While molasses won’t go bad even if improperly stored, it won’t remain in peak condition indefinitely, either. It may be stored for several months (or even years) past the expiration date without losing quality, but you may discover that the taste has diminished by then.
You might also decide to toss it out if you have any reservations about utilizing molasses that is more than a year (or five years) old. Yes, you could go that route as well.
This article will teach you all you need to know about molasses, such as how to determine if it has gone bad, how to deal with the expiration date on the label, and whether or not you should store molasses in the fridge.
Since most commercially available molasses is unsulfured, we’ll spend some time discussing the differences between sulfured and unsulfured varieties.
Molasses, what is it?
Sugar beets and sugarcane are processed into molasses, a common sweetener.
Most modern families still use molasses to some degree, even though sugar has become the sweetener of choice since the turn of the century. It’s great for desserts and other indulgent dishes because of its deep, strong sweetness.
Flight molasses, dark/medium molasses, and blackstrap molasses are just a few of the varieties available. In contrast to the darker varieties, light molasses is not cooked for as long. As its name suggests, it is the whitest and sweetest of the three. Furthermore, its viscosity is the lowest of all of the alternatives.
After another round of boiling, you get dark molasses, sometimes known as medium molasses. There is less sweetness and more darkness in this molasses. In contrast to the previous varieties, blackstrap molasses is nearly pitch black in color and has the least quantity of sugar. It’s not nearly as sweet as the other two, but it does have a distinct spicy flavor.
Both sulfured and unsulfured molasses are available for purchase. Despite its usefulness as a preservative, sulfur in molasses often leaves a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. Sulfured molasses may have a little longer shelf life than unsulfured molasses, although this is typically not a significant factor.
You may find three distinct varieties of molasses on the market today:
Light: It has the least intensity of flavor, is the thinnest, and is the sweetest.
Dark: Despite its lower sugar content, this variation packs a powerful taste punch. As an added bonus, it’s thicker than regular molasses. The middle sibling, if you will.
Blackstrap: It has the lowest sugar content and is the densest of the three options. It’s not a great replacement for either light or dark molasses because of its harsh taste.
Finding out if your molasses tastes right will be easier if you are aware of these distinctions. If your light molasses taste bitter, better dispose of it.
Does molasses ever go bad?
Sure, molasses may go bad. Molasses and honey both have a similar flavor. However, honey may be stored for a longer period of time. Nonetheless, there is no reason why molasses won’t keep for a very long period if the storage circumstances are optimal.
Furthermore, molasses’ strong hygroscopicity is something to keep in mind. Because it draws and holds moisture, bacterial development is probable if kept incorrectly.
Molasses should be kept in a cool, dry area that is out of direct sunlight due to its sensitivity to heat and humidity. This is true for all molasses varieties sold commercially, including the light, dark, and blackstrap. In the same way, both sulfured and unsulfured molasses should be kept.
Molasses in an unopened, sealed bottle may be stored for up to ten years; if refrigerated, it may last much longer. If you store your molasses carefully and reseal the container after each use, it will keep for anywhere from one year to five years.
Precursors to Spoilage
Here’s how to tell if your molasses is good to eat:
If you suspect mold, check it out
I wouldn’t use a bottle that has mold growing on it. If the mold is merely superficial, it may be possible to scrape it off and reuse the material. Proceed with this plan if you feel confident in it.
Take a good sniff of it
Throw it out if you notice a sour, “funny,” or otherwise unpleasant odor.
Discard the sweetener if the flavor is drastically off from what it should be. Keep in mind that there are several molasses varieties and they all taste somewhat different. The best method to learn how molasses should taste is to try some just after you open a new bottle.
If you’re still undecided, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion from someone else. The safest course of action is to presume the molasses has gone bad if that doesn’t work.
Advice on Preserving Molasses
Similar to other liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or honey, molasses should be kept at room temperature. Tuck it away in a dark, cold cabinet or the pantry.
The precise placement is less important than the need that it receives no direct sunlight and is kept at a constant temperature.
The opened bottle can be stored in the pantry as long as the cap is kept securely on. After using the molasses, replace the top and tighten it with your fingertip.
