There is food that often sits in the pantry for months because there is only a small need for it. It’s often the same with sugar. But can sugar go bad? All about the shelf life of the sweetener.
A spoonful in coffee or from time to time as a baking ingredient – sugar is usually not the food that we consume in large quantities every day. Accordingly, it often stands in the kitchen cupboard for a long time. But what about durability? Can sugar go bad? The answer surprises me.
Can sugar go bad?
Have you ever taken a closer look at the sugar packaging? When looking for a best-before date, you will notice that none is given, although in Germany an expiration date must be stated on all foods. However, some products are exempt from this obligation, such as sugar.
There is no best-before date on the packaging because the food simply cannot go bad. You no longer need to ask yourself the question “How long can sugar keep?” because sugar cannot expire and can therefore be used indefinitely.
Why does sugar keep indefinitely?
Sugar is one of the few dry foods that does not inherently contain water. A fact that makes the sweetener a poor breeding ground for pathogens of all kinds, as they need water to survive.
And what’s more: sugar has an infinitely long shelf life, as it immediately draws the water out of all pathogens such as mold or bacteria that want to settle on the food. The consequence: the pathogens are not viable and die.
Sugar as a preservative
This “superpower” not only ensures that sugar cannot go bad on its own but also makes it an ideal preservative. In jams, for example, sugar is not only used as a sweetener. It also ensures longer durability. However, for sugar to serve as a preservative, a larger amount is required. In the case of jam, for example, the sugar content must be as high as 60 percent to ensure that the pathogens are killed.
Can Brown Sugar Go Bad?
The same applies to brown sugar as to white sugar: the brown sugar variant cannot go bad either. That is why there is no best-before date on the packaging of brown sugar. The same applies to raw cane sugar and candy sugar. Regardless of the variant, sugar can never go bad on its own.