Agave nectar is a popular natural sweetener that is becoming more and more widely used. And, since it is so new to many people, it might be unclear what the shelf life might be.
Agave nectar does not expire and has an indefinite shelf life, whether it is opened or unopened. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen and is best stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Agave nectar is 90% fructose, and this high sugar content acts as a natural preservative that prevents bacterial growth.
However, it is possible (but rare) for the nectar to become contaminated with mold.
The rest of the article will cover common agave nectar questions and give guidelines for proper storage.
Does Agave Nectar Go Bad Once Opened?
Agave nectar has a high level of sugar, and humans have been using sugar as a natural preservative for thousands of years. Bacteria evolved to grow in environments that have low levels of sugar and salt. If their environment has too much sugar, the bacteria lose water through osmosis, and without water, they are unable to grow or multiply.
So what does this mean for agave nectar? It is approximately 90% fructose, making it a very high-sugar environment in which bacteria cannot grow or spread.
Even once Agave Nectar has been opened, it won’t go bad in the sense that it will become contaminated by bacteria. Because of this, agave nectar has (like honey) an indefinite shelf life. It can be entirely safe to eat agave nectar that has been stored for years and, in some cases, even decades.
Bacteria aren’t the only threat, however. Mold is less sensitive to high-sugar environments, so it can occasionally grow on agave nectar. This is very unusual, and you can prevent it from happening by ensuring that the agave nectar is stored in an airtight container, as this will stop any mold spores from getting in.
Some people confuse agave nectar with maple syrup. Maple syrup can and does go bad after opening and should be refrigerated. Still, agave nectar is a completely different product and doesn’t behave in the same way as maple syrup.
Does Unopened Agave Nectar Go Bad?
Unopened agave nectar has an indefinite shelf life. This means that agave nectar can last for years or even decades. However, opened agave nectar does have the potential to be contaminated with mold, which is highly unlikely for unopened agave nectar, so you should expect it to be more stable and less likely to go bad than opened agave nectar.
Your unopened agave nectar will have an expiration date printed on it, but this isn’t an indication of it being unsafe to eat after that date. Instead, it indicates how long the company expects the agave nectar to be at its best quality. The expiration date is usually around two years after the agave nectar was harvested.
How Do You Know That Agave Nectar Has Gone Bad?
It is unlikely that your agave nectar will go bad since it has an indefinite shelf life, but that doesn’t mean that it definitely won’t go bad. And, just because it may be safe to eat indefinitely, that doesn’t mean that it will taste exactly the same for that long.
The best thing that you can do when you want to try some agave nectar that has been stored for a while is to rely on your senses. First, take a look inside the bottle to check for any mold growth. These can sometimes look like little spidery white hairs. Then open the bottle and smell it. Our noses are pretty good at detecting rotten smells, so if the agave nectar has gone bad, you should be able to pick up on it straight away. Finally, put a little bit on your tongue and taste it. If it tastes like it normally would, then it probably hasn’t gone bad. But if it tastes strange or unpleasant, then you may need to throw it out and get some more.
Does Agave Nectar Crystallize?
When honey is stored for a while, it can start to crystallize. This doesn’t indicate that the honey has gone bad, and it can be placed in a warm bath to return it to its normal smooth state. While agave nectar is quite similar to honey in many respects, including its shelf life, it won’t crystallize as honey does. This is because the sugar in agave nectar is all fructose, whereas the sugar in honey is a mixture of fructose and glucose. Over time, and especially if the honey is stored in a warm place, the glucose starts to separate and form crystals. Because agave nectar doesn’t have any glucose, these crystals won’t form.
The mold that can rarely grow on agave nectar is easily confused for crystallization, so it is important to remember that if you see any white structures in your agave nectar, they are not crystals; they are mold. So the best thing to do is to throw your agave nectar away at this point and buy some more.
Does Agave Wine Go Bad?
Agave wine is made from the agave plant. It is similar to tequila, which also derives from the same plant and is made of agave nectar, water, cane sugar, flavorings, and lime juice. Agave wine does not have the same high percentage sugar content as pure agave syrup, so it can go bad over time, and it should be stored in a fridge for a maximum of two months. It shouldn’t be stored in the freezer or at room temperature.
Can I Eat Expired Agave Nectar?
The agave nectar you buy from the store will have an expiration date on it. But this date doesn’t signify that the agave nectar will be unsafe to eat after that point. Instead, it is an estimate of when the quality of the agave nectar is most likely to deteriorate (texture, taste, color). Eating expired agave nectar will do you no harm unless it is obviously compromised with mold or other contaminants.
If you do see mold growing on your agave nectar, you shouldn’t eat it as it is, and the best course of action would be to throw it away and buy some more. If you really don’t want to throw your agave nectar away, you can boil it for around 15 minutes and strain it through a cheesecloth, and this should get rid of any mold. This method isn’t foolproof, however, and there is no way for you to be 100% sure that you have got rid of every single mold spore.
