Should You Refrigerate Maple Syrup? Here's What the Experts Say
Thick and sweet, maple syrup is used for more than just topping your buttermilk pancakes at breakfast time. It can be used to make savory dishes a little sweeter, give butter more flavor, and add a taste of fall to your pumpkin pie. Because it's a pantry staple found among other dry goods at the grocery store, you might be wondering: does maple syrup needs to be refrigerated? This is the case for many sauces and condiments once opened, and maple syrup is no different. Here we'll cover whether maple syrup goes bad left at room temperature and how to store maple syrup to keep it tasting its best as long as possible.
Pure Maple Syrup vs Table Syrup
To know how to store your syrup, it helps to know what kind of syrup you have. Pure maple syrup ($7, Target) is made by concentrating the sap of a sugar maple tree. Straight from the tree, the liquid is clear and slightly sweet. To get it to the state you find in pure maple syrup bottles on store shelves, the liquid heads to what's known as a sugarhouse and is processed through an evaporator that boils the sap down into syrup. Pure maple syrup is different than table syrup, which is commonly referred to as maple syrup. The table syrup ($3, Target) stocked next to pure maple syrup is also shelf-stable, but made from a combination of corn syrup and/or high fructose corn syrup along with caramel coloring to achieve a flavor and color similar to pure maple syrup.
How to Store Maple Syrup
Should your maple syrup go in the pantry or the fridge? The answer is both. According to the pros at Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, pure maple syrup is hot-packed and therefore shelf-stable. When unopened, you can store pure maple syrup for at least a year (or more) in the pantry at room temperature. Once opened, you'll need to store it in the fridge. Since it's a natural product with no preservatives, pure maple syrup can go bad. Once opened, store pure maple syrup in the refrigerator to prevent it from spoiling or growing mold. Since table syrup isn't made from the pure, natural syrup that comes directly from trees, there's no need to refrigerate it once it's opened.