Old Maple Syrup – Does it go bad?

October 28, 2010

From time to time I get an email asking whether old maple syrup can go bad.  Yes, it can, and the enemy is usually a specific type of fungus.  Yuck, read on…

First, maple syrup wet and extremely high in sugar.  All that sugar has a drying effect.  It pull water out of cells.  Only a few fungus types can grow in such an environment including xerophiles who enjoy dryer conditions.  Some Xerophiles also like to snack on dried fruits, jams, salted meats, nuts, and of course pure maple syrup.

To avoid maple syrup going bad, producers will normally heat sterilize maple syrup before selling it.  This kills the mold spores and ensures that the syrup can sit around at room temperature in a sealed  container while it is waiting to be sold.  One you open a jug or bottle of maple syrup it should be stored in your refrigerator.  The cool temperatures will inhibit the growth of any mold that may have been introduced after opening the container.

If your maple syrup has gone bad you might find little pea-sized fungus colonies floating in it.  You can choose to throw it out but I personally feel comfortable fishing the fungus out with a fork and reboiling the syrup to kill the rest of the mold.  The problem with this is that as the syrup nears the boiling point it will begin to precipitate.  That just means it tastes a little gritty afterwards.  It is perfectly ok to eat though.


Fake maple syrup has less resistance to spoiling since sodium benzoate and sorbic acid are added to it.  Yuck.

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One Response to Old Maple Syrup – Does it go bad?

  1. CharlieF on December 4, 2010 at 02:34

    Wow talking of fungus, way back in college…they can be present anywhere,depending on their resistant to the kind of environment they are expose to.Fungus on maple can be a bit scary, for it might be bad to our body.I only need to be cautious about it.

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