Copyright 1997 Alan T. Hagan. All rights reserved.
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- Molasses, Cane, Sorghum, and Table Syrups
- Molasses and cane syrup are not precisely the same thing. Molasses is a by-product of sugar refining and cane syrup is simply cane juice boiled down to a syrup, in much the same way as maple syrup is produced. Non-Southerners may know it better as "unsulphured molasses" even if this is not completely correct. Sorghum syrup is produced in the same manner, but sorghum cane, rather than sugar cane, is used. Sorghum tends to have a thinner, slightly sourer taste than cane syrup. All these syrups are generally dark with a rich, heavy flavor. There are many "table syrups" sold in supermarkets, but close examination of the ingredient lists will reveal mixtures of cane syrup, cane sugar syrup and corn syrup. They usually have a much less pronounced flavor.
- All of the above syrups, except for those having corn syrup in their makeup, have the same storage characteristics. They can be stored on the shelf for about two years and up to a year after opening. Once they are opened, they are best kept in the refrigerator to retard mold growth. If mold growth does occur, the syrup should be discarded. The outside of the bottle should be cleaned of drips after each use. Some pure cane and sorghum syrups may crystallize in storage, but this causes no harm and they can be reliquified using the same method as for honey.
- Corn Syrup
- Corn syrup is a liquid sweetener made by an enzyme reaction with corn starch. Available in both a light and a dark form, the darker variety has a flavor similar to molasses and contains refiners syrup (a byproduct of sugar refining). Both types often contain flavorings and preservatives. They are commonly used in baking and candy making because they do not crystallize when heated.
- Corn syrup is a poor storer compared to the other common sweeteners and because of this it often has a "best if sold by" dating code on the bottle. It should be stored in its original bottle, tightly capped, in a cool, dry place. New unopened bottles keep about six months from the date on the label. After opening, keep the corn syrup four to six months. These syrups are very prone to mold and to fermentation so be on the lookout for bubbling or a mold haze. If these present themselves, throw the syrup out. You should always be certain to wipe off any drips from the bottle after every use.
- I don't recommend corn syrup as a storage food since it stores so poorly.
- Maple Syrup
- Maple syrup is probably the only sweetener that has developed a cult-like following (OK, cane syrup has its ardent fans too). Produced by boiling down maple sap until it reaches a syrup consistency, it is slightly sweeter than table sugar. Maple syrup is judged by much the same criteria as honey: lightness of color, clarity and taste. Pure maple is generally expensive and most pancake syrups are corn and cane sugar syrups with either natural or artificial flavorings.
- New unopened bottles of maple syrup may be kept on a cool, dark, shelf for up to two years. The sweetener may darken and the flavor get stronger, but it is still usable.
- After the bottle has been opened, it should be refrigerated. It will last about a year. Be careful to look out for mold growth. If mold occurs, discard the syrup.
- Flavored pancake syrups should be kept and stored as corn syrups.
DISCLAIMER: Safe and effective food storage requires attention to detail and proper equipment and ingredients. The author makes no warranties and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions in the text, or damages resulting from the use or misuse of information contained herein. Placement of or access to this work on this or any other site does not mean the author espouses or adopts any political, philosophical or meta-physical concepts that may also be expressed wherever this work appears.