Corn syrup (glucose syrup) is one of those ingredients that most people don’t think about much. It is used in many different products, and it’s not something that you would typically think of when looking at food labels. But what exactly is corn syrup? Does corn syrup go bad right away? The answer is yes, depending on the storage conditions and shelf life during purchase.
Does Corn Syrup Go Bad?
Technically, any food might go rancid, spoiled, or bad after germs grow on it and leave behind its poisons. Some meals, such as corn syrup, are extremely resistant since germs have a hard time growing in a sugary environment without much water. The most common reason corn syrup goes bad is kept or stored incorrectly.
If you’re not a corn syrup user, I recommend learning about its storage, shelf life, and expiration. This way, the next time you’re running low on pancake syrup, you’ll know if that half-opened corn syrup is any good.
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What Are the Signs of Bad Corn Syrup
Though the indefinite shelf life of corn syrup makes it ideal for longer storage, it still can go bad, especially if stored poorly. The first sign of bad corn syrup is a strong smell. If your corn syrup smells like rotting fruit, it probably isn’t safe to eat. Another sign of bad corn syrup could be mold forming on the surface.
Mold can indicate an issue with the product itself, too. For example, if you buy a bottle of corn syrup from Costco, chances are it was opened before you bought it. That means that the container may have been exposed to air, which allows bacteria to grow inside.
Here are the other signs of bad corn syrup:
- Discoloration of corn syrup. When corn syrup starts going bad, it turns brownish-yellow.
- It tastes sour. As the corn syrup gets older, it becomes more acidic.
- It looks slimy. Though corn syrup does not actually become slimy all the time.
If you see these signs, it’s best to immediately throw out the corn syrup. In fact, if you notice anything unusual about the corn syrup, even if it seems fine, throw it out.
How Long Does Corn Syrup Last?
Corn syrup can last up to a couple of years if sealed and stored properly in the kitchen pantry. It is safe to consume indefinitely, but if it fails the color and odor test, toss it. The flavor of corn syrup will stay good until the best-by or use-by date has passed. Corn syrup may no longer taste quite as appealing once it has been cooked, but this does not negate its safety.
If the corn syrup is left open, it can be kept for up to 6 months without going bad.
How Long Does Corn Syrup Last in the Refrigerator
Corn syrup does not need to be refrigerated, but it should be kept in the refrigerator if you will not use it right away. It may, nevertheless, be stored at room temperature after being placed in the refrigerator.
High-fructose corn syrup is naturally thick, but it should be pourable after refrigeration. You can leave it on the counter for a few minutes if it seems too thick to pour. Refrigerated corn syrup will keep indefinitely, much like corn syrup kept in the pantry.
How Long Does Corn Syrup Last in the Freezer
Corn syrup, like maple syrup, should not be frozen. The texture of corn syrup will alter when it is frozen, and the final product will not be desirable. Frozen or thawed corn syrup isn’t useful in baked goodies because it doesn’t work well as a component.
Given how long corn syrup lasts in the pantry, there’s no need to freeze it in the first place. Freezing an ingredient can sometimes extend its shelf life. But light corn syrup and dark corn syrup are not one of them.
Corn syrup baked goods, such as that Thanksgiving pecan pie, can be frozen and thawed without altering their appearance. It is a wonderful shelf-stable ingredient for baked goods. It should be kept on the kitchen pantry or kitchen cabinet, but it can also be refrigerated. It will keep whether it’s kept in the pantry or the refrigerator for a long time.
How to Store Corn Syrup?
Its storage is very easy! It can be stored either in the kitchen pantry or in the fridge. Just place it anywhere away from direct sunlight.
Moreover, store it like the other sweeteners, such as maple syrup and Karo syrups. Keep it at room temperature, where it is dry. Make sure the bottle is tightly sealed when not in use after you have opened it. You can avoid contaminating the syrup by ensuring no food particles or pollutants enter while it is sealed. If you do not have a fridge, do not worry since it is unnecessary to refrigerate corn syrup after opening, as it should be treated like honey.
Remember to choose a dry, cool place that is out of the sun and light. A pantry or a kitchen cupboard are both excellent choices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does bad corn syrup smell like?
It smells like rotten eggs. This is why it is essential to check your corn syrup frequently.
Does expired corn syrup make you sick?
Yes. Any food or sweeteners that are expired give the possibility of making you sick. Though it might not always be the case, it is better to prevent it by discarding immediately.
Can corn syrup mold?
Yes, corn syrup can get moldy. However, this is not a problem unless it gets contaminated with bacteria. In which case, the only way to remove the mold is to throw it away. Any signs of bubbling or a mold haze are enough to discard it. Make sure to wipe off the drips from the bottle after use.
What can I use in place of corn syrup?
You can replace corn syrup with sugar, molasses, honey, agave nectar, etc. All these ingredients are great alternatives to corn syrup. They all impart similar benefits to baked goods.
What is the difference between light corn syrup and dark corn syrup?
Light Corn Syrup is a sweetener made from corn starch. It has fewer calories than regular corn syrup and is used in some baked goods. Meanwhile, dark corn syrup is a sweetener made from sugar cane juice instead of refined white sugar. The taste is similar to honey but darker and less sweet. It is used for baking, cooking, and making candies.