Does maple syrup go bad? Properly stored, no but it can undergo some changes. This includes crystallization and potential for mold forming on-top if given enough time.
Maple syrup is made from the watery sap produced by maple trees. This sap contains sugar that is stored in the roots and transported to to buds each spring. As the sap flows from the buds the sweetened liquid is collected and excess water removed to make the syrup. This means that it is just water and sugar and both don’t expire but they can become contaminated.
Maple Sugar Crystals
The first way that syrup can go bad or become contaminated is with sugar crystals. This is actually perfectly fine and the syrup is still edible if you find crystals. Most syrup is made to a lighter density but at a slightly higher density it can crystallize easier. Don’t hesitate to consume it if you find crystals at the bottom of your container.
Mold on maple syrup
The second way that maple syrup can go bad is mold forming on the surface. This typically happens when the container was not properly packed or stored. You should not see mold on top of unopened containers, even if they have been sitting for years.
When the syrup is packed, it is heated to about 190 degrees and then decanted into containers and immediately closed. As it cools it vacuum seals and this vacuum should remain preventing mold from forming.
If the vacuum is broken and the syrup opened, it needs to be refrigerated to prevent mold from forming on the top. If it is left out, mold will form a few weeks at room temperature.
Some producers will advise consumers that they can skim the mold off the top and re-heat the syrup to 190 degrees but this is an older practice and it’s up to you if you want to try and recover your syrup. The syrup itself is still fine but many consumers don’t want to go through that.
Maple Syrup Expiration Dates
It’s true that some syrup containers will have expiration dates. These are mostly commercial brands that are a blend from Canada and from different producers sold in a grocery store. This does not mean that the syrup has gone bad. Grocery stores require expiration dates on all products so they can know when to rotate stocks but it doesn’t mean that the syrup expired or went bad.
Hopefully this helps and makes you feel more confident knowing that maple syrup does not go bad and what can happen to it. Be sure to check out our recipes that use maple syrup! If you have any suggestions for other Guides related to maple syrup, be sure to email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.