Freezing sugar for preservation purposes is a common question. It makes sense that we would want to have it last as long as possible when we have a surplus on hand. I’ve dealt with the issue many times over the years, and this article will cover everything I know.
You can put sugar in the freezer to keep it longer. Freezing sugar will help retain its flavor, preventing a decline in quality. However, you must store it properly in air-tight packaging to ensure it doesn’t go to waste.
In the rest of the article, I will go over why you should or shouldn’t freeze sugar, the differences between sugar types, and how that translates into the freezing process.
Should You Freeze Sugar?
You should freeze sugar if you aren’t planning on using it anytime soon or can’t prevent contact with moisture outside the freezer. Sugar won’t go bad if stored in a dry environment away from extreme temperatures, but it might lose some quality and texture after a couple of years.
Sugar is very absorbent, so any contact with moisture will make sugar soak up water, attracting mold. You’ll have to throw all of it away immediately. Keeping your food supplies dry might be more challenging if you live in a wet climate.
Sugar won’t expire when appropriately stored in a dark and dry space, but a freezer is a great option when that’s not possible. It’s recommended chiefly for sugar that has more molasses because those are more prone to dry out after a little while. That doesn’t make the sugar terrible, but it’s not what it’s supposed to be, which might be a problem if this is the type of sugar you prefer to use when baking.
Another reason you might want to store your sugar in the freezer is that you bought it in bulk and know that you won’t be using a certain amount of the sugar you bought anytime soon. It will save you some space in your pantry for other foods.
How Do You Freeze Sugar?
If you want to freeze sugar, you should make sure you buy air-tight containers that you can put in the freezer because not every container is freezer-proof. You can even use glass containers, but only the thicker ones, because fragile glass might break when exposed to extreme cold.
On Amazon, you can find my recommended storage containers: acrylic dishwasher-safe, freezer-safe, and reusable containers. The containers are air-tight and available in different sizes.
If you prefer glass containers, here is another good option. These containers are also dishwasher-safe, air-tight, and freezer-safe. However, on top of that, they are also microwave-safe.
Different types of sugar have different moisture levels, like brown sugar, which is naturally moister than white sugar. You should ensure you use air-tight containers, locking the natural moisture in and keeping any extra, unwanted water out to ensure it doesn’t go rancid.
Sugar is very absorbent, so it might be best to keep it away from foods with a pungent smell in the freezer, even in air-tight packaging. You probably don’t want to consume sugar that has a funky smell after it’s been defrosted.
Different Sugars and Their Qualities
Different types of sugar have different consistencies, meaning they don’t have the same shelf life. This is a list of the types of sugars you can freeze and their qualities. Remember that this is just an expiration date indicating when the sugar might lose some taste and texture.
White Granulated Sugar
White sugar isn’t as moist as brown sugar, so it’s less likely to dry out and clump together outside of the freezer, and it’s less likely to lose its texture. However, white sugar is more susceptible to soaking up any liquids it comes into contact with, which will undoubtedly cause mold to grow and may attract insects.
Brown sugar is more prone to dry outside the freezer and clump together. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use the brown sugar anymore, but it will have a different texture and a slightly different taste after drying out. Freezing brown sugar can help prevent this, so it’s perfect if you have some sugar you don’t plan on using anytime soon.
Brown sugar will freeze slower and defrost slower than white and powdered sugar when you take it out of the freezer because of its higher moisture content.
Powdered sugar is naturally the driest and thus the most absorbent one. Even the tiniest moisture will form big sugar clumps and alter the taste. Powdered sugar is also the one that will melt the fastest, so it’s essential to keep it out of the heat.
Liquid Sugar, Other Syrups, and Honey
You can freeze syrups and honey without affecting the taste and general quality of the product. Unopened packages of syrups and honey won’t go bad because they contain a lot of sugar, an excellent preservative.
You will also need to invest in high-quality, air-tight containers to store these products in the freezer.
You can learn more about the attributes of the different types of sugar on this website.
How To Sterilize Plastic and Glass Containers
Before you store sugar, syrups, and honey, it is essential to sterilize the container you plan on using to put them in the freezer. That’s because bacteria inside the container will contaminate the sugar, syrup, or honey.
Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial and disinfectant, so it’s the perfect product to sterilize plastic food containers. You can soak the container entirely or clean it with hydrogen peroxide. You must let the product sit for a little while to ensure the plastic is thoroughly disinfected.
Avoid leaving the hydrogen peroxide on after you have used it to clean out the container or after it has soaked in it for a couple of minutes. It has to be washed out. Don’t let the product dry out entirely because it isn’t safe for consumption. It is still a disinfectant, which you shouldn’t consume, ever.
Make sure not to touch the plastic container with your bare hands after. You could use utensils that have been sterilized or surgical gloves if you have those at home. Make sure to avoid touching the inside of the container altogether.
