Imagine this: You wake up one-morning craving pancakes with lots and lots of maple syrup.
So you stood up, went straight to your kitchen, and whipped up some pancakes. After your pancake cook-off, it’s time for the best part—drizzling the maple syrup all over your pancakes.
But upon opening your pantry, you freeze in your tracks when you see the empty bottle of empty syrup.
So what do you do know?
You decided just to throw away the pancakes, but you chose to look at your pantry one more time. And that’s when you found it—the old bottle of corn syrup collecting dust at the back of your pantry.
You have no idea how long the bottle has been there, but that’s okay since corn syrup lasts long, right, or is it?
So you stand there, asking yourself, does corn syrup go bad?
Here’s the deal: Corn syrup can go bad. However, it can last indefinitely when stored properly.
Do you want to know how to store corn syrup? Then, you’ve come to the right article.
In this post, we’ll tackle the following issues:
Continue reading if you’re ready to know more about corn syrup, its shelf life and its proper storage.
Does Corn Syrup Go Bad?
Corn syrup is one of the most commonly used sweeteners in the food industry, and it’s produced by breaking down corn starch through an enzyme reaction.
Like all food items, corn syrup will also go bad. But what makes it different is its very long shelf life which we can attribute to its sugar content.
Let’s look at the process of food spoilage in detail. Bacterial growth is what causes food to spoil. At this point, the food will no longer be safe for consumption.
But here’s the good news: Bacteria will have difficulty growing in foods rich in sugar like corn syrup. This is because sugar inhibits bacterial growth. (*)
Unfortunately, there’s an exception to this rule. When corn syrup isn’t stored properly, its integrity gets compromised, increasing spoilage risk.
How Long Does Corn Syrup Last?
What is the shelf life of corn syrup? As we’ve mentioned, the corn syrup shelf life is quite long. In fact, it may even have an indefinite shelf life. But of course, we’ll have to pay attention to the printed date on its container.
Big news: The printed date on the corn syrup bottle is not its expiration date, but rather, the best by date.
The best by date indicates when you can expect the syrup to be still at its peak quality. Beyond that date, you can still safely consume the syrup, but its taste and quality will already start to deteriorate.
Once opened, the corn syrup can last for 6 months. The corn syrup can last for many years beyond the best by date when still unopened.
How to Tell if Corn Syrup Is Bad
To keep it short and sweet, you can still consume corn syrup even if it’s past the best by date– as long as it still has no signs of spoilage.
That’s why it’s always best to err on the side of safety by inspecting the syrup’s appearance, smell, texture, and taste before using it.
To tell if corn syrup has gone bad, here are the signs to look for:
1. Less viscous consistency
If the syrup’s consistency is already as flowy as water, it may be contaminated by water, which is a big no-no. This significantly affects the functional property of the syrup, so throw it right away.
2. Foreign particles on the syrup
The syrup should be clear and free of food particles, so if you notice something at the bottom or food particles floating at the surface of the syrup, it indicates contamination, so discard it right away.
3. Cloudy and hazy appearance
As mentioned, corn syrup must be clear and not cloudy. The hazy appearance is not a good sign, so ditch the syrup once it shows a cloudy appearance.
4. Bad odor
There will be times when the syrup will become discolored. Sometimes, it will take on a slightly yellow hue. The good news is it’s normal for clear corn syrup to turn yellowish, as mentioned on the Karo Syrup website.
But to be safe, you should smell the syrup. If it has a sour or off smell, discard it immediately.
5. Weird Taste
Do a taste test using only a small amount to determine if the glucose syrup is excellent for you to consume. If the glucose syrup tastes sour or bitter, discard it right away.
How to Store Corn Syrup
When stored improperly, corn syrup will go bad fast, and that’s why you need to learn how to store it the right way. The great news is storing corn syrup is not exactly rocket science. You should store corn syrup the same way you store other liquid sweeteners like maple syrup.
With that said, here are some of the food storage tips that you need to know:
- First, keep the corn syrup in a dry place.
Moisture is corn syrup’s biggest enemy, so the most important thing you should do is look for a dry place where you can store corn syrup.
- Place the syrup in a sealed container or seal the lid tightly.
Also, make sure that the lid of the syrup’s original container is properly sealed.
If the original container isn’t airtight, the next best thing you should do is transfer it to an airtight container.
- Store the syrup at room temperature.
One fantastic thing about it is you don’t need to refrigerate corn syrup. It’s wonderful to store it at room temperature, regardless of whether it’s opened or unopened. That’s why it can be stored at room temperature so you can place it in your pantry or kitchen cabinet.
- Keep it away from heat.
Another thing that you should protect corn syrup from is heat, as it can damage the syrup’s flavor and quality.
That’s why you must store corn syrup away from heat sources like your stove or oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Bottom Line
In essence, corn syrup may have a long shelf life, but it can still go bad—just like most sweeteners that we use.
An opened bottle can last for 6 months, while an unopened bottle can be used years past the syrup’s best before date. But without proper storage, it will go bad faster.
We already did our part by sharing with you the food storage tips that can help extend your syrup’s shelf life. Now, it’s your turn to apply all these tips and make the most out of your corn syrup.
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