It is not an uncommon occurrence for homemakers to realize that they have some foods left unconsumed in their pantry or refrigerator. One of those foods that can be easily overlooked is brown sugar.
In case you found a jar containing brown sugar that has been stored in your pantry for quite a while, how would you know that it is still safe for consumption?
Does brown sugar ever go bad? And if it does, how does one store it to prevent spoilage?
Read on and find out how to tell if brown sugar has gone bad in this post.
Does brown sugar go bad?
Here’s a bit of good news--- brown sugar doesn’t really go bad. Sure, you can find a best before the date on the package. But the said timeframe pertains to its use for cooking.
The worst case scenario for brown sugar that has been left in the pantry for a long time is for it to form into a hard clump.
Why does brown sugar harden? This can be partly attributed to moisture in the sugar. When moisture evaporates, the brown sugar clumps together.
Yet this isn’t that a bad of a problem because you can always re-shape it after it has hardened.
Proper ways of storing brown sugar
While brown sugar doesn’t go bad, it doesn’t mean that you can just leave it in the pantry. There are still several tips that you should keep in mind when it comes to storing it.
One is that you should keep brown sugar in an airtight container. This may sound too basic but a lot of people tend to forget it. Storing sugar in an airtight container can prevent evaporation and also bugs from getting into it.
You can then keep the container in a cool and dry place.
But how do you keep the brown sugar soft and prevent it from forming into clumps?
Here’s one trick you can do: add a few pieces marshmallow in the container, just on top of the brown sugar. The moisture in the marshmallow would help keep the sugar soft.
If you don’t have marshmallows in your fridge, there are other ingredients that you can use to keep the brown sugar soft.
You can use terra cotta brown sugar savers, which you can get at almost any baking supply shop. In using these tiny terra cotta disks, soak it first in water before putting it in the container along with the brown sugar.
Slices of apple or bread can also be used in lieu of marshmallows.
How to restore brown sugar?
But what should you do in case the brown sugar you have in the pantry has hardened?
Here’s how to soften it. Place an organic orange peel in the container and let it stand there for a few hours. Make sure the peel is washed and dried well. The oils from the orange peel should soften the sugar.
You can also add a slice of bread to the jar of brown sugar. But it could take a few days for this method to work.
The fastest way to soften hardened brown sugar is to cover the container with a damp paper towel and then put it in the microwave. Heat it for 20 seconds.
What to do with leftover sugar?
What would you do with leftover brown sugar? There are plenty of recipes that require this sweet ingredient.
I’ll share a very simple dessert where you can put leftover brown sugar to good use. This recipe is easy to make you’ll only need 30 minutes of baking. You also don’t need a lot of ingredients for this.
- One and a half cup of all purpose flour
- One half teaspoon of baking soda
- One half teaspoon of salt
- One stick of unsalted butter
- A cup of brown sugar
- One egg
- One teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Half cup of blanched almonds
Step by step guide
- Whisk the baking soda, flour, and salt. Beat together the brown sugar and butter in a large bowl until it becomes pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.
- Using an electric mixer, mix in the flour mixture until you form a dough. Stir in the almonds.
- Divide the dough in half. With the aid of wax paper, form both pieces of dough into a log measuring about 9 inches long and 1.25 inches in diameter.
- Wrap the flour mixture in a plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the ref then cut it into thick slices about ⅛ inch.
- Rotate each log after every slice so that you would end up with round shaped dough.
- Arrange the cookies on the baking sheets with a distance of about half an inch from each other.
- Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Let them cool before serving.
So the next time you discover brown sugar that has been stored in the pantry or ref for months or years; don’t worry. The sugar is still safe for consumption. Brown sugar doesn’t go bad although it can form into clumps.
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