Simple syrup is one of my favorite sweeteners, especially for iced drinks.
I like it because it spreads evenly in a hot or iced drink.
Although it is such an excellent sweetener, you should be concerned about it going bad because it may cause food poisoning.
My supervisor showed me how to make the simple syrup during our summer conferences out of New York in the rural areas of Texas and when I had to make our coffee.
Iced coffee was a great relief from the searing summer heat.
As you know, regular sugar does not spread evenly on iced drinks, so my supervisor made simple syrup.
Since then, I have always made my syrup at home, and my iced drinks have never been better.
Although I learned how to make the simple syrup, I did not learn how to preserve it or how long I should use it.
If you make simple syrup at home, then you have probably made more than you needed and wondered whether you should dispose of it or preserve it for the future.
Hence you should be concerned about how long can you preserve it, and how long does Simple Syrup last.
Read on to get the answers.
What’s Simple Syrup?
Simple syrup is a sugar solution in water used to sweeten beverages and is sold in bottles at liquor stores or liquor departments of any grocery store.
Alternatively, you can make simple syrup at home.
To make the simple syrup, you need a saucepan and equal parts of sugar and water.
Pour the solution into the saucepan over low to medium heat for one or two minutes, stir, cool and then pour into a bottle and seal tightly.
The main benefit of simple syrup is that it can easily dissolve in beverages of all temperatures.
Iced drinks are complicated to sweeten using regular sugar because it does not spread evenly.
Additionally, the syrups add a caramel flavor to your beverage.
The syrup is made using the same steps as caramel syrup, only that the latter is allowed to stay longer in the heat.
How Long Does Simple Syrup Last? Does Simple Syrup Go Bad?
Simple syrup can go bad if stored for a long time or if not properly stored.
It can last for 1 to 2 weeks in the pantry.
That’s because, heat is known to kill bacteria.
Hence using heat when making the syrup increases the shelf life since it acts as a sterilizer.
You must store the syrup in a tightly sealed bottle when keeping it in the pantry.
But after 2 weeks in the pantry, the syrup is not safe for consumption.
Regularly opening the container increases the chances of bacterial contamination.
I recommend using a syrup pump instead of opening, scooping, or pouring the syrup into the drink.
If you regularly open the container with syrup, use it for only one week.
The syrup can last for six months if refrigerated.
Such a long shelf life is also dependent on the process of preparation.
A syrup that was properly sterilized through heating and attained the required consistency will have a longer shelf life than one that was not properly sterilized.
Additionally, sealing the container is crucial since it keeps off bacteria, thereby increasing the shelf life.
If the syrup is kept sealed, it will have a longer shelf life; however, if you keep opening the container, the shelf life will be significantly reduced because there is a higher chance of bacterial contamination.
You can freeze simple syrup, and it will have a shelf life of six months.
Freezing the syrup makes it impossible for you to use it regularly, and you can freeze it, especially when leaving the house for a long time.
For instance, I usually freeze my simple syrup when travelling abroad for an extended time; the shelf life increases because it is difficult for bacteria to grow in frozen conditions.
Since the syrup is rarely used, the container remains tightly sealed, leaving no chance for bacterial contamination.
I recommend freezing the syrup in small portions so that you only thaw the portion you need to use.
How to Tell if Simple Syrup is Bad?
You can tell the simple syrup has gone bad if:
- It has a cloudy appearance. Normally, a simple syrup has a clear appearance but can be slightly brownish if left on the heat for a longer time and started caramelizing. A cloudy appearance indicates bacteria growth, and such a syrup should be discarded.
If you make the syrup at home, it is crucial to notice the initial color when it is still fresh so that you can tell when the color starts changing.
- The syrup is bad if it has a foul smell. The smell is a great way to determine whether most food items are bad. You will easily notice when the syrup has gone bad if you have a strong sense of smell. .
- The syrup is bad if it has bubbles. The fresh syrup has no bubbles; if bubbles are formed when pouring it into a container, they are minimal; however, if you notice that your syrup has a lot of bubbles that were initially not there, it indicates that some chemical reactions are taking place. The syrup may be fermenting and thus producing Carbon (IV) Oxide gas and you should discard such syrup.
- The syrup changes from a liquid state to a solid one. The syrup should remain liquid, and if you notice that it has become hardened, it indicates it is bad. .
Simple syrup is an excellent sweetener because it easily mixes with most beverage ingredients and evenly mixes with hot or iced drinks.
It is easy to prepare it at home. If you prepare it at home, it does not have an expiry date.
You can keep the syrup refrigerated or frozen and use it for up to six months.
However, if you do not refrigerate it, it is advisable to use it within one week.
Ensure you have a syrup pump to avoid exposing the syrup to bacteria when you open it regularly.
Dispose of the syrup if you notice it is cloudy, has a foul smell, has excess bubbles or has solidified.