Sugar is the most basic ingredient that gives desserts their coveted sweet and yummy flavor. Without it, no dessert in this world would be half as delectable.
Sugar, no doubt, is the most essential baking and cooking ingredient which is why we are always in need of it on a regular basis. Stocking it up in advance allows you to utilize it whenever you want to. This saves you from making daily trips to a nearby grocery store for purchasing sugar.
If you are looking for a thorough guide on how you can preserve sugar for a long time, you have landed on the right page. Here you will find everything related to storing sugar at home.
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The fundamental reason why people opt for storing food items and ingredients is to keep them edible for later. Like most of the basic baking ingredients, sugar can be stored indefinitely. It needs to be pointed out that the only way sugar can stay fresh for a long time is when it is stored properly. Otherwise, it won’t take long to spot a colony of ants feeding on your sugar.
People are able to store sugar for an indefinite period of time for a reason. That’s because sugar is a hygroscopic substance, meaning that it attracts water molecules. Studies show that when bacteria surfaces on sugar, it gets dehydrated. How so, you may wonder? Well, sugar contains 0 percent water, so it squeezes out all the water from the bacteria and absorbs it instantly. This process is called osmosis, in which water shifts from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. Due to dehydration, bacteria end up dying.
It should be emphasized that if you store sugar in a poor environment, chances are that the bacteria will multiply and thrive on sugar. This will eventually spoil the quality of sugar, so it’s important to store sugar in a safe and appropriate place.
How to Store Different Types of Sugar
Sugar comes in various textures, colors, and flavors. Owing to their different properties, each type of sugar has a different storing method. Here we have shed light on how you can ideally store different types of sugar.
The best way to store sugar is in an airtight container in your pantry at room temperature. This will keep annoying pests at bay and will make it easier for you to scoop out sugar whenever you want.
Most people store granulated sugar in a gallon-sized plastic bucket. It’s beneficial if the bucket is lined with Mylar bag lining. Firstly, it will prevent any existing contamination in the bucket to reach the sugar. It will also block any scent, light, and oxygen from entering into the bucket, ensuring the safety of sugar. If possible, you can invest in hermetically sealed gallon buckets. This will save your time and energy in placing any sort of lining all by yourself.
Once you have stored granulated sugar in a plastic container, place the tin in a dry and cool atmosphere. Exposing it to a moist place can develop clumps in the sugar. Also, store it away from spices or fragrant food ingredients. Sugar has the ability to absorb all kinds of scents from other food items. And nobody would want their caramel pastry to taste like butter chicken.
Generally, brown sugar is soft when you first use it. But over time, it can harden up, making it difficult to use. Brown sugar often gets the brick-like texture when it is not protected from air, causing it to dry up fast.
There are five methods that you can use to store brown sugar for a long period of time.
- Airtight Container
Brown sugar tends to hard due to air exposure. If you want to maintain its original soft texture, ensure that you store it in an airtight container.
Choose the container according to the amount of sugar you want to store. If the quantity of sugar is less, store it in a small container. Once the sugar is packed in the container, make sure to double check for any crack or opening.
If there is no small container in your home, you can store sugar in a small Ziploc bag. Before you seal the bag, don’t forget to squeeze out all the excess air.
- Brown Sugar Saver
Go to any nearby shop or grocery store and ask for a terra cotta sugar saver. This type of sugar caver is ideally designed from terra cotta clay and is available in a small, rounded shape. It is undoubtedly a great option for storing sugar as it helps keep the sugar soft. The best part is that terra cotta sugar savers are super affordable!
Once you purchase a terra cotta sugar saver, wash it with water and then let it dry. Afterward, add in brown sugar, seal the sugar saver with the lid and store it until necessary.
- Add in Marshmallows
If you can’t find a sugar saver at any shop or market, you can keep marshmallows on top of the sugar in an airtight container. The addition of marshmallows will help the sugar to stay soft all the time.
- Apples and Bread
Another classic way to preserve brown sugar is by storing it with apples and bread. These are the two food items that are naturally moist. In their presence, brown sugar will stay moist as well. This, in turn, will stop the sugar from getting rock-hard.
- Microwave it
If you find brown sugar super hard already, there is a way to soften it up. And that is by heating it. You will need to transfer the hardened brown sugar in a bowl and wrap it up with a moist paper towel.
Let it sit in the microwave oven for up to 20 to 25 minutes. This will help make the sugar nice and soft once again. Then you can choose any of the sugar storage methods that are mentioned above, allowing the sugar to be stored for as long as you prefer.
Powdered sugar is more prone to get attacked by bugs than other forms of sugar. But that’s not it. If not stored properly, this type of sugar can turn into big lumps and absorb strange odors that may distort the taste. To prevent powdered sugar from becoming huge lumps and smelling strange, it is important to store it away from moisture.
Fortunately, powdered sugar comes with no expiration date but that doesn’t mean you use it carelessly. To ensure that powdered sugar stays in the best possible shape, it is advised to use a proper storage system.
The most ideal way to store powdered sugar is by keeping it in a pantry at room temperature. An unopened powdered sugar can be kept in the pantry for an indefinite period. In case of an opened powdered sugar, the food ingredient should be used within two years.
You can also transfer the packaging content into an airtight container. Ensure that the container is dry and void of any holes. Extreme heat can end up melting the sugar, while moisture can make it lumpy. Hence, it is advised to store the sugar in a cool, dry place.
You can also store an unopened powdered sugar package in the freezer. Make room in your freezer for the unopened package of powdered sugar. Make sure that there isn’t any heavy object on or near the packet. When needed, take the powdered sugar packet out of the freezer, thaw it at room temperature, and then use it.
However, freezing is not considered the most appropriate storage method. Once it is defrosted, it can become lumpy. Still, people do consider this storage method which can be utilized if other methods are not possible.
The best option for storing sugar is by using food-grade plastic buckets. Instead of taking out sugar from its bulky package, it is better to store it in small portions in a container. Using sugar straight from the container will become increasingly convenient for you.
Glass jars are another option that you can go for as they help protect sugar from strong odors and moisture. The only downfall is that they take up a lot of room and are prone to breakage.
For dry sugars, you can purchase #10-size cans. These types of cans are easily available at any wholesale food market or warehouse.
Another brilliant idea for storing sugar is using Mylar bags. These bags can be utilized for storing sugar for a long period of time. The best aspect of these bags is that they help protect their content from heat, light, moisture, and oxygen.
If there is a container that can serve as the perfect storage system for all kinds of sugar, it is an airtight container. Whether it is brown sugar, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, or artificial sugar, they all can be stored in an airtight container for as long as you want.
Sugar is a staple ingredient for most food items and beverages, which means that you can’t afford to risk its quality by storing it improperly. As you must have realized it by now that storing sugar is not a hard row to hoe. So, stock up on sugar by following the right storage methods and use it when required.