Simple syrups are a simple way to add a bit of flavor to cocktails, coffee, tea, and even water. You can either buy the flavored simple syrups in the store, or you can make your own. Simple syrups only require two ingredients: sugar and water. You can make them more interesting by adding things like vanilla extract or cinnamon bark.
Whether you are making your own or buying the pump bottles from the store, you will need to make sure you store them properly. There are three ways you can store simple syrups: at room temperature, chilled in the fridge, or frozen in the freezer.
Depending on how quickly or how open you plan to use your simple syrup will help you determine how to store your simple syrups. Next, we will explain each option in more detail, as well as how long you can store them and mistakes to avoid when storing simple syrups.
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How to Store Simple Syrups Properly
As mentioned before, there are three ways you can store your simple syrups. In any case, you need to use an airtight container to limit the syrup’s exposure to oxygen, which can cause it to go bad faster.
There are many container options available, like squeeze bottles which make it easy to add to cocktails and glass bottles with an attached cap. You also may choose to keep it in a small airtight Tupperware container if that is easier for you.
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If you plan to use them quickly, you will probably want to store them in an airtight container in your cupboard or pantry. This will allow you to easily take them out and use them while decreasing the possibility of needing to reheat the syrup if sugar crystals reappear.
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If you want to extend the shelf life of your simple syrups but still use them pretty often, you can keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will still allow you to have easy access, and the cooler temperatures combined with the lack of oxygen in a good container will allow you to store them longer.
The final option for storing simple syrups is to freeze them. You may want to use this option if you make large batches that you want to save for later or if you stop using them regularly for a period of time.
The process for storing your syrups in the freezer is the same as the other two options, but make sure you do not use a glass container as it could shatter in the freezer when the syrup expands as it freezes.
How Long Can Simple Syrups Be Stored?
If you choose to store your simple syrups at room temperature in the pantry, they should remain fresh for about two weeks.
In the fridge, they can last up to six months if you do a two-to-one ratio of sugar to water. If you do a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water, they will most likely only last about a month.
In the freezer, your simple syrups in a freezer-safe container will help prevent freezer burn, and you can store them for up to one year.
How to Tell if Simple Syrups Have Gone Bad
The easiest way to tell if a simple syrup has gone bad is to look at it. When you first make or open a fresh bottle of simple syrup, you will notice that it is usually translucent and clear. This is a sign that the syrup is still fresh.
Even when you infuse things like lavender, lemon, or vanilla in the simple syrup, it will still remain clear as long as it is fresh.
Though you may think that because sugar is a preservative like salt, it is impossible for it to go bad, that is incorrect. Those bacteria and the possible exposure to oxygen can still lead to your simple syrups spoiling.
If you notice after a period of time that the clear watery appearance that the syrup had when it was fresh has become cloudy looking, this is a sign that the syrup is going bad. The cloudiness that begins to appear in the simple syrup is the first step of growing mold.
When you notice the cloudiness, you will want to dispose of the simple syrup and make a fresh batch.
Mistakes to Avoid When Storing Simple Syrup
Simple syrups are pretty easy to make and store, but there are still a few common mistakes that you will want to avoid to help get the most out of your syrups.
Not Sterilizing Containers
After you make your simple syrups and before you pour them into a container to store them, you need to make sure the container has been sterilized. You can wash it in the dishwasher, wash it with hot water and soap and dry it with a fresh towel.
If you are using glass, you can heat them in the oven for a bit to make sure no unwanted bacteria is left to contaminate your syrup.
Leaving Store-Bought Simple Sugars in the Pump Bottles
It is definitely easier if your simple syrup already comes in a pump bottle that you can easily use without making a big mess. The biggest problem with those bottles is that they are not airtight. The more oxygen and bacteria your simple syrups are exposed to, the more likely they are to spoil before you finish using them.
Even though the pump bottles are convenient, save yourself some time and money by using a trustworthy airtight container or bottle instead. You can still use the bottle it comes in if it has the option to remove the pump and put a proper lid on it.
Make Your Simple Syrup Last Longer
Everything about simple syrups is pretty simple. They are easy to make, simple to store with a variety of options, and great to use for making drinks and foods a little sweeter with minimal effort. If you always remember to sterilize and only use airtight containers, you will not forget the most important things when it comes to storing simple syrups.