Molasses is a durable material that adds sweetness to most any kind of food. Known for having dense amounts of nutrients, molasses is an excellent sweetener and additive. Further, it keeps well for a reasonably long amount of time. Molasses can be kept for years if you know how to do so properly and you take a few reasonable precautions.

The Homesteader Staple

Molasses is a hardy material that can last for a long time, and this is why traditional households kept it in quantity. As a healthy addition to many kinds of sweet meals, having molasses on hand has always been a good. With proper storage, molasses keeps extremely well — but when it goes bad, it’s done. Unlike moldy bread or curdled milk, there is no using molasses after a certain point.

Image used under Creative Commons from wes hill

Storing Molasses

Molasses has interesting properties. It can become as thick and dense as tree sap, or it can be used with a consistency similar to maple syrup. The use of warmth and coolness coupled with a little bit of care can make molasses go a long way. If you do not use too much of it on a regular basis, storing molasses in the fridge is a great way to preserve it. But you do have to make sure that the environment within the fridge is one that’s conducive to lasting a long time. Just be certain that you take out the molasses a half hour or so before you need it, which will give it time to warm up and become more pliable.

Naturally, heat will cause bacteria and especially mold to grow on molasses. Keeping it above room temperature or storing it somewhere that gets hot during the day will reduce the functional lifespan of your molasses, as will storing it in direct sunlight. Further, allowing too much air circulation can cause your molasses to dry out and become next to inedible. The first way you can tell that molasses is becoming inedible is if it doesn’t pour well at room temperature. Keeping the cap on your jar is an easy step toward keeping your molasses in good shape and useful for a long time.

Moisture is another concern that you need to deal with when you store molasses. With too much moisture, mold will begin to grow rapidly. Unlike with bread, you would unwise to scrape the mold off of molasses and/or eat around it. Moldy molasses is done, period. If the ambient humidity in your home is greater than 70 percent, you want to either dehumidify somehow or dry your molasses in a specialized appliance that can handle such a task. Moldy molasses is neither tasty nor enjoyable. Fortunately, most refrigerators can handle keeping down the humidity without any particular hassle.

How Long Does it Last?

Molasses can be stored for a fairly long time without any ill effects. In fact, it’s an incredibly long lasting food when you store it properly. There has never been a documented case of molasses poisoning anywhere in the world, which means that your family’s safety is not at risk by eating “old” molasses. Much like a lot of other baking related good, molasses doesn’t have a use by date so much as a best used by date. While it won’t go bad quickly and may last for several years at a stretch, you should store your molasses carefully if you don’t intend to use it quickly and you want positive results. Molasses can last for several years if it’s properly stored.

Image used under Creative Commons from Stephanie Richard

How to Tell When Your Molasses Has Turned

Molasses can eventually go bad if you leave it out without being properly covered or you simply try to keep it forever. The smell, taste and look of molasses will tell you if it’s bad. Since it is supposed to be a liquid, any kind of crystallization indicates that your molasses has turned. You should also avoiding consuming your molasses if it begins putting off an odor or starts to taste weird. When you first get your molasses, take a taste and give it a good sniff to know how it’s supposed to be. Any mold on the molasses or any change to the look, smell or taste means that it needs to be tossed. Keep in mind that this can take several years to happen.