Keep Your Maple Syrup Cold (Because You Don’t Want to Pour Mold On Your Pancakes)

maple_syrupI made a sad discovery last week:  Mold in my maple syrup.  {wahhhhhh-aah-aahh}

The label on real Maple Syrup says “keep refrigerated or frozen.”  There’s a reason for that.  :(

I know this.  I’ve told this to others.  Keep your maple syrup in the fridge or freezer.  But over the winter, our storage room is as cold as (if not colder than) a refrigerator – so our bulk maple syrup is stored there to save freezer space.  Somehow I forgot about it and left it in the storage room even though – surprise, surprise – it is no longer cold in there.  (Note to self: It is summer. It is hot. The storage room takes on the temperature of the outdoors.  Put your maple syrup back in the freezer to store during the summer.)

When I opened the jar last week, ready to pour some into my serving bottle, I was greeted by an ugly smell and an even uglier green fuzz.  Hoping I could salvage at least some of the syrup, I attempted to scrape the mold off the top.

Ever tried to scrape mold off the top of sticky liquid?  You can imagine how well it works.

In addition, the contents in the jar no longer smelled sweet.  So even if I could have skimmed mold off the top, it wouldn’t have mattered.  The entire jar was toxic.

Sooooo…woe is me.  I had to dump it out.  (Don’t picture it.  It may cause you too much pain.)

I’m writing this to remind you all not to try this at home.  Do not let your real maple syrup go bad.  Keep it in a cold place!  At all times.  Especially in the summertime.

Bonus Tip:  A bowl of half-eaten applesauce will also turn green if left in the corner of the Lego Room for three weeks.  This message brought to you by my eight year old.

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Comments

  1. Missy says

    I discovered that about maple syrup at my in laws house. My MIL had made French toast and I asked for syrup. Poured the moldy stuff all over my breakfast. Gross. I don’t care how much space the maple syrup takes in my refrigerator, it has it’s own special spot and that’s where it lives! :)

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  2. Anitra says

    Eww… I’ve done that with a regular-sized bottle of maple syrup. So sad to have to throw it away!!

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  3. alison says

    probably not a good idea if it smells toxic, but if your syrup develops mold, it can be heated and skimmed to restore it. the mold is harmless. every bottle of maple syrup I”ve ever seen has had instructions on the back for how to do this. might be worth a try before throwing syrup away. :)

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    Michaeleen Reply:

    My syrup farmer tells me the same thing – boil, skim and continue to enjoy!

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  4. Angela says

    Just read this and JUST put my maple syrup in the fridge. I did a sniff test, and it smelled okay and there was no mold. Should I assume that it’s okay? I’m so used to the “other stuff” that we call syrup that I didn’t realize the real stuff had to be refrigerated. Thanks so much for the heads up.

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, it’s fine as long as it doesn’t stink. :)

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    Emily Reply:

    Same here! Just ran and put mine in the fridge!

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    Kristen Reply:

    Just got some maple syrup to try and forgot it had to be refrigerated. Only left it out for a little over a day, but was worried because it seemed a little less sweet. That is why I came loking for an article to give me permission to keep using it.

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  5. says

    Oh no!!! And worse, you just reminded me I left my jug of maple syrup in the pantry!! I’ll have to go check it! I’m probably going to have to replace it knowing it can mold like that. Our son is badly allergic to mold. :(

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  6. says

    No lie. This happened to me TODAY. We hadn’t used our syrup in a while and I grabbed the bottle only to find green floaties all through it. Gross! Now I know why. :) Thanks!

