How long can you store sorghum syrup?

Sorghum syrup is a natural sweetener made from the juice of sorghum grass. It has a rich, smooth flavor and can be used as a substitute for molasses, honey, and maple syrup. Many people enjoy using sorghum syrup as a topping for biscuits, pancakes, waffles, and more.

One of the great benefits of sorghum syrup is its long shelf life compared to other natural sweeteners. But exactly how long does sorghum syrup last when properly stored? Here we’ll explore everything you need to know about the shelf life and proper storage of sorghum syrup.

What is Sorghum Syrup?

Sorghum syrup is made from the crushed stalks of sorghum, a cereal grain that originated in Africa but is now grown worldwide. To make sorghum syrup, the stalks are crushed and the juice is extracted. The juice is boiled down into a thick, amber-colored syrup.

Sorghum syrup has a unique flavor – it’s slightly sour yet also rich and sweet. The taste is often compared to a mild molasses or maple syrup. Sorghum syrup contains minerals like iron and calcium making it nutritious as well as delicious.

How is Sorghum Syrup Made?

Here is a quick overview of how sorghum syrup is made:

– Sorghum stalks are harvested and crushed to extract the juice.

– The juice is boiled down into a thick amber syrup.

– As moisture evaporates, the sugars become concentrated.

– The syrup is cooked down until it reaches the proper brix level or sweetness.

– Brix levels for sorghum syrup generally range from 75-85 on the brix scale.

– The syrup is then cooled, graded, and packaged while still hot.

– Packaging sorghum syrup hot helps prevent crystallization.

Making high quality sorghum syrup is a specialized skill passed down through generations. The syrup is graded based on color, consistency, and clarity.

Nutrition Facts of Sorghum Syrup

Sorghum syrup is high in certain vitamins and minerals that promote good health. Here is an overview of the nutrition found in a 1 tablespoon serving of sorghum syrup (21 grams):

– Calories: 60
– Total Fat: 0g
– Sodium: 15mg
– Potassium: 131mg
– Total Carbs: 16g
– Sugars: 12g
– Calcium: 20mg
– Iron: 0.5mg

So you can see sorghum syrup provides essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, potassium and iron. It’s a natural sweetener that contains some nutritional benefit.

Shelf Life of Properly Stored Sorghum Syrup

When stored properly in a cool, dark place, sorghum syrup can last 1-2 years past its production date. The key is keeping it in an airtight container and avoiding direct light or heat. Here are some more details on the shelf life:

– Unopened sorghum syrup lasts 12-24 months past the production date.

– Once opened, sorghum syrup will last 6-12 months when stored in the refrigerator.

– Keep unused sorghum syrup in a tightly sealed jar or bottle.

– If any mold appears on the syrup’s surface, discard the entire bottle.

– Over time, sorghum syrup may crystallize or become thicker but it is still safe to eat.

– For best quality and flavor, try to use sorghum syrup within 2 years of production. The flavor may degrade over longer storage.

So if kept in cool, dark storage, sorghum syrup can maintain optimal flavor and quality for around 2 years. Refrigeration extends the shelf life once opened.

How to Store Sorghum Syrup for Maximum Freshness

Here are some tips for storing sorghum syrup to extend its shelf life:

– Keep sorghum syrup in an airtight container like a mason jar or squeeze bottle. Screw-top lids or stoppers help prevent air exposure.

– Store bottles in a cool, dark pantry or cupboard away from heat sources like the oven. Ideal storage temperature is 55-70°F.

– Once opened, keep sorghum syrup in the refrigerator to prolong its shelf life.

– Freeze for longer term storage. Sorghum syrup can be frozen for up to 2 years without compromising quality.

– Check bottles occasionally for any signs of mold growth on the syrup’s surface. Discard if mold appears.

– If crystallization occurs, place the jar in warm water to re-liquefy.

– Avoid direct light which can cause fading over time. Store sorghum syrup in opaque containers if possible.

Proper refrigerated storage and minimal air exposure are the keys to extending the shelf life of sorghum syrup once opened. Unopened bottles store well at room temperature when kept in a cool pantry.

