Do honey and maple syrup expire? And how should you store them?

Per U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, honey will remain safe to eat even after the quality of the honey declines.

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According to the USDA, honey can typically be stored for 12 months before its quality begins to degrade.

According to the USDA, honey can typically be stored for 12 months before its quality begins to degrade.

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Honey is a staple in our teas and pantries, and it has a long and complicated history. In 2007, archaeologists in Israel discovered what is believed to be the oldest intact beehives in existence — 30 hives dating to 900 B.C.

The history of beekeeping likely extends much further. Archaeologists found a 9,000-year-old pot containing beeswax and a drawing of a honeycomb at Çatalhöyük, a Neolithic settlement in modern-day Turkey.

You’re probably not going on an archaeologist’s mission to find ancient honey, but here’s what you need to know about keeping it in your home.

Does honey expire?

No, even opened honey doesn’t expire. Per U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, honey will remain safe to eat even after the quality of the honey declines.

So why can you eat years-old honey and be completely fine? The answer has to do with chemistry. According to Smithsonian Magazine, bees have an enzyme in their stomachs called glucose oxidase, which mixes with nectar and breaks down into gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Honey is also a low-moisture food product and its high acidity means bacteria and other organisms don’t have a chance to grow in the jar.

How long is honey good for?

According to the USDA, honey can typically be stored for 12 months before its quality begins to degrade. But if your honey has become cloudy, crystallized or solid, don’t worry – it’s still safe to eat.

How to fix crystallized honey

Honey that’s been in your cabinet for several years may darken or lose its aroma. If your honey crystallizes or becomes solid, it only takes a quick fix to get back to that silky-smooth texture. According to the National Honey Board, place your honey jar in warm water or microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring until the crystals dissolve.

Does maple syrup expire?

That maple syrup on your pancakes has a definite shelf life, so check expiration dates on container labels and know how to properly store it.

That maple syrup you love to slather on your pancakes has a definite shelf life, so check expiration dates on container labels and know how to properly store it.

stock.adobe.com

They may be similar in taste and purpose, but maple syrup and honey have different shelf stabilities. Maple syrup also has a high-sugar, low-moisture content, so it will keep indefinitely unopened. After you open maple syrup, however, you’ll want to pop it into the fridge — it can be susceptible to mold growth, says Ben’s Maple Syrup, a New England-based maple company.

Mold can be scraped off of the top of maple syrup, but it may ruin the flavor of the syrup. The USDA recommends storing opened genuine maple syrup in the fridge for up to a year, and imitation maple syrup in the pantry for a year.

Are there any potential risks associated with honey?

Infants should not consume honey because their immune systems may not be ready to take on the bacteria that cause botulism, a paralyzing illness. The CDC says that honey is safe for anyone over the age of 1 year old.

Additionally, the sugar content in honey is comparable to that of table sugar, which can be a problem if you have diabetes. This also means there are a high amount of calories in just small servings of honey. For example, a “spoonful” of honey (around one tablespoon) contains 64 calories, which could add up if used frequently or abundantly.

Read more at usatoday.com.

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