Should Molasses Be Refrigerated?
Even though many people do, you don’t have to put opened molasses in the fridge. Why? Refrigerating molasses can help it maintain its quality and freshness for a longer period of time.
Keep in mind that freezing temperatures make molasses thick and not particularly viscous, which is something to keep in mind if you plan on storing molasses in the refrigerator.
It’s still safe to use, but it might be tricky to work with due to the increased thickness. But if you prefer to keep your molasses in the fridge, just warm it up before you need it.
In order to rapidly reheat it, remove the molasses from the fridge a few hours before using it or place the entire bottle in a pot of warm water. Do not microwave it since doing so may make the sugars crystallize or otherwise separate.
Can you freeze molasses?
Due to the universality of the ability to freeze food, molasses may be stored in this manner. However, this is not a safe or effective way to keep it. For example, the product’s viscosity may change if exposed to cold temperatures. Mold development is a greater concern when frozen molasses has been thawed.
There’s also no need to freeze the molasses because it may last for years if stored properly.
If freezing is still an option, you’ll need to store the molasses in a container designed for the freezer and fitted with an airtight cover. Do not overfill the container while pouring the product in. Seal with an airtight cover, label with the date you want to use it by, and place in the freezer.
What is the shelf life of molasses?
Molasses has a storage life of up to four years and can be kept for many months after the expiration date has passed.
The highest quality is maintained for at least half a year after the bottle has been opened, but it may be used safely for much longer.
So, basically, that’s what it boils down to. Yes, let’s talk about the specifics.
After the Opening
Whether or not opened molasses keep for a long time is a matter of debate.
For some products, the expiration date applies from the moment of opening. Many people say you should use it within six months after opening the bottle.
All those suggestions revolve on the sweetener itself, of course. As we’ve already explained, if you store molasses properly, it won’t go bad for a long time.
In other words, you can still utilize your molasses even if you’ve had the jar open for half a year, nine months, or even a year and a half. In the worst case, the flavor will not be as strong as it was when you initially opened the jar.
For the best flavor, try your molasses as soon as you open the bottle. After a few months, you’ll have a decent idea of how fresh molasses should taste, and you’ll be able to judge whether or not it’s ready for use based on that comparison.
Date of expiry
The shelf life of molasses varies widely between different brands, with some offering only a year or two, and others, offering far longer periods of up to four years. However, that is only an approximate date to work with.
The “best by” or “best if used by” date indicated on the label is not an actual expiration date. That is to say, the focus is on eating well, not on eating safely.
This is the manufacturer guaranteeing that their molasses is delicious before that moment. However, this does not always portend imminent spoilage or a significant decline in quality.
It is, in fact, quite unlikely that your molasses will retain its flavor for very long after the expiration date. It may be a few months, but it will probably be more than a year.
If you’re confident with the molasses’ safety and its application, you shouldn’t have any problems.
After its “best by” date, is molasses still usable?
Rather than an expiration date, most jars of molasses will carry a best-by or sell-by date. This date (which is not the same as the expiration date) does not affect the safety of the molasses.
What are the effects of consuming spoiled molasses?
Molasses may get rancid if not kept in the right conditions. In addition, it can crystallize to the point that it becomes difficult, unpleasant, or undesirable to use. On the other hand, if you consume spoiled molasses, you will likely feel little more than an unsettled stomach.
There have been no reported incidents of serious disease from consuming rotten molasses, and you’ll probably be able to tell that it’s off as soon as you start eating it and stop before it does any real damage.
How does rotten molasses smell?
Molasses has a naturally sweet and pleasant flavor, and it can also smell earthy and unpleasant at times. A little pungency isn’t a problem, nor is a slight sulfur odor if it’s sulfured molasses.
However, if it smells nasty and unpleasant, dump it; it has most likely gone bad.
For what reason does honey not go bad, but molasses does?
Honey doesn’t go bad and can be stored indefinitely. This is due to honey’s extremely low water content (17%, compared to the 80%+ water need of yeasts and bacteria). Bacteria are killed off by the dry environment, and the combination becomes less likely to deteriorate. The acidity is also unfriendly to most germs.