Sunday, October 08, 2006

Can Sugar Go Bad?

Someone wanted to know if sugar can go bad. According to the October issue of Real Simple sugar can keep up to two years (and sometimes more)--if kept in an airtight, moistureproof container. And brown sugar can be softened by microwaving for 15 seconds, but, because of the molasses in it, it should be used up within a year.

Flour is more of a problem. If you're like me, you use plenty of flour in cooking and baking. Again, use the airtight container in a cool, dry spot. I have my grandmother's tins for flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and the third tin used to hold cookies but now holds sticky rice (uncooked, of course). Are you using whole-wheat flour or other whole-grains? Keep those in a big freezer bag and in the freezer--inside a Tupperware container to keep the bag from getting punctured.

What about baking powder and baking soda? I hate to say when I was young I was known to user the baking soda out of the box in the fridge. Good lordy, learn from my mistakes! That box is there to absorb bad odors--and whatever you're baking will taste like bad smells. Ieew. Use one for the fridge and one in the cupboard. And what about odors in the cupboard? I put my box in a zip-lock baggie to keep it fresh. Real Simple says Baking Soda is good for two years unopened, one year if opened. And baking powder is easy--it has a use-by date printed on the can. Why didn't I ever know that?

They didn't address powdered sugar, which for me always tastes like gym socks and I have to get a new bag if ever I need it. So of course, I never make anything that requires it.

What are your tips for storing powdered sugar?


Bon Vivant said...

I read somewhere that sugar is the only food that can survive a nuclear war.

Since I don't bake as much as I should, I usually just throw out my current jars of baking powder and start fresh (and then 7 months later throw that jar out.)

Powdered sugar: if I'm making a frosting I usually use the whole box but if I have some left I just dispose of it. If I store it it usually just ends up tipping over in the pantry and making a mess all over the floor.

Fleagirl from California said...

I have nasty twisted bags with just a 1/4 cup left in the corner. And of course, it tastes like gym shorts.

Mary deB said...

How exactly do you know what gym shorts taste like, huh?

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