Can sugar go bad? Sugar is one of the components that can be found in almost every house. Most of us use it to sweeten tea, coffee or other drinks. It is also often used in bakery – sugar is one of the most important components needed to bake a cake. Because of that, it’s good to know how long does it last, how one should store it and whether it expires. If you’ll read along, you’ll get to know all that information within the next minute or two. All the information in this article is true for each white, brown and powdered sugar.
How long does sugar last?
When it comes to the shelf life of sugar, it is pretty much indefinite. That means you can keep it for years and after that time it will still be fine to use. However, there are some minor issues with sugar. Hardening is the first one and I’m pretty sure you know about it. There are some ways to store sugar so it won’t harden. First and foremost, keep sugar away from any kind of moisture. Sugar is a huge water absorber, so when it finds even a tiny bit of water, it absorbs the water and sugar starts to harden forming clumps. This isn’t unsafe for the sugar itself, but it makes scooping a tiny amount of sugar pretty difficult.
You should also remember to keep sugar from any sources of heat. Storing it above stoves, ovens or anywhere near heaters isn’t a good idea. Why? Heat will cause condensation, which turns steam into water drops, and those water drops will be absorbed immediately. If your sugar is in clumps, have no fear – you can easily break it using a tool as simple as a fork.
Image used under Creative Commons from warrenski
Another thing about storing sugar that is worth remembering is that it should be stored sealed. This way any bugs won’t be able to reach it (bugs in sugar are probably the biggest problem). If you wish, you can reinforce the tightness of the bag by putting it into another one, preferably a heavy-duty plastic bag.
Does sugar expire?
As I’ve mentioned earlier, sugar doesn’t expire. Of course most producers place a “Use By" or “Best By" date on the package, but it’s not like after that date sugar will be probably “bad" or “spoiled". When it’s stored properly, you can keep it for a long time (if you use as much sugar as a typical person does, it won’t keep that long in your pantry). Probably the worst probable situation is when bugs reach the sugar. If you’ll notice any bugs in the package, you should get rid of the package immediately and open another one.
As you can see, the answer to the main question “can sugar go bad" is negative – if you’ll store sugar properly, it won’t spoil or expire, it can last many years and still be fine. Just make sure any moisture or bugs can’t reach it and it’ll be fine.