If you are not a baking lover, you probably use powdered sugar only occasionally. This means if you ever think about baking, you probably open your kitchen cupboard to find a half-filled jar of powdered sugar.
Since there’s a high chance that you don’t remember the last time you used it, the first question that might come to your mind is, ‘Does powdered sugar go bad?’ Luckily, powdered sugar does not go bad that easily and we will cover a lot on this, so read further.
What Is Powdered Sugar Anyways?
Powdered sugar, or confectioners’ sugar and icing sugar as many call it, is a form of fine sugar produced by blending granulated sugar into a powdered form. Since it is mostly a part of baking ingredients, it also consists a little amount of anti-caking agent, which does not allow it to clump and lets it flow instead.
It is usually produced in factories, but it can also be made at home by simply grinding sugar in a coffee grinder or by crushing it using a crusher.
It is used in food production industries where a quick-dissolving sugar is needed for various processes. At home, it can be used as frosting or for decorating cakes and other baked items.
In the market, it is available in different variations of how fine it is. XXX, XXXX and 10X are three of the most common types of fine sugar available in the market.
How Long Does Powdered Sugar Last? Does Powdered Sugar Go Bad?
Powdered sugar’s life depends a lot on how you store it. If it is stored properly away from moisture and contaminants, it has an indefinite shelf life, which means there’s a very big chance you’ll still find your sugar sweet and tasty even if you decide to bake and use it after a year or more.
However, ideally, the optimal life of powdered sugar is said to be 2 years. The shelf life of sugar can be further maximized and preserved if it is saved using the ways we mentioned above.
It is always best to take out the powdered sugar from its original packaging and keep it in a thick, plastic bag which has a proper seal to avoid it from getting ruined or losing its taste.
Although some manufacturers add a Best By date on their packages or ask people to use it within 1 to 2 years, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it 3 or 4 years later if you are sure it was stored properly.
Just like powdered sugar, brown sugar also has an indefinite life and doesn’t normally go bad unless exposed to the conditions mentioned above. The key to keeping most or all kinds of sugar, we believe, is by keeping them stored in Ziplock bags and placed inside airtight jars away from moisture, heat and pests.
How to Tell If Powdered Sugar Is Bad?
There are several ways you can use to check if the powdered sugar is good to use or if it has gone bad. Normally, it is said to have an indefinite life, but it can still go bad if not stored properly.
Powdered sugar might start degrading after a few months of being kept in storage. If you haven’t stored it properly, there is a big possibility that it will go bad sooner rather than later.
When looking for signs, first check for any discoloration. If the sugar appears to be in lumps or appears to be hard, there is a chance that moisture or humidity has found its way in.
The major signs, however, remain discoloration and taste. As long as these two are fine and there aren’t any noticeable changes or pests, you are good to use it for as long as it remains in this condition.
With an indefinite life, it is almost impossible that you will find your powdered sugar gone bad when you visit your kitchen for one of your baking adventures, provided that you have closely followed the instructions and guidelines we have mentioned above. Those are the best ways to keep powdered sugar safe and sweet.
How to Store Powdered Sugar Properly?
There are various ways to store powdered sugar that can be found on many sites like eHow or The Pioneer Woman. Given its extremely fine form, it is important to store it properly to prevent it from catching an odor, losing its taste, lumping or, worse, getting filled with bugs.
Storing an unopened package is not a problem as you can store it anywhere away from sunlight and heat. For an opened package, to make sure it stays free from all kinds of odors and tastes, it is advised that you store it in two containers rather than a single one.
This means that you first transfer the powdered sugar from the packaging into a Ziplock freezer bag, seal the bag and make sure to push out all the air. Then, take the bag filled with fine sugar and put it in an empty, airtight jar. This will prevent any odor or taste from reaching the sugar and it will remain fresh.
One thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep the container in a dry and cool place away from sunlight and heat. Never store it in a refrigerator since there is a lot of humidity and the whole thing will get ruined.
There are also powdered sugar containers available in the market that can be used to safely store this fine sugar.
It is important that the bag and container are properly sealed or else there is a high chance that some moisture or pests and ants might find their way inside and ruin the entire thing. A glass jar can also be used so that you can keep an eye on it to check the quality of the sugar.