What Happens If You Don't Refrigerate Maple Syrup?

Maple syrup is truly one of the most delicious sweeteners out there. Sweet yet complex, with subtle flavors of caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit, maple syrup is actually a healthier choice than many processed sweeteners as it contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (via Consumer Reports). When you're at the store, you'll notice that lots of imitation syrup bottles will do their best to make you think they're genuine maple syrup, so it's important to read labels to distinguish real maple syrups from the dupes. However, once you snag a bottle of the real stuff, it will bring incomparable flavor to your pancakes, French toast, and even your bacon and pecan pie.

Maple syrup is the result of boiling down the fresh sap of a maple tree, which can be tapped in cold weather months before the final frost of the season (via the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources). Cold temperatures are necessary for collecting maple syrup, but they're also important for keeping it fresh in your home. Though it's sold on supermarket shelves at room temperature, maple syrup should be refrigerated once it's opened.

Opened maple syrup is subject to spoilage

Although maple syrup might appear to be a shelf-stable product, it only remains so until it's been opened and the airtight seal under the cap is broken, according to Real Simple. Once opened, the outlet explains, air, temperature, and time are all working against the syrup, degrading its quality and leaving it vulnerable to colonization by mold and bacteria. The site recommends refrigerating any opened bottles of syrup, which should last up to six months, according to PureWow.

Beyond just refrigerating maple syrup, Real Simple actually suggests going a step further by transferring your maple syrup to a glass or tin container before refrigeration, if your syrup will sit in the refrigerator for more than three months. According to the outlet, plastic breathes, which increases the risk of spoilage. Packaged in tin or glass, maple syrup's refrigerator shelf life shoots up to about a year.