Mylar bags are great for packing foods for long-term storage. But can you just put anything in there and expect it to have a long shelf life? How about the pantry staple sugar for example? That's what we asked experts and here's what they said.
Experts recommend storing sugar in opaque, airtight, odor-proof, and moisture-proof packaging. Mylar bags fit these requirements so you can store your stock of sugar in these bags to preserve its quality for an indefinite amount of time.
Keep on reading to know more about why it is good to store sugars in Mylar bags and how to go about it so that you can enjoy its best quality for a long time. We'll also answer if brown sugar goes bad, why your sugar is as hard as a brick, and if you can freeze sugar. Let's get started!
What is the best way to store sugar long-term?
Sugar is one of the must-haves in your pantry because it has so many uses. Aside from its obvious purpose as a sweetener, it is also used as a food preservative, flavoring, coloring agent, and texture modifier in various aspects of cooking.
It is also useful as a home remedy for hiccups, bee stings, bug bites, mouth burns from eating too many spicy foods, and sore throat. That's why it's best to always have some sugar in your pantry.
The good news is that sugar is one of the food products that are so easy to store and can last in your pantry indefinitely. So, you can go ahead and stock up on your sugar. You can buy it in bulk to get it at a cheaper price and just store the rest after you've gotten the portion that you need.
However, for sugar to maintain its best quality, you need to pack it properly. According to experts, you should store sugar in an opaque and airtight container that won't allow moisture and outside odors to get inside.
Mylar bags fit all of these requirements. You can store granulated sugar in Mylar bags. You can use smaller-sized Mylar bags so that you'll only be opening one package at a time. This will minimize exposure to moisture and other foreign particles.
Mylar bags are also lightweight, affordable, and won't take up too much space in your pantry.
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It is not required to use oxygen absorbers inside the packaging as they would cause your sugar to harden and turn into a brick.
The real enemy for the preservation of the quality of sugar is moisture, not really oxygen. So, as long as the packaging is airtight, you can be assured that its quality will be preserved for a long time.
To provide better protection to your sugar supply, choose Mylar bags that are at least 5 mils thick. They offer greater protection against moisture, light, and odor since they are thicker.
How do you store sugar in Mylar bags?
The key to the long-term storage of sugar is the right packaging. Keep it in an airtight container such as a properly-sealed Mylar bag.
Here's how to store sugar in Mylar bags.
- Choose the adequate size and thickness of the Mylar bag that you're going to use.
- Put a label outside the bag. Note the food product and date of storage.
- Pour the sugar into the Mylar bag. You can also use a cup and funnel to prevent spills.
- Leave sufficient space on the top portion for sealing.
- Seal all the way.
- Store in a cool, dry, and odor-free place.
There you go! It's so simple, right? You have now stocked up on your sugar supply. If stored properly, you can enjoy its good quality indefinitely!
Does brown sugar go off?
Okay, so we said that sugar lasts indefinitely when stored properly. But does this apply to all sugar types? How about brown sugar in particular which contains more moisture than white sugar? We've also said that moisture is the enemy of preserving sugar's best quality.
Brown sugar is white sugar that has been coated with fresh and damp molasses. Manufacturers note that brown sugar should be consumed within two years to enjoy it in its best quality. But the truth is, as long as you store it properly, brown sugar can also last indefinitely. There is technically no expiration date.
However, brown sugar can go bad when you don't store it the right way. It can turn hard or lumpy. But this can be remedied by crushing the sugar blocks or putting them in the microwave. Place a damp paper towel over the lumpy sugar and heat for 15 to 20 seconds to soften the texture.
In some cases, sugar may absorb the smell of the items within its immediate vicinity. Consequently, this can affect its taste so it's best not to use this stock anymore.
When brown sugar is exposed to a humid environment, mold may develop. You will know this by the smell or see evidence of mold growth. Throw away your sugar when this happens. Do the same thing when you see insects, dead or alive, inside the container. Don't use it to avoid foodborne diseases.
In other words, the life and quality of your brown sugar would depend on how well you store it. Make sure it is packed in an airtight container to prevent moisture and outside odors from affecting its quality.
Why is my sugar hard as a brick?
If you're wondering why your sugar has turned out to be as hard as a rock, the culprit is moisture. There might have been gaps in your container that were not sealed properly which is why moisture was allowed to escape or enter.
But don't worry because it won't affect the taste of your sugar. It would just require some effort on your part to be able to have your sugar serving for the day.
Here are some ways to soften your sugar.
Pestle or Meat Tenderizer Method
- Transfer the block of sugar to a bowl.
- Spray a small amount of water on the sugar block.
- Put a dishtowel on top of the hardened sugar to contain the mess.
- Crush the sugar using your pestle or meat tenderizer.
- Stop when you achieve your desired consistency.
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- Put the sugar block in your food processor. Just fill it halfway.
- Grind the food until you reach your desired consistency.
- Store the rest of the sugar in an airtight container and seal well.
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- Transfer the sugar block to a microwave-safe container.
- Spray a small amount of water on the surface of the hardened sugar.
- Heat on high for 5 minutes.
- Check the consistency by gently tapping on your sugar block with the use of a fork.
- Repeat as needed but consider reducing the heat level and time as sugar burns easily.
These are just some of the easiest ways to soften your sugar that has turned into a brick. This underscores the importance of storing your sugar in an airtight and well-sealed container so that you won't have to go through these hassles just to have your serving of a spoonful of sugar for your morning coffee.
Can you freeze sugar?
You might have heard that you cannot put sugar in the refrigerator which is why you're also hesitant to store it in the freezer. But it's actually a good idea to freeze your sugar especially if you live in a humid area.
Freezing your sugar will help preserve its quality as long as it is packed really well. This applies to any kind of sugar not just white sugar. Storing it in the freezer won't cause any significant chemical reaction to sugar's properties.
Just make sure that the sugar is stored in an airtight container. Have it sealed very well so that it won't absorb the odors of other foods inside your freezer.
When it's time to use your frozen sugar, you need to thaw it at room temperature for about two to three hours. Stir it gently as it thaws to prevent moisture from damaging its quality.
If you need to use it right away, there's always the microwave to help you thaw it. Just transfer the content into a microwave-safe dish and put a damp paper towel over it. Heat it in increments of 20 seconds and check if it's the right consistency for you.
It is a good idea to store your sugars in Mylar bags, especially when you want to divide them into small and more manageable portions. Mylar bags can protect the sugar's quality and as long as you seal and store it properly, you can enjoy sugar in its finest quality for a very long time.