Some months ago, you purchased corn syrup and only needed it at a few instances. That's why you leave it on the pantry shelf after the last use.
You are about to make your favorite pastry or pancake, and you remember the corn syrup sitting in the pantry.
You do not know if it is suitable for consumption and you're asking "Does Corn Syrup Go Bad"?
Corn syrup, just like other sweeteners, is used only when the need arises. So it is normal that we keep it in the pantry and forget it there.
What is Corn Syrup Anyway?
Corn syrup is a known food syrup made from corn starch. It is processed by using an enzyme to convert the glucose in corn starch to fructose. This process makes it sweeter.
It can also be made by heating it, using dilute acid. Corn starch is a by-product of corn (maize). Corn syrup is sometimes referred to as glucose syrup, but may not be made from corn starch.
Other starchy plants are hydrolyzed to make glucose syrup e.g., rice, wheat, or potatoes.
There are two types of corn syrup available in the market: the light corn syrup and the dark corn syrup.
The light corn syrup is decolorized and has a moderate sweetness to it while dark corn syrup has been seasoned with caramel color and molasses, giving it a strong, sickly sweet taste.
We use corn syrup as a sweetener and thickener in most sweets. Corn syrup is also used to maintain the moisture in foods, acting as a humectant.
Light syrup is specifically used in baking as it doesn't form crystals when heated while the dark syrup is mostly useful when a strong, sweet taste is desired. You can also use it as a table syrup.
How Long Does Corn Syrup Last? Does Corn Syrup Go Bad?
Fortunately, just like any food syrup (e.g., chocolate syrup, maple syrup), corn syrup does not go bad. This reflects on the best by the date it comes with. This date only serves to tell you about how long the quality of the product will stay intact and not when to stop eating it.
Sometimes, light corn syrup may change color, giving off a yellowish one, but it is still edible and okay to eat. The indefinite shelf life of the corn syrup makes it stay good for consumption.
If you notice an odd smell or discoloration in the corn syrup or your sixth sense is tingling, then it is best to throw it out and get a new one. Also, if you have a soft stomach or a sensitive body system, avoid eating corn syrup that is past its expiration date to stay healthy.
Corn syrup added to processed foods or pastries have a higher chance of getting worse. Not because of its component, but because of the other ingredients added to the baked foods.
Corn syrup can stay for months, even years, as long as it is stored in a cool, dry place. However, there is a twist. If you leave corn syrups for up to a year without using it, the quality may change.
The taste of the corn syrup and the texture may also be different from the original. Old corn syrups are known to be less thick than new ones.
How to Tell if Corn Syrup Is Bad?
Even as it is rare for corn syrup to go bad, it is still a possibility. This can happen if you did not store it properly. A discoloration in the clear corn syrup from white to yellow doesn't necessarily mean it is spoilt. It may still be safe for consumption.
However, these signs may mean it is time to throw it out:
Cloudy bottle: If you notice cloudiness or a haze on the bottle, then it means mold just started forming. This usually happens when moisture getting into the bottle when you didn’t cap it properly. In this case, you have to throw it out.
Fermentation: Fermentation is common with corn syrup that has been used. It happens as a result of food particles getting into the syrup. Fermentation leads to a foamy coat or formation of bubbles. If you notice this, then you should get rid of it.
Bad odor: If you're not very sure if the corn syrup is edible or not, you can use this method. If you notice an alcohol-like smell or bitter smell, then you have to throw it as it is a sign of mold formation.
How to Store Corn Syrup Properly?
You may have used your bottle of corn syrup halfway, and you do not know how to store it. Don’t worry. Corn syrup is stored as any other sweetener.
Sweeteners always do better in a room temperature controlled environments, such as the pantry or a cupboard. Just like a good number of food items, the storage space should be completely dry.
When you use a bottle halfway, you should ensure that the cap is tightly on to stop food particles from getting in.
You might be thinking of refrigerating, but it is not necessary as it can stay for a very long time without refrigeration. It can be stored the same way honey is stored.
If you feel refrigerating it, it is still not wrong. Refrigeration will halt the growth of microorganisms or mold. However, if you want to freeze corn syrup, we advise you to avoid it. Freezing does not increase the shelf life of corn syrup and may only end up changing the texture of the syrup.
You should be conscious if the lid is tightly closed to stop moisture from seeping in. Moisture is not a friend of food syrups and will only promote the growth of molds. You shouldn’t use any utensil to scoop syrup out as this may introduce food particles, leading to the growth of mold.