When Does Maple Syrup Expire? Here's How To Store It!

Does maple syrup expire is one of the most frequent questions we get at Saratoga Maple from customers? If you store it the right way, your maple syrup can last literally forever! Maple syrup is a delicious condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. However, if you don't store your maple syrup properly, it could grow mold on the surface or take on the flavors of what it's stored in or around. Keep reading to learn how to store your maple syrup properly so that it lasts for a long time.

What is Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is a sweet substance that is made from the sap of the maple tree. It is a popular condiment and can be used in a variety of dishes.  Because maple syrup is a super saturated sugar, it is impossible for bacteria, mold or anything else to grow in the syrup, it can only grow where it comes in contact with air.  This means if you do get mold on your maple, you can simply scrape it off the top, reheat the syrup to 180 degrees or more and then put it back away.  

How long does Maple Syrup Last?

Maple syrup can last near forever if it is stored properly.  If the maple container is sealed and unopened, keep it stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. A pantry or cabinet is a good option.  It's best stored in glass, then plastic, and finally in lined tin.  Generally, if you are storing syrup for a long period of time, glass containers are the best option but the syrup should be kept out of direct sunlight, especially when stored in glass bottles.

Once maple syrup is opened, keep it in the fridge or freezer in a sealed container.  Maple syrup will not freeze, it will just get extremely thick when kept at low temperatures.  The freezer is the easiest and best way to keep opened syrup for the long term.  You can also keep maple syrup in the fridge for the shorter term and for easier pouring. When actively using the syrup, the container may get sugar crystals around the cap making it hard to open.  Just run some hot water over the cap and the sugar will dissolve, and the cap will easily open again. The refrigerator will stop mold from growing for up to 2 years and that is long enough for most people to use the bottle. If you have more than two years worth, put the excess in the freezer.  Here it can be store indefinitely.

Sometimes you may see some sugar crystals form in the bottom of the syrup container.  This is not a sign of spoilage, but rather just the extra sugar falling out of the syrup itself.  You can reheat the maple syrup and stir or shake those back into the solution.

As with any natural product, using the product on a regular basis and keeping a fresh supply coming into the house is preferred.  While pure maple syrup won't expire, it may pick up the flavor of the refrigerator or in rare instances, the container it is packaged in.   

What are the Different Types of Maple Syrup Products?

There are many different maple syrup products. All of these generally use the same rule of thumb, when sealed, they won't go bad but once opened, keep refrigerated or frozen.

- Maple Cream or Maple Butter: This product is nothing but pure maple syrup.  However, in general maple cream is made using a process where it cannot be hot packaged and should be refrigerated or frozen to retard mold growth.  Sometimes some liquid syrup will form on top of the cream.  This is not a problem and is normal, simply stir the syrup back into the maple butter before spreading.

- Maple Candy: Maple candy is made with pure maple sugar.  As long as it is kept in a container where it can breathe, it cannot grow mold on the surface.  It does tend to get stale when left to sit around.  Maple candy is best kept in the freezer or refrigerator prior to eating and then consumed as quickly as possible.

- Maple Jelly: This spreadable delight is maple syrup and genugel and is hot packed to stay fresh.  Once opened, maple jelly should be kept refrigerated for long term freshness.

- Maple Coffee : Maple syrup coffee is a popular treat and is generally made by roasting the beans with maple syrup to add the taste without the sugar.  It should be stored like any coffee, in the freezer when not in use.  Maple coffee k-cups are vacuum sealed and generally last for 3+ years on the shelf.

How Can I Tell If My Maple Syrup Is Gone Bad?

While real maple syrup won't "go bad" it certainly can become something you do not want to eat.  The best way to check on your maple syrup is to smell it or take a small taste.  If it smells good and tastes good, it is good!  If there is mold on the surface or in the container, you can scrape it off or strain the syrup through a cheese cloth to remove all of the mold pieces.  Since mold cannot grow inside syrup, there should only be surface mold.  

It is entirely possible that the maple syrup may have picked up some off taste from the container or its surroundings if it has been stored for a long time.  While it may not be "bad," you should discard it because no one wants to eat bad tasting syrup!

Can Maple Syrup Get Moldy?

While maple syrup is less prone to mold growth than other sweeteners, such as honey, it is still possible for mold to grow on the surface of maple syrup. With any super-saturated solution, there is not enough oxygen for the mold spores to actually grow inside the syrup, so it can only grow where it comes in contact with air. When the syrup is packaged, it is done so at a temperature that kills mold spores, so you do not need to worry about mold on the surface until after it has been opened for the first time.

Once you open your maple syrup, you will need to prevent mold growth. To do this it's important to store your maple syrup properly. Make sure to keep your real maple syrup in a refrigerator or freezer. Additionally, it can help to use a clean utensil when scooping out your syrup to prevent introducing mold spores. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that your maple syrup stays fresh and mold-free for longer.

Real Maple Syrup Care and Storage Tips 

If you want to make sure that nature's sweetness is preserved for the long haul, remember that the refrigerator and freezer are your friend.  Maple Syrup keeps best cold to slow down things that can grow on the surface.  In general, if the syrup looks good, smells good, and tastes good, it is!  Keep your maple syrup stored the right way and it will last for years of enjoyment!

Does Maple Syrup Need to be Refrigerated?

The best way to stop mold from growing on the surface of real maple syrup is to keep it cool once opened.  If the container is sealed, it can sit on a shelf for a long time. However, once the syrup is exposed to air, it should be kept cold.  The easiest way to do this is in the refrigerator. While maybe using the fridge isn't a necessity, the answer to should maple syrup be refrigerated is most likely yes! 

Because maple syrup is such an easy thing to store, it makes for great mail order Christmas gifts.  There is no need to worry that it won't get to the recipient and not be in good condition! It is also why maple syrup is often chosen as a realtor closing gift.  It make a lasting impression on the new homeowner.