Does Maple Syrup Need to Be Refrigerated? Experts Weigh In

If you’ve ever stored an open bottle of maple syrup in your pantry and were met with mold, this information is for you.

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Think that prized (and pricey) maple syrup in your pantry is going to last forever? Unfortunately, that's far from the truth. It turns out, proper storage is key to making your syrup last as long as possible. We asked experts for tips on keeping your favorite already-opened bottle fresh—and to settle the debate about whether maple syrup needs to be stored in the refrigerator or the pantry. Here's exactly how to store your syrup, along with some clever ideas for using up the remainder of the bottle before it goes bad.

Refrigerating Maple Syrup

Indeed, even the biggest maple syrup lovers will rarely use a whole container all at once. When unopened, pure maple syrup has a long shelf life. But once it's opened, the exposure to oxygen means that your syrup will start to deteriorate. So what do you do with the rest of an open container?

According to Erin Lynch, an expert from Maple from Canada, there are two simple rules for keeping maple syrup once it's open:

  • Avoid prolonged air exposure.
  • Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Read: The pantry is not the place for your precious bottle. There's science behind this storage method. According to research conducted by Barbara Drake at Ohio State University's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, the three main enemies of maple syrup are air, time, and temperature. Even if the container hasn't been opened, the university researchers recommend placing your maple syrup in the refrigerator immediately after purchase. "If this is not possible, consider freezing the syrup," states the report.

Maple syrup packaged in tin or glass can be stored for up to one year in the refrigerator in its original container. But because plastic 'breathes,' the OSU experts advise repackaging an unopened or opened plastic syrup bottle into a glass jar if you plan to store it for more than three months.

"If excess water is present, or if containers are not clean when filled, bacteria, yeast, or mold may grow during storage," the study says. "Do not simply remove the mold and reheat the product. Some microorganisms produce toxins as they grow, and these toxins could make you sick. The product should be discarded."

Maple Syrup Ideas

If you're in search of a fun way to put almost-expired maple syrup to work, try these genius hacks from the pros at Maple from Canada. Just remember, if you see any signs of mold or spoilage, toss the remainder and start fresh.

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Make maple ice cubes.

maple syrup ice cubes

If you mix 1/2 cup pure maple syrup and 1 1/4 cup warm water and pour into an ice cube mold and freeze, you will have some naturally sweetened ice cubes to drop into your favorite iced tea, cocktail, or cold brew coffee.

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Cook your own maple candy.

maple syrup candies

Did you know that you can make that special maple candy you used to bring home as a kid easily at home? Just boil pure maple syrup to 235℉ using a candy thermometer, cool it down to 175℉, and stir to thicken. Then pour the mixture into candy molds and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

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Use it as a sugar substitute.

maple syrup to sugar

Pure maple syrup can be used as a more nutritious substitute for white sugar in baking as well as glazes, rubs, or barbecue sauces. To substitute for a cup of sugar, just reduce the quantity to 1/4 cup of liquid in the recipe.

Finally, keep in mind that real maple syrup is made with only one ingredient: 100 percent pure maple syrup. Other ingredients on the label? It's likely closer to corn syrup.

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