Simple syrup is one of the easiest ingredients to whip up at home, but how do you store it so it stays fresh and tasting great?
Let’s dive into syrup storage, shelf life, and how you can help your homemade syrups last as long as possible.
Tips to keep your syrup fresher for longer
If you’re like me, you make and use up a lot of small batches of flavored simple syrups whenever you’re in the mood to try a new drink or upgrade your morning coffee.
If you’re not like me, you might like to make one big batch of simple syrup and keep it on hand for a good long time for sweetening your coffee, tea, or cocktails.
No matter whether you use up your syrup in days or weeks, it’s always a good idea to start with super clean syrup making supplies and a clean (or better yet, sterilized) jar or bottle for storage.
You absolutely do not have to boil simple syrup. However, if you pour an equal measure of boiling water over your measure of sugar, you will help to kill off any little lingering nasties that want to turn your syrup south too quickly.
It goes without saying, but use quality, good-tasting water for your syrups. Go with distilled water if you’re really concerned about premature spoilage.
The best simple syrup storage containers
The very best container for simple syrup is a glass jar or bottle. Avoid plastics which can retain food odors and affect the flavor of your syrup.
I love 8oz Boston round style apothecary bottles for small batches, or larger swing-top bottles and mason jars for bigger batches.
If you’re making bigger batches of syrup, you definitely want to go with a container that’s easy to pour from. Amazon has a ton of great glass storage options in a huge range of sizes.
Always store your syrup in the fridge – or freezer!
Simple syrup doesn’t contain enough sugar to preserve it for very long. Its water content makes it a breeding ground for all kinds of undesirables, so it’s a must to keep it refrigerated.
Note that rich simple syrup, which contains twice as much sugar, will last for longer. It still should be refrigerated, but you’ll notice that its shelf life is much greater than basic 1:1 simple syrup.
If you have the storage space, you can absolutely store your simple syrup in the freezer! Its sugar content will keep it from freezing solid and the ice cold temp will keep your syrup in excellent condition for months.
Keep in mind that if you do opt to store your syrup in the freezer, a clean, new plastic container may be a better option than glass. If you want to go with glass, be sure that it’s tempered.
How long does simple syrup last?
In general, a basic syrup with 1 part sugar and 1 part water will last around 2 weeks in the fridge. Rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) stored in the fridge will last longer, usually for a month or even longer.
How long syrups will last can vary quite a bit, so rather than going by a set time frame, it’s best to learn how to tell when it’s gone bad.
How to know if it’s gone bad
The first sign that simple syrup has gone bad is usually a cloudy appearance at the bottom of the container. When checking your syrup, first lift the container and look at the bottom before pouring any (which will disturb any mold that’s settled on the bottom). It’s usually easy to spot.
Other indicators that simple syrup has gone south are an off taste or aroma. If in doubt, throw it out! You can always whip up another batch in no time.
Simple syrup that lasts forever?
Well, perhaps not forever, but a rich simple syrup stored in the freezer will last pretty much indefinitely! At the least, you should be able to use it all up before it shows any signs of losing freshness.
If you enjoy making simple syrups, you might like my:
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