Does Brown Sugar Go Bad? Here’s What We Found!

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Brown sugar is a healthier version of sugar for your regular diet. Storing sugar and rice for an entire month or year is a common practice among Asians. In fact, we now find Americans and Europeans as well following the same practice with brown sugar in order to save money and time.

Now is it really safe to consume brown sugar which is one years old? Can brown sugar really go bad? You might have a myriad of questions regarding the shelf-life of brown sugar, storage methods of brown and what not. Now there is no need to start panicking already, we are here to solve all your queries about brown sugar with the elaborative research that we have performed.

Brown sugar and its long shelf-life

Unlike other dessert ingredients, the longevity of brown sugar is quite high. The safe period of storage lasts up to multiple years as well. Ideally, brown sugar is supposed to sustain for years to come if stored in a proper manner. The packages of brown sugar do not usually come with expiration.

One usually assumes that brown sugar does not go bad at all. Well, if other factors are kept constant then yes, brown sugar is immortal! Its shelf life is forever. However, the brown sugar can go bad if not kept under proper conditions. Hence, the storage method is important here.

Our recommendation would be that storing brown sugar for around 4 to 5 years in a decent storage space should be safe to consume. One shouldn’t take risk of their health when it comes to food intake.

It’s better to buy the amount depending on 4 to 5 years’ usage needs and not more than that. Storing too much brown sugar requires more storage space which leads to various other inconvenient factors in the situation. Hence, it is better to make an estimate of your monthly sugar needs and buy sugar supply for a maximum of two years to be on the safe side.

Convenient and easy brown sugar storage ideas

Brown sugar can be used for years and years if you store them properly. Usually we find people storing them in the pantry. That may or may not be suitable for brown sugar storage depending on the location. Here’s what we usually do in order to store brown sugar.

The storage space should be cool and dry

Notice the two keywords here ‘cool’ and ‘dry’. Yes, the brown sugar should be stored in a place with moderate temperature. High temperature tends to ruin the texture of the brown sugar. Not that it will become inedible but it will look bad to see. By cool, we do not mean too cool!

Do not refrigerate the sugar. The fridge has its moisture and the cold temperature will harden the brown sugar. Some of the common storage spaces for brown sugar are pantry, cupboard or simply at a convenient place in the kitchen. You need to make sure about one thing that when you keep it in the kitchen, it does not stay too close to the radiator or oven. In that case, the sugar texture might get distorted.

Next, the emphasis needs to be on the word ‘dry’ meaning you must keep the brown sugar away from water. Brown sugar can absorb moisture from the environment. With this moisture, they tend to form bonds and thus you will find large chunks of sugar getting clustered together. Now, it’s not that the sugar has gone bad precisely but it gets difficult for you to mix them properly.

Use insulated containers or sealed bags

The ideal situation is not to open the packaging of sugar when you buy them from the market. But if you have opened it, you must put them into an insulated container away from air and bugs. If air goes inside the sugar container, the brown sugar will become hardened.

The reason for this hardening is that brown sugar has the capacity to absorb moisture content from the air. Using hardened brown sugar might be problematic for you. Since brown sugar is a sweet ingredient contamination by bugs including ants, flies, moths etc. is not uncommon at all.

In fact, most of the time brown sugar goes bad due to bug contamination. Hence, keeping in sealed plastic bags or airtight containers will keep your brown sugar protected for years to come

Hard brown sugar is not bad!

Hard brown sugar is not bad!

Despite your efforts in storing the brown sugar in a cool and dry place, the brown sugar might go hard. Understand that hard brown sugar is not bad. You can still consume the sugar and it is not harmful for your health at all. But yes, it becomes a bit difficult while mixing. So what to do with hard brown sugar?

Take the sugar out beforehand

If you have been storing brown sugar for a long period of time, the first recommendation would be to take them out beforehand. The reason is that when you store brown sugar for quite a long time, the probability of the sugar getting hard is much higher.

With normal meals, you usually require a spoonful of sugar instead of bulk amounts. When the sugar gets hardened, taking small amounts is a problem. Hence, keep the sugar out before few hours of consumption so that you can apply some remedy to restore the sugar in its original form.

Use Fork or Electric mixer

Using force with fork can break the hard sugar into small pieces. The small pieces of chunks can be used for mixing them in water. You can also use the help of electric mixer in this case.