Suppose you want to learn more about hydrogen peroxide. In that case, you can find more information on the Cleveland Clinic website about its features and how to use it for things besides sterilizing food containers.
You might’ve sterilized glass containers before for homemade jam or marmalade, but if you haven’t, I will explain the best way to do this.
Glass is sterilized with boiling water. Make sure to use glass containers that aren’t fragile because those won’t survive the boiling water or the freezer. Thick glass containers and jars are the best choices for storing sugars in the freezer.
You have to ensure that the glass is completely submerged under water, so it is sterilized from top to bottom, inside and outside. Like the plastic containers, it is vital to avoid touching the glass container with your bare hands after you’ve sterilized them because there are a lot of bacteria on your hands, even after washing them.
Related Does Sugar Go Bad in Heat?
How Long Can You Keep Sugar in Your Freezer? (PAA)
You can keep sugar in your freezer for many years or indefinitely if you store it properly. As long as you can ensure that the sugar doesn’t come into contact with moisture, it won’t go bad, even if the expiration date on the packaging tells you otherwise.
As soon as the sugar has been defrosted and exposed to air, the taste will gradually change, like it would if you hadn’t frozen it. Again, this doesn’t mean the sugar is going bad, but it won’t have the same taste forever.
Pro Tip: Regarding syrups, freezing is the best way to keep it ‘indefinitely.’ However, store it in the freezer in portions, so you don’t have to defrost the whole thing when you only need some of the syrup.
If you want to make sure that it doesn’t go bad in the freezer, it would be a good idea to store it in a place that isn’t opened too often so that the changes in temperatures don’t harm the sugar. If the temperature fluctuates too frequently, bacteria will grow, and the sugar, syrup, or honey will mold.
You can store it at the back of the freezer, for example, surrounded by other frozen foods, where it is less likely to be affected by temperature changes. The bottom of the freezer is always the coldest, so you should also keep that in mind.
How To Unfreeze Sugar
You can defrost sugar by keeping it out at room temperature. It might take a while to unfreeze completely, but this is the best way to preserve the texture. Using heat to defrost might make the sugar melt or change its texture.
Ensure that the ice on the container doesn’t melt and doesn’t come into contact with the sugar during the unfreezing process. Let it defrost in the closed container, after which you can dry it with a towel and keep the sugar dry.
Defrosting Syrups and Honey
Syrups and honey are liquids, so unlike the types of sugars mentioned before, you aren’t limited to a single method of defrosting. You can apply heat to speed up the thawing process.
Both syrups and honey partly consist of water, which means bacteria can grow in them. Defrosting foods in the fridge is a method used to prevent bacteria from growing. It’s the method most frequently used for meat, for example, to ensure that anyone consuming the food doesn’t get ill.
Anything that unfreezes fast will risk growing more bacteria, so if you don’t want to jeopardize the quality of your syrups and honey, this is an excellent method. It will take longer for the products to defrost, so take them out of the freezer and put them in the fridge at least the day before you need them.
Like granulated, brown, powdered sugars, you can let frozen syrups and honey defrost at room temperature. It will take a couple of hours, but it’s an ideal method if you don’t need the syrup or honey right away. You can take it out of the freezer the day before you use it and just leave it out overnight.
As with the defrosting of sugar at room temperature, you should keep the lid closed as it is unfreezing to avoid any moisture from the container spilling into the container. Just use a clean towel to dry off the sides after it’s been completely defrosted.
You can only use this method if the container the syrups and honey are stored in is microwave safe. Otherwise, you might risk toxins from the container leaking into the syrups and honey and the container melting.
You should defrost on low power. Defrosting on high power will encourage bacterial growth and might even burn the syrup or honey. This is not a recommended defrosting method. However, sometimes, it’s the only way to go about it.
This is an excellent method to use when you need the syrup or honey pretty quickly but don’t want to heat it too fast. Warm water will help defrost your product quicker than at room temperature.
You can do this by filling up a pot or bowl the container can fit into with warm water and putting it in the water. You can even do this in your kitchen sink. Don’t use boiling water for this; ensure the container is heat-resistant. You can always check this on the product description before buying the container.
You absolutely can store sugar in the freezer to avoid moisture and heat. Sugar can’t expire if stored properly, but sometimes that’s impossible outside the freezer. High-quality, air-tight plastic or glass containers sterilized before use protect the freezer’s sugar from moisture and strong odors.
The sugar can be defrosted at room temperature and in warm water, the microwave, or the fridge. The product won’t lose its quality during this process; freezing won’t affect the taste or texture of sugar, syrups, or honey.
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For more, don’t miss What Candy Lasts the Longest? | The Shelf Life of Sweets.
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.