‘’Food or Health?’’ I asked myself. ‘’Of course, its food, you must keep alive to eat’’, said my inner self. In this quarantine times, it is so hard to find ingredients to make fancy food items as all the local stores are closed. ‘’It will be okay soon once it is finished’’, I mumbled to my sweet craving self.
But then I just saw the big black expressive eyes of my teddy ( I think you remember teddy, my teacup Pomeranian whom I adopted) ‘’Oh! Please make me some caramel pudding’’, those eyes told me. With a heavy heart, I took teddy in one hand and went to the kitchen. ‘’Okay teddy, let us make a caramel pudding, but we need to find the ingredients first’’. Milk and eggs were stocked and were sufficient for another two weeks. But sugar? I wanted some brown sugar to make the caramel for the pudding. I searched and searched, but could not find brown sugar. Amazingly my wise little teddy went on sniffing a kitchen cupboard, which I used as an old store. I opened it. BRAVO! There was a big pack of brown sugar. But the expiry date was erased. Does brown sugar go bad? As I remembered, it was an old pack which I bought about one year ago. Does brown sugar really go bad? Now it was the time to google it!
I emptied the whole pack into a large dry bowl. It was a good thing that the pack was unopened before. The sugar looked fine, with no abnormal smells, neither bugs or insects. But the problem was it had small clumps of sugar.
How do I soften the hardened brown sugar?
I wanted to use sugar to make my caramel. So I took a dry fork and smashed the clumps. It came out well. But the texture was still clumpy.
But why do clumps form?
According to the chemical structure of sugar, it absorbs moisture from its surroundings. When the moisture is scarce, it attracts other sugar particles, dried up, and makes clumps. To remove these clumps, you can also try some other methods. The simple basis is to provide an external source of moisture to be absorbed by the molasses in brown sugar. Insert a wedge of fresh apple, a fresh orange peel, or even a piece of bread into the sugar container. Keep it for a few hours. If you have a microwave oven, microwaving the sugar with a damp piece of clothing on top of the container ( For 20 sec) would do the magic.
You can use an electric grinder or mixer to soften the clumps as well. Or just simply put sugar inside a ziplock bag and smash with a rolling pin! Any of these methods work. Having clumps in your sugar necessarily does not mean that it is spoiled or not suitable to consume. Ideally, brown sugar lasts for ages if properly stored.
Then I took my grinder and ground the sugar for about 30 seconds. BINGO! MY teddy, the teacup pomeranian, was literally dancing in front of me!
The sugar was in good quality.
How to identify spoiled/unsuitable brown sugar?
First, check the packing whether the seal is broken or not. If the seal is broken or it has bugs/insects, then it probably will not suitable for consumption. But if the seal is not broken, your pack of brown sugar may still good to go with your recipes given that it was properly stored. My pack was good to use, although it was 1-year-old thanks to good storing.
How to store brown sugar properly?
You do not need high-grade scientific knowledge to store brown sugar! It is the same as you store white sugar. First, if the seal of the pack is broken, transfer the sugar to a clean airtight container. Then find a place that is cool, dry and free of heat from stoves/ovens, etc. A kitchen cupboard in your pantry would be ideal. Make sure to keep it away from medicines, detergents, etc., basic kitchen rules! Storing your brown sugar-like, this will prevent you from thinking from ‘does my brown sugar go bad’ feeling!
Also, it prevents the entry of insects and rodents like rats to your food material. Each food item in this quarantine time is precious. If you want to go for more precautions, buying a ‘sugar saver’ can be a perfect choice. A sugar saver is a simple gadget that prevents drying up of sugar. Simply soak it with water and put it in the sugar container.
However, if you have a tiny bit of suspicion towards the quality of your brown sugar, it is always good to buy a new pack. Sometimes sugar may contain fungus that may cause food poisoning. Always read the expiry date and manufacturer’s advice before consuming brown sugar, and indeed any food item. Nevertheless, usually brown sugars last for about 2-3 years.
Brown sugar is a fantastic ingredient to use for your recipes, no matter for breakfast or desserts. When you buy always try to find good quality products.
After finding all the above valuable facts, Teddy and I made amazing caramel pudding. It was so good and delicious. And teddy managed to justify my effort by eating a considerably good amount. Indeed it was a good day, starting my search from ‘does brown sugar go bad’!
Although being in a period of quarantine, we can still find simple ways to make our loved ones happy.