Signs Sorghum Syrup Has Gone Bad

Although sorghum syrup can last a long time, there are signs to watch for to know if it has spoiled. Here’s how to tell if sorghum syrup has gone bad:

– Mold growth – You may see fuzzy mold on the surface of old syrup. This can come in many colors like black, green, or white. Discard any sorghum syrup with mold.

– Crystallization – Over time, sugars may crystallize giving the syrup a grainy texture. It is still safe to eat but best to warm and stir the syrup to dissolve the crystals.

– Darkening color – As it ages, sorghum syrup may darken from amber to a reddish-black hue. While still safe, the flavor likely will not be optimal.

– Fermentation – Watch for bubbling, carbonation, or a wine-like smell. This means yeast has caused fermentation rendering the syrup unusable.

– Changes in consistency – Separating liquid and thickness or thinness can happen over time as moisture evaporates. The syrup may not look right but it is likely still fine to consume.

– Off odors – If the syrup smells sour, burnt, rotten, or otherwise unpleasant, it should be discarded.

So in most cases, sorghum syrup that has passed its prime will be obvious to the eye and nose. When inspecting aged syrup, watch for any of these signs of spoilage.

Uses for Sorghum Syrup Beyond the Expiration Date

Even if sorghum syrup is past its prime, you may still be able to salvage it for certain uses:

– Baking – Crystallized or fermented sorghum syrup can be used in baked goods like bread, muffins, or cookies. The oven heat often negates any off flavors.

– Glazes and sauces – Darkened sorghum syrup still adds sweetness, color, and moisture to glazes for meat like ham or chicken. Simmer it into a sauce or marinade as well.

– Livestock feed – Sour or crystallized syrup can be fed to livestock like horses, cows, pigs, and chickens as a nutritional supplement.

– Compost – Put old sorghum syrup to good use by adding it to your compost pile. The sugars add carbon while the moisture aids decomposition.

– Biofuels – Spoiled sorghum syrup may be converted into ethanol biofuels through fermentation and distillation processes.

– Natural weed killer – Surprisingly, crystallized sorghum syrup makes an effective eco-friendly weed killer. Apply liberally to weeds to dehydrate and kill unwanted plants.

Before throwing sorghum syrup out, consider repurposing it into baking, animal feed, compost and more so nothing goes to waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about sorghum syrup’s shelf life and storage:

Does sorghum syrup need to be refrigerated?

Sorghum syrup does not need to be refrigerated until after opening. Unopened bottles can be stored in a cool, dry pantry for up to 2 years. Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate sorghum syrup for optimal shelf life.

Can you freeze sorghum syrup?

Yes, sorghum syrup can be frozen in airtight containers or freezer bags. Frozen storage time is up to 2 years. Allow the syrup to thaw slowly when ready to use again.

Does sorghum syrup expire?

Properly stored sorghum syrup generally lasts 12-24 months past the production date on the bottle before quality starts declining. Older syrup may crystallize or become darker but is still safe to consume.

What happens if sorghum syrup ferments?

If sorghum syrup ferments, it will take on wine-like properties with bubbly carbonation and a sour odor. Fermented syrup should be discarded since it will have an altered flavor and unsafe acidity levels.

Can moldy sorghum syrup make you sick?

Yes, consuming sorghum syrup with mold can make you sick. Mold can produce mycotoxins that cause illness. Check bottles regularly and immediately discard any sorghum syrup with signs of mold.

Why does sorghum syrup crystallize over time?

Sorghum syrup can crystallize during storage as the sucrose sugar molecules clump together. This is due to natural chemical changes over time. Crystallized syrup can be liquified by heating the jar briefly in hot water.


With proper storage techniques, sorghum syrup can maintain optimal flavor and quality for up to 2 years past the production date, especially when kept sealed in a cool pantry. Once opened, sorghum syrup will last up to one year in the refrigerator. Discard any syrup that shows signs of mold, fermentation, or other spoilage. Sorghum syrup is susceptible to crystallization over time but it remains safe to consume. With its unique flavor and nutrition, sorghum syrup is a shelf-stable alternative sweetener worth keeping on hand.

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