts of the world.
Today, Canada is the number one maple syrup supplier in the world. What’s more, 80% of the world’s maple syrup supply is produced in the Quebec province.
It’s a prevalent belief that maple syrup is much healthier than sugar, but that isn’t quite the case. Although it’s much healthier than most pancake syrups you can find in the supermarket, it’s still high in sugar.
So, if you’re on a diet, take it easy with the maple syrup.
Because of the high sugar content, most people think that maple syrup can’t go bad. Unfortunately, this isn’t entirely true.
In this article, you’ll learn does maple syrup go bad, common misconceptions, how to notice it has gone bad, and how to store it.
How Long Does Maple Syrup Last?
You may think that maple syrup lasts forever, but that isn’t quite the case.
If you ever bought maple syrup in a supermarket, you have noticed that it has a sell-by date. It’s there because of government regulations. That date actually doesn’t have anything to do with the expiration date.
Unopened maple syrup has an indefinite shelf life. From this fact actually comes the common misconception that maple syrup is just like honey when it comes to shelf life.
However, the story is entirely different when it comes to an opened bottle of maple syrup.
Once you’ve opened the bottle, the maple syrup should keep its quality for at least a year. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that the maple syrup will go bad after just one year. Most people have an opened bottle of maple syrup in the pantry or fridge that has been laid there for years and is still excellent.
After one year, it’s most likely that maple syrup won’t spoil but just drop in quality. This means that you may notice a slight change in taste, but it’ll still be safe.
If you notice any signs of mold forming in the bottle, the maple syrup is no longer safe to eat.
There is actually no way to determine the exact date when the maple syrup will expire because it mostly depends on storage. We’ll touch upon storing maple syrup a bit later.
Does Maple Syrup Go Bad?
Most people are under the impression that maple syrup can’t go bad, just like honey. If you’re under that impression too, we have to disappoint you. Maple syrup can go bad!
You’ll quickly notice if your maple syrup has gone bad because you’ll spot mold forming on the surface. We’ll describe the signs that maple syrup has gone bad a bit later.
Because of the high sugar content in maple syrup, bacteria and fungi can’t form easily. They can eventually form once the bottle is already opened, but just on the surface. Of course, that doesn’t have to mean that this will happen with your bottle of maple syrup.
Many people have opened bottles of maple syrup laying in their pantry and collecting dust for years. What’s more, most of the bottles will be of perfect quality after all those years.
So, just because someone may have told you that their maple syrup has gone bad after one or two years, that doesn’t have to mean that the same will happen to you. You can buy a bottle of maple syrup today, and it can keep its quality for more than three years.
Signs That Maple Syrup Has Gone Bad
There are two signs that maple syrup has gone bad: mold and an odd smell.
When it comes to mold, you can easily spot it. It will usually form on the top of the maple syrup. The color of the formed mold can vary, but it’s mostly white with greenish or dark dots, and sometimes it can have a yellowish color.
If you forgot you have an opened bottle of maple syrup in your pantry, and it has been lying there for a few years, you’ll definitely find mold in there. The mold can sometimes grow and reach up to the top of the bottle. This is where most people actually find out that maple syrup can go bad.
So, don’t be shocked if you find a bottle full of mold in your pantry while doing your spring cleaning.
If you have a full bottle of maple syrup and notice that a little bit of mold has formed on the surface, you can still save it. That mold is, in most cases, harmless.
You can bring the maple syrup to a slight boil and skim the part where the mold has formed. After that, just pour the rest into a clean container and refrigerate it. By doing this, you’ll make it safe for consumption.
Even though you can just skim the mold off, we don’t recommend it. The chances that you’ll get food poisoning are quite low but better safe than sorry.
The second sign that maple syrup has gone bad is an unpleasant smell. If there isn’t any mold, but just an odd smell, it’s most likely that it’s caused due to the higher percentage of water in the syrup. In most cases, these aren’t 100% pure maple syrups.
If you notice that your maple syrup has a sour, yeasty, or just odd odor, we recommend you throw it away.
Note that sediment can sometimes form on the bottom of the maple syrup container. Sediment on the bottom of a bottle of maple syrup is not a sign of spoilage!
Sediment forms every time you boil maple syrup. So, if you notice it in the bottle, that is because the syrup wasn’t filtered or bottled well when it was still hot. Sediment is perfectly safe, but if it’s bothering you, you can simply filter it out.
How To Store Maple Syrup
Because an unopened bottle of maple syrup doesn’t have an expiration date, you can practically store it anywhere at room temperature.
The perfect place would be a cold, dry area, like your pantry. But if you don’t have a pantry, or just don’t like keeping it there, you can keep the maple syrup in the kitchen cabinet.
Even if you already have opened the bottle of maple syrup, you can keep it at room temperature, but we don’t recommend that. If it’s grade-A maple syrup, it will probably stay perfectly fine if you store it in the kitchen cabinet or pantry.
Our recommendation is to keep the maple syrup in the refrigerator once opened, to avoid early spoilage.
We recommend storing maple syrup in a cool place, even if the bottle isn’t opened. When talking about an opened bottle of maple syrup, we recommend keeping it in the freezer.
Note that maple syrup can’t freeze solid. By keeping it in the freezer, you’ll preserve the quality and taste of the maple syrup.
Although storing maple syrup in the freezer is recommended, it’s not necessary. Because maple syrup has a really long shelf life, you’ll likely consume it before its quality starts to degrade.
Does Maple Syrup Go Bad – Conclusion
So, as you might’ve read so far, maple syrup can go bad. However, unlike other pancake syrups, maple syrup can last for years before it spoils. And even if it spoils, the damage is usually minimal, and you can easily save most of the syrup.
Maple syrup lasts for so long because it has an incredibly high sugar concentration. Although sugar is bacteria heaven, too much sugar can actually kill bacteria, because of its acidic properties. Still, that doesn’t mean that mold can’t develop on the top of the syrup if you leave the bottle open for too long; And when that happens, you can simply scrape off the mold and use the rest of the syrup normally.
The best way to ensure nothing happens to your maple syrup is to keep it in a cool cold place. And there’s nothing cooler or darker than a fridge. So, to avoid any spoilage, you should keep the maple syrup in the refrigerator at all times.
We hope you found this article useful. And if you did, why don’t you share it around so other people can learn some amazing facts about maple syrup!