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    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Jennifer (and Laura),
    You really can reboil it after attempting to skim off the mold. Boil the bejeezers out of it like you’re canning (and then can it to save freezer space). If you just pour it super hot into jars with 2-part canning lids, they’ll usually seal up. Not enough to truly can anything, but enough to keep syrup happy. :) Katie

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  7. says

    Um, what are you doing in my head, and why is your syrup in my cabinet?! No lie, I JUST tossed a bottle after that gruesome discovery (after leaving it on my counter top for too many days thinking I’d take a photo and write a post…) Weird. (the timing)

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    Laura Reply:

    So weird. You and I do that quite often it seems… :)

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  8. Rachel says

    When you buy in bulk could you then can it to keep in the pantry? We make our own syrup so this is what we do, not sure how it comes in bulk but maybe that would work?
    We take our maple syrup very seriously around here I might cry if I had to dump it out!
    ;)

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    Laura Reply:

    I had bought in bulk, poured mine in to smaller jars, and lost a few of my jars to nasty mold. I suppose if your pantry is not terribly warm it will likely be okay. Our maple syrup providers always told us to freeze it until we were ready to use it.

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    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Laura,
    You should totally be able to can it…

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    Laura Reply:

    I *just* learned how to do this last night. Totally going to do it next time I buy in bulk. :)

    Sharon Reply:

    I have about 4 jugs of maple syrup that seem to always get left behind at our cottage by those that use it. I need to know how to dispose of it. I want to recycle the jugs but what do I do with all the syrup? They are opened so can’t donate…any ideas?

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  9. says

    This is why I’m kinda happy about when I can up some maple syrup in my own canning jars – I can *see* if anything’s going on in there, and if so, I can scrape off the top yuckiness, re-boil, and boom, back to yum (yes, I’ve googled this a few times, hence why I’m flabbergasted by all the maple syrup containers that have super skinny tops/necks).

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  10. OneHotMomma says

    I just did this too, only when I found the mold, I had just poured it over my 6 year old’s pancakes. :(

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  11. Laura A says

    Ew! This is why I threw out a bunch of stuff in the pantry of a rental house on vacation. No one had thrown any spices or oils out in years… some spices had an expiration date of 2011 and the dried onions were pink and one solid block.

    At home our gallon of syrup has a home on the top shelf of the fridge.

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  12. Penny says

    How long will the maple syrup last in the fridge. How will you know it is bad beside the green floating stuff and smell? I too am use to the “other” stuff. Bought a bottle of maple and did store it in the fridge. It has been in there a long while. Just not sure what the shelf life actually is.

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    Laura Reply:

    I keep it for about two months in the fridge. If it will be longer than that, I freeze it. If there’s not green stuff or smell, it’s not bad at all!

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  13. Jean says

    I had mold in my maple syrup one time so I searched online about it. The article said that this often happens to maple syrup and you can get rid of it by boiling and skimming the mold off. The article had step-by-step instructions of how to do it. This process purifies the maple syrup and mine tasted as wonderful as ever. Wish I had been able to tell you this before you dumped it! :(

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  14. Naomi says

    I learned that ugly truth moons ago, and ever since have kept it in the fridge in a cute glass bottle in the shape of a very tall house with gables and everything, and a cork stopper. However, I had to throw out my maple syrup this morning because of . . . ANTS! I used some last night and never did return it to the fridge. This morning the bottle was covered with ants. No problem, I said, I’ll just rinse them off the bottle and it’s all good, because the cork was in place. Then I saw them, crawling all over the inside of the bottle – they had gotten in around the cork. I guess it’s not a very tight-fitting cork, huh! Such a bummer. Sounds like today was maple syrup garbage day in many places :(

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  15. Kristin says

    So I intentionally don’t buy maple syrup in bulk either, though I know I would be saving a few bucks at the farmer’s market if I did. I stick to half gallon containers, because I just don’t have room in my fridge for a whole gallon. Now sometimes in the fall I buy 2 half gallon containers to get me though till the following summer. I always store the open jug in the fridge but leave the sealed one in the pantry. I treated it like any other condiment, refrigerate after opening. Should I be refrigerating the sealed bottle as well? I don’t think the maple syrup sellers do.

    Laura, I feel your pain. Maple syrup was really expensive last year in WI due to an incredibly short sap run. I think I might have cried at the loss of that much syrup. Thankfully, the weather was great this year, so hopefully prices will be down.