Using force with fork might get a bit tedious for you. This method for breaking hard brown sugar is usually used when you need to use the sugar right away.

Smashing with the bag

This might sound funny to you but the trick usually works. Take the lumps of brown sugar in a jute bag and smash them against a hard counter or wall. It’s better to take in small amounts of sugar lumps in this case.

Otherwise, it will become difficult to lift or apply pressure during smashing. Also do not smash too hard, that might be problematic to the wall!

Use an apple wedge

This is actually the most convenient way to deal with hard brown sugar. Remember, we told you to take the sugar out before few hours of usage. Simply put on apple wedge inside the sugar container.

The lumps will be broken down into small parts within few hours. In this way, you do not have to put in much effort in breaking the large lumps.

Microwave for few minutes

You can also microwave the brown sugar for around a minute or two. This will soften the sugar and you can break them apart easily. But do not again store those warm sugars for a long period of time. Use those sugars for cooking something else or you can store them for a week or two.

When to get concerned?

We have been discussing the positives of brown sugar until now. The fact that it has a high longevity and under normal conditions, the brown sugar is considered to be immortal! The sweetness of the brown sugar makes it susceptible to bug contamination.

The ants love sweets just as much as we do! Hence, getting contaminated with ants is the most common phenomenon; specifically when you do not store the sugar in an insulated container. When you find bugs within the brown sugar, this is time when you need to get concerned.

It is safer to discard the brown sugar than consume them. It’s not that the brown sugar itself has been ruined but the bugs might carry germs and other infections. To save yourself from this trouble, listen to us and store the sugar in an airtight container.

What to do with leftover brown sugar?

When you have small chunks of brown sugar left, instead of storing them raw, store them in the form of food for few days. Yes, turn the brown sugar into some wonderful treats for the day.

Chocolate chip cookie

Chocolate chip cookie

Who doesn’t love some small bites of chocolate chip cookie for the day? With small chunks of brown sugar, feel free to bake some homemade chocolate cookies for the day. The best part about baking cookies at home is that you can use as much chocolate chips as you want!

You don’t have to be specific with chocolate chip numbers just as the store cookies. You can use this chocolate chip cookie recipe. It’s simple and tastes crunchy and chocolaty from the inside. 

Gingerbread cake

Gingerbread cake

Gingerbread cookies are one of the favorite holiday treats. Who would’ve thought that gingerbread could be turned into amazing cakes! This is why we love cooking so much. You can get as creative and innovative you like. Some buttery caramel sauce over the gingerbread is the perfect combination we tell you. This gingerbread cake is one of our favorites.

Apple pie

Apple pie

Grab some apples and bake an apple pie for lunch or dinner. Whether you have guests coming over or not, an apple pie always lifts up the mood. With your leftover brown sugar, you have the perfect excuse to enjoy a giant piece of apple pie for yourself.

This apple pie recipe is a simple one with brown sugar as one of the core ingredients. Just add a bit of cinnamon and ginger flavor and you will have your favorite apple pie ready in no time.

Shortbread cookies

Shortbread cookies

Did someone mention cookies again? Shortbread cookies are one of our favorite cookie types, in fact the second most favorite after chocolate chip cookies. Be it during the holidays or in a lazy afternoon, nobody can resist a bite from the shortbread cookies.

When you some brown sugar leftovers, you can easily use them to bake some lovely shortbread cookies for everyone! If you think baking cookies requires too much ingredient, you are wrong! If you are less on supplies, you can try this amazing shortbread cookie recipe that involves only 3 ingredients. 

Final Verdict

So what do you think? Can brown sugar go bad? Our answer is that usually brown sugar will not go bad. All you have to do is store them in an insulated container in a cool and dry place. 

Brown sugar only goes bad when it is contaminated with bugs. And if you have read our article, you probably already know how to save sugar from the bugs.

5/5 - (17 votes)

1 thought on “Does Brown Sugar Go Bad? Here’s What We Found!”

  1. Thank you for this article. I was looking for answers as my newly arrived on-line order (3 bags) of brown sugar was 10-months past the best before date. I was refunded but wondered if it’s safe to use anyway. It looks and smells good. Before throwing them out I’ll test a recipe and see. Have a great day!

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Jeannie Smith

With a bachelor’s degree in food science, Jeannie is current with all the latest dietary and nutri...

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