Most kitchen ingredients tend to go bad after some time. But is it also the case with sugar? This article about the shelf life of sugar has the answers.
Does sugar expire? Does sugar go bad? Does sugar expire? How long can you use sugar after opening the bag before it goes bad? We will answer these questions and many more here.
While some manufacturers may indicate a best-by date of two years for sugar, sugar has an indefinite shelf life. Whether it’s white sugar, brown sugar or powdered sugar, sugar doesn’t go bad. As long as you store it properly, you can use sugar indefinitely.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the shelf life of sugar. We will walk you through the shelf life of white sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Also, we will give you tips for storing your sugar properly, to prevent infestation by mold or bugs.
Our goal is to provide our readers with engaging, high-quality content. And this is made possible thanks to our award-winning team, comprising dozens of experts from various fields and specializations. With our content, you can rest assured the information you are getting is beyond credible.
You may have come across a forgotten bag of sugar lying around in your pantry or you may have received several bags of sugar from a friend. Or, you may be looking to purchase several bags of sugar to store in your house.
And you may be asking yourself, does sugar go bad? Does sugar has an expiry date? What is the shelf life of sugar? If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place.
Shelf Life of White Sugar
White sugar is a common ingredient that you will find in almost all kitchens. We use it as a sweetener for various beverages such as tea and coffee. White sugar is also used in some baking recipes such as pastries and desserts. Without sugar, pastries won’t be as sweet as you like them.
Also, you can use white sugar as a preserving agent for jams and marmalades, just to name a few. And thanks to its moisturizing and exfoliating properties, you can also use it to prepare cosmetics like moisturizers, body scrubs and facemasks.
The question is, does white sugar expire? Well, white sugar can stay for up two years in your kitchen after you’ve opened it. And as much as it may be recommended to discard it after two years, white sugar’s shelf like is indefinite, with the right storage.
So, as much as white sugar may come with a best-by date of two years, it doesn’t mean you should throw it away. As long as you’ve stored your sugar properly in an airtight container, you can continue using it as long as you want.
Extending the Life of White Sugar
With proper storage, white sugar has an incredibly long shelf life. However, you can also extend its shelf life in two main ways.
First, if you have purchased or received a sack of white sugar, you should consider repackaging it into smaller bags. Ideally, you should store any sugar that you don’t intend to use any time soon in vacuum seal bags or mylar bags. And as for the sugar that you will be using, you can store it inside a bucket.
Another method of extending the life of your white sugar is by freezing it inside an airtight container. As long as the container remains sealed and keeps moisture out, then your white sugar can last as much as you want it to. But, you should be extra cautious with the freezing method, since the entry of moisture into the storage bag will ruin it.
Shelf Life of Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is used in a similar way to white sugar. Some of its most common uses include sweetening beverages, baked items, marinades, and sauces, among others. Therefore, it’s also a common kitchen staple. So, how can your brown sugar remain usable after purchasing it?
Just like white sugar, you can use brown sugar indefinitely. As long as it’s not exposed to moisture and air and you keep bugs away, you can continue using your brown sugar as long as possible.
However, some manufacturers of brown sugar tend to include a best-before-date of 18 months after opening. But, this doesn’t mean your brown sugar will be unsafe to consume after this period.
It will still be safe to consume. However, you may notice a slight change in its texture or taste. But even if it may have a slight change in texture or taste, it doesn’t mean you should throw it away. The only time you should throw away brown sugar is if it’s contaminated by bugs, mold or other contaminants, due to poor storage.
Reviving Hard Brown Sugar
Brown sugar tends to come with higher moisture content, compared to white sugar. And with time, it may turn hard, as a result of the moisture in its granules evaporating. However, this doesn’t mean that your brown sugar has gone bad. It’s still safe for consumption. You just need to revive it.
Some of the methods that you can use to revive brown sugar after it has turned hard include placing a slice of apple in its container, placing a slice of bread in its container, warming it in the oven and microwaving it in 10-second cycles. If you decide to use the microwave, don’t heat it for too long, since it may end up melting. Also, remember to handle it carefully since it will be hot.
Shelf Life of Powdered Sugar
Powdered sugar is simply granulated white sugar, which has been milled to form a powder. Therefore, its shelf life will be similar to that of granulated white sugar. Some manufacturers may recommend a shelf life of two years. However, with the right storage, it can last indefinitely.
How to Tell if Sugar is Spoilt
While sugar may have an indefinite shelf life with proper storage, there are some unique situations where you may have to dispose of it. Some of the situations that may necessitate you to get rid of your sugar include:
Presence of Mold
If you notice that mold is growing in your sugar, then it’s highly likely that moisture leaked into the bag. And, it’s not safe to consume mold-contaminated sugar. So, you should get rid of it and purchase a new bag.
Insects or Bugs in the Storage Container
Insects or bugs may find their way inside the bags or containers that you’ve used to store your sugar. Whether they are alive or dead, such sugar will not be safe to consume, since those bugs may have contaminated it. So, if you find any bugs or insects in your sugar, you should discard it right away.
Pure white sugar should be odorless while brown sugar should have a natural smell. Therefore, if your sugar has a strange smell, it may have been contaminated by another food in your pantry. And in such a case, you should get rid of it, regardless of its quantity.
How to Store Sugar Properly
As noted throughout this article, sugar can last indefinitely, if it’s stored properly. Regardless of whether it’s white granulated sugar, brown sugar or powdered sugar, make sure you store your sugar in a cool and dry place. Also, the place where you store your sugar should be away from sources of heat, both direct and indirect.
After you’ve opened your bag of sugar, you should transfer it to an airtight container. Sugar usually comes packed in polythene bags, which may not provide adequate protection from moisture. And that’s why you should transfer it to an airtight container.
About THE AUTHOR
I have over a decade of experience in food and beverage management, including a ServSafe food safety qualification. As part of this qualification, I have been professionally trained in safe food storage.Read More About Mark Walker