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Nov 20, 2007 02:30 AM

Black Treacle/Molasses: Expiration?

Black treacle seems to be what they call molasses here in England. At least I can't tell the difference, but maybe someone else knows about this?

Anyhow, my real question is this: I'd just made the gingerbread cake from the Silver Palate book last week and was putting away the tin of Lyle's Black Treacle when I noticed that on the lid of the tin, right under the expiration date, it said "Discard Upon Expiry."

I checked a few other items in my cupboard, including the can of Lyle's Golden Syrup, and didn't find this ominous instruction on any of them. So what do you think is going on? Is there something about molasses/black treacle that I don't know? Does it do something bad when it gets old?

I can't say I'm too worried; the cake turned out great even though the treacle was, in fact, a couple of months out of date! But I did toss the rest of the can, and bought a new one anyhow.

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  1. My understanding is that treacle is similar to molasses but not exactly the same. And I'm sure it's fine a couple of months past the expiration date.

    1. I agree with NYCkaren. I wouldn't worry too much about it. I did some looking around online for any information about it, and there is precious little. What I did find was that it is recommended to have a shelf life of 2 years after opening. I'd think it'd be used up way before then, after opening. As with any of those syrups, we don't want it to be growing mold. I know I've poured a thin layer of oil to "seal" the surface of a thick syrup to protect it from mold, but I doubt that it really made much difference. It didn't get moldy! LOL


      1 Reply
      1. re: violabratsche

        The expiration date on the lid of the jar of molasses that I just bought is 4 years in the future!


      2. Thanks for the replies! I wasn't too worried, and haven't died from eating the cake (and a spoonful or two from the can)...

        Just regarding what violabratsche said, I don't think you need worry about protecting a syrup from mold; the high sugar content is preservative enough. I have a bottle of simple syrup in the cabinet that's been there for more than a year--no mold. I'd think the oil you pour on top might go rancid before the syrup goes off!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Kagey

          I find treacle does not have the bitter taste molasses often does. Discarding unopened, past-date tins of treacle has to with the contents exploding when that tin is opened, not the deterioration of the treacle. At least that's what my tin of treacle says.

          1. re: Athena

            I use a dark unsulphured molasses (Grandma's brand), which the label describes as 'made form the pure juice of sun-rippened sugarcane ... with no sugar extracted.' So it is cane juice clarified and concentrated. This is distinct from sulphured which starts with green cane, and black strap, which is the concentrate left over after most of the sugar is extracted. Black strap is the bitter one, though it has a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals.

            Prior to looking this up, I thought that the stuff I used was pulled from the extraction process, just not as far along the line as black strap.

            I haven't been able to find a description of Lyle's Black Treacle, but I suspect it is similar to the dark unsulphured.


          2. re: Kagey

            LOL...too true, and it did...this was something I did years ago. I was reading about honey, and it's longevity. It occurred to me that other heavy syrups would be similar.


          3. If treacle is indeed molasses, it can't go bad. The high sugar content provides enough osmotic pressure to prevent anything from growing on it.

            You can keep molasses forever (in practice, I've had containers as old as 5 years that were totally fine).

            1 Reply
            1. re: greglor

              You are right paulj, Lyle's treacle is unsulphered molasses. I find Lyle's to have a smoother taste than Grandma's, but that's just my personal preferrence.

            2. I had a tin of treacle that I used once and forgot about. Years later, I was cleaning out the cupboard and found that the lid, which was tightly affixed, had expanded. It looked like it was going to blow right off. I noticed them same with the golden syrup. I carefully tossed both, and I'll surely be watching that expiry date in the future.