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    Laura Reply:

    I still freeze the sealed bottles. Well, I did before I forgot the last time… :)

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  16. says

    The same goes with chocolate syrup. My fiancee always insists leaving that and maple syrup in the cupboard to sit at room temperature so it flows better. I always, always follow directions on the label. I always scold him about leaving it on the table. He says ‘it will be fine’(says that about everything) and I point out the label and say they don’t put it on their for their health and he gets angry and says it will be fine….so he leaves the room and I sneak it in the fridge. Later he will go get one or the other and find them in the fridge but won’t say anything. Now I have substantial proof that they are putting said statement on the label for health… LOL

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  17. Nikki W. says

    Thanks Laura! I am sorry you had that happen. Reading this post, I just remembered I hadn’t put mine in the fridge yet. Off I go to do that now :)

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  18. Chris M says

    Laura, I love how real you are. Makes me not feel so weird around my “perfect” friends who grow/shear/weave/sew/bake everything they eat and own from scratch, while I taxi 4 kids around baseball, swim team, ballet, and theater; single-parenting because my husband works in all corners of the globe; all the while trying not to look too hard at the dog/rabbit/guinea pig hair collecting in all corners of my house, which I will happily brush away from your seat on the couch if you happen to pop in on me unexpectedly.

    I look forward to reading your posts every time they come and am always encouraged, especially in the area of eating whole foods as much as possible but not beating myself up when I occasionally have to spring for Subway or Chipotle after an away meet/game/performance. Thank you for taking the time to share your life with all of us, and especially your ability to laugh at yourself when things aren’t so perfect.

    Hope you get to come to Ohio some time!

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  19. Leah says

    I keep my opened one in the fridge, but always have an extra sealed bottle in the pantry. Should the sealed one go in the fridge as well?

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes, just in case. :)

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  20. says

    When we make maple syrup, my dh basically uses the open kettle method to can it. Not safe for most things, but it is enough to keep our syrup from molding on the shelf. (We do refrigerate it after opening.)

    When you get a bulk container, maybe you could gently heat it to boiling, then pour it into sterilized jars and quickly place sterilized lids and rings on. Let cool and, most likely, they will seal and be more shelf stable.

    My hubby has also removed bits of mold and boiled syrup in the past. He said it works well. (I actually don’t like maple so I can’t say…)

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  21. says

    I did the same thing last week! I had no idea maple syrup could go moldy, but sure enough, the bottle said “keep refrigerated” in tiny print :/

    I was so disappointed because maple syrup is so expensive. I now make sure my syrup is refrigerated! Thanks for the public service announcement, hopefully no one else will make the same mistake :)

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  22. says

    So sorry to hear, Laura. I am visiting my in-laws in Nebraska right now and if you had found it a bit sooner I would have brought you some from Wisconsin! I have skimmed and boiled syrup before and if it is not too bad it works pretty well. I also have had a jar that retained its “funk” so I know what you are talking about. The syrup had a great run up north this year, so hopefully you can replace yours without it being too painful.

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    Laura Reply:

    Where are you in NE right now? Close enough to York to come for a visit??! :)

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    Sonja Reply:

    I am! I am in St Edward, and would love to visit you. I am leaving Sunday for our 11 hour trip back home, so if you are free tomorrow morning… Just let me know! If not, no worries, it will be something for me to look forward to when we come back again.

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    Laura Reply:

    Yep, I actually am free in the morning. Email me and let’s figure out details. :)

  23. Amy says

    What if we don’t buy in bulk? I buy sealed jars of organic maple syrup from the grocery store. Do the unopened ones need to be kept in the fridge?

    Thank you for your blog! :)

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    Laura Reply:

    It will probably be okay, but just in case, I’d still stick it in the freezer. :)

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  24. Sherri says

    I just love it that you share real things with us! thanks for being you and being honest…. Its a great message, we all don’t have it together, all the time.

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