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Why does pure maple syrup need to be refrigerated afer opening?

The stuff is like gold..........I know.

I purchase a large container (for a small fortune mind you) and transfer it to a pourable container so that the family does not over-pour on their breakfast plate. Usually, the larger container holds about twice the smaller so there's often actually 2 containers of syrup in the fridge.

But..........for some reason, the last person to fill the pour-able container put the 1/2 empty jug back in the pantry by mistake. I have no idea how long it had been there so begrudgingly, I had to pour it all out.

The family all argued that since it smelled and looked fine, it should be OK. I showed them all the "refrigerated after opening" label but also questioned what is in pure maple syrup to go bad??

I stuck by my philosophy "when in doubt.......throw it out" but am curious if anyone has the answer??

(PS. there was no swelling or expansion of the container and did not make a "release of gas" sound when opened)

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  1. It doesn't have sufficient sugar in it to keep it from getting moldy. But if it's not moldy it's gonna be fine.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      What Will says. And even if it has some growth on top, you can skim it, boil it, skim again whatever floats, and the rest will be fine. Oh well.

      1. re: Will Owen

        If it gets mold on the surface, skim it off with a spoon, no big deal.

      2. I kept it in the pantry for years, then I had a gallon of it go moldy. I now store it in the fridge.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pikawicca

          I keep mine in the fridge now too, due to a mold incident with the last third of a bottle. It didn't look moldy but it sure smelled it. It's expensive but it's so worth it.

        2. As others have said, you can store it at room temperature, but it may go moldy. But if you find some white stuff on the top, you can skim it off, boil and strain the syrup, and still use it.

          1. The Maple Syrup Cookbook cautions against long-term storage in a tin container, because the tin can impart a metallic flavor to the syrup, and may rust. It suggests refrigerating in glass, and freesing in glass for longer-term storage (over 6 mos.), since plastic is air-permeable so can affect taste. As already mentioned, if there is mold it should be strained out, then the syrup boiled and rebottled in clean glass.

            1. The short answer is because microorganisms like bacteria and mold like dark, sweet, room temperature things.Maple syrup has no "preservatives", which actually are agents to prevent the microorganisms growth. And just because you can't see discoloration or smell anything doesn't mean it isn't there - it takes lots of the critters to make a visible spot. Sorry to waste the syrup but you did the right thing. (Too many years as a nurse to ignore contamination questions.)