How Long Does Agave Nectar Last After Opening?
The general consensus is that agave nectar behaves similarly to honey after opening. What this means is that it can last indefinitely. Both honey and agave nectar are protected by their extremely high levels of sugar, which prevents bacteria from growing. As long as the agave nectar is stored correctly, you can expect it to last for well over a year with no apparent end date.
To ensure that your agave nectar is stored properly, keep it in a cool, dry place such as a pantry or kitchen cupboard, and make sure that it is in an airtight sealed container/bottle. Since agave nectar is very sweet, insects like ants will be attracted to it. Make sure that you wipe down the bottle after each use to ensure that there is no agave nectar on the sides to prevent ants from being drawn to it. If the container isn’t correctly sealed, there is always the potential for ants to get inside, which will contaminate the agave nectar. If this happens, you should throw it away and buy some more.
Agave Nectar Storage Guidelines
Agave is similar to honey in that it is normally stored at room temperature.
Does Agave Nectar Need To Be Refrigerated?
Agave nectar is stable at room temperature and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Storing agave nectar in the fridge won’t impact its shelf life and won’t make it last any longer than it already does, although it won’t do any harm to refrigerate it. Instead, agave nectar can be stored in a cool, dry place like a pantry or a kitchen cupboard.
If you choose to store your agave nectar in the fridge, the cold will likely temporarily change the consistency. The syrup will become more solid, making it more difficult to pour. However, you can bring your agave nectar back to its original state by leaving it at room temperature for a few hours.
Does Agave Nectar or Syrup Freeze?
Agave nectar is stable at room temperature and will last indefinitely, even once opened. So it isn’t necessary to freeze it in order to extend its shelf life. However, it is physically possible to freeze agave nectar and thaw it out for later use. You should make sure that it is stored in a freezer-safe container.
An ice cube tray could be a good idea so that you can remove and thaw a single portion at a time. It generally isn’t a good idea to freeze your agave syrup in the bottle that it came in as there is no guarantee that it will be freezer-safe.
How to Thaw Agave Nectar
If you have chosen to store your agave nectar in the freezer, you will need to thaw it before you can use it again. The best way of doing this is to leave it in the fridge overnight, and by the next day, it should be back to its normal consistency. If you need it sooner than that, you can leave it at room temperature for a few hours to thaw out.
Microwave thawing agave nectar is possible but should be treated with caution. As with any syrup, it will heat up very quickly, so you should only set the microwave for a few seconds at a time to make sure you don’t go over.
Which Is Better, Honey, Agave, or Maple Syrup?
In terms of health, if you’re looking to lower your calories and your blood sugar level, then agave syrup is a good bet. It has a sweeter taste than honey and maple syrup, so you can use less of it in your cooking and in sweetening your food and drinks. Honey does contain more nutrients, however. Whereas maple syrup also has some antioxidants but has more complex sugars, which means that you get less of a spike in your blood sugar levels.
In terms of ease of storage and shelf life, both honey and agave syrup have a potentially unlimited shelf life and can be stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place. Maple syrup also has a potentially infinite shelf life, but it does need to be kept in the fridge because it is more prone to mold outbreaks than honey and agave nectar.
Best Agave Nectar
If you’re looking to try some agave nectar for yourself, there are many different options available. Agave in the Raw, available on Amazon, is a popular option. It can be used as a vegan substitute for honey, and, unlike honey, it dissolves easily in liquid, so it is excellent for sweetening drinks.
It can also help you with your health. Because agave nectar has a sweeter taste, you need to use less of it in your recipes or as a sweetener, which means that you may put less of a strain on your blood sugar levels. And, by all accounts, this one tastes fantastic too! It’s fully organic and GMO-free and is vegan and kosher certified.
Agave in the Raw agave nectar has a 3-year shelf life when it is stored at room temperature. If exposed to temperatures over 80oF, it may darken in color, but this won’t affect the taste or whether it is safe to eat. However, as we have already covered, it is likely to be fine to eat after the 3-year mark as long as it hasn’t obviously been contaminated somehow.
Agave nectar has become a popular sweetener and alternative to sugar, honey, and maple syrup. It can be healthier than honey because of its sweeter taste which means you need to use less of it; it is vegan, whereas honey isn’t, and it has a much longer shelf life than maple syrup.
Agave nectar doesn’t need to be kept in the refrigerator and can be stored at room temperature in a kitchen cupboard or pantry, where it will have a virtually unlimited shelf life. This is because of its 90% sugar content which doesn’t allow bacteria to grow.
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For more, don’t miss Is Honey a Good Survival Food? (How to Store It).
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.