Molasses is a super thick and goopy syrup that comes from sugar cane. In the culinary world, sugar is well-known for its ability to store for prolonged periods of time. But, does that mean it can simply last forever and that very little care needs to be taken when storing it? Well, the simple answer is not exactly. Nevertheless, you may well be surprised at just how long this versatile ingredient can last.
So, if you have stocked up on gallons of molasses for your baking, marinade, and cooking purposes, you are unlikely to have too many problems. By following the advice and guidelines below, you should be able to ensure that you never need to throw away gone off molasses ever again. So, if this is something you’re interested in, read on and we’ll give you all the info we have on how to store molasses and how long it can last.
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Does Molasses Go Bad?
Though an incredibly resilient food product, molasses does have both a sell-by date and expiry date that will need to be observed to a degree. However, with due care, molasses can be stored for far longer than the sell-by date without any real difficulty. So, though it can last, it isn’t like honey that can keep indefinitely.
How Do I Store Molasses?
The main weakness of molasses is that it is sensitive to both heat and moisture. Should it be exposed to too much of either element, it can go bad quite badly – sometimes even growing mold in the process. This can raise a few complications as molasses actively absorbs any moisture that is in the air it comes into contact with. So, with unopened bottles or cans of molasses, it of utmost importance that you check the integrity of the packaging before you buy it and bring it home. After checking this, the best way to store it is in a cool dark area in the home. Avoid areas where there are frequent temperature changes, as this can harm your molasses.
Once a bottle of molasses has been opened, there is still no real need to transfer it into another container, or into the fridge. What is most important is that it comes into contact with as little air and moisture as possible. This means leaving the bottle open for the least amount of time that you can. Leaving it open will cause the molasses to absorb any moisture that is present in the air, and in the worst-case scenario, a fly may be attracted by the sweet smell. In either event, this will allow for the growth of bacteria. By being vigilant on this, an opened bottle of molasses may well last just as long as an unopened one.
Should You Refrigerate Molasses?
There is absolutely no reason to refrigerate unopened bottles of molasses as it won’t do anything to prolong its already very long lifespan. However, there is some logic to refrigerating opened bottles of the syrup. Doing this can add a little extra lifespan to your molasses, but this comes with a cost. At the temperatures in your fridge, the molasses will become even thicker than it is at pantry temperature. This can make it pretty awkward and annoying to use, but if you are willing to accept such a trade-off, this might be a good option for you.
Can You Freeze Molasses?
Technically, molasses can indeed be frozen, as can most foodstuffs. However, though it is possible we can’t really recommend doing it. Given that molasses can last for a very long time, we would recommend leaving it to fend for itself and using the precious freezer space for more perishable items instead. If you absolutely insist on freezing some for use in the next decade, make sure to use an airtight container as the atmosphere in the freezer is actually pretty moist.
How Long Does Molasses Last?
As we have hinted at, an unopened bottle of molasses lasts long enough to satisfy the needs of even the most hard core of doomsday preppers. Though each separate manufacturer will give a sell-by date for their product, we have reason to believe that they are generally being quite conservative with their estimates. Exactly how safe they are playing it is up for debate though. In some cases, molasses that is years beyond the sell-by date will be totally unchanged from when it came from the store. In other cases, it seems like the sell-by date is pretty accurate. Given that in most cases, the worst thing that can happen to your molasses is that it will lose its flavor after a point, we would recommend that you use it no later than two years after the sell-by.
How long an opened bottle of molasses will stay good really depends on how well it has been stored. Though it is inevitable that the flavor of the molasses will begin to fade a bit quicker than an unopened one, the difference isn’t really all that dramatic. We would estimate that an opened bottle of molasses will retain its quality for a maximum of up to one year after its sell-by date has passed. After this point, it may not necessarily be spoiled as such, but the quality of it will have faded to such a point that it really won’t be worth keeping. If you are concerned that your molasses may have hit this point prematurely, we have compiled some info below that will help you to identify whether or not it has gone off.
How Do I Make Molasses Last Longer?
The key to making your molasses last as long as possible is really quite simple. In most cases, the only thing that will cause your molasses to fade prematurely is too much contact with either air or heat. So, when purchasing it, make sure that the bottle has been kept out of direct sunlight in the store. When you get it home, make sure it is closed 100% of the time that it is not in use.
Signs That Your Molasses May Have Gone Off
Though it is relatively rare, sometimes molasses can go off pretty badly. In a lot of cases, this will have happened because it has been left open and perhaps attracted a fly or some other type of insect. A simple visual examination of the contents of your bottle should reveal whether or not this has happened without any real difficulty. It is also worth looking out for some more obvious signs of spoilage such as mold or a foul odor emanating from the bottle. In any of these cases, the entirety of the contents will need to be disposed of. If the molasses has passed these criteria, the only remaining thing to do is to have a tiny taste. It may then prove to be the case that the molasses has simply lost some of its quality over time. At such a point, though it will still be safe to use, it won’t add the same bang to the recipe you are putting together. In general, if you are in any doubt, the best course of action is to chuck it out.