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Storing sugar for the long term


Sugar can be stored for a very long time, but you need to take some precautions to avoid problems.  White granulated sugar, finer caster sugar sugar, brown sugar (Demerera sugar) and even powdered sugar (icing sugar) can all be stored for the long term.

OK so some people may not consider sugar as an essential in their disaster larder. Sugar gets a bad name, but you can bake with sugar, cook with sugar, and generally use sugar to sweeten up otherwise plain food. If you ever need to rely solely on your disaster larder, a little bit of something sweet could be just what you need!

The main storage concerns with normal dry sugar involve making sure it stays dry and in a hard sealed container where bugs cannot get at it.

Sugar doesn’t have an expiry date as such.  When kept in the right conditions, the sugar will not spoil or rot in the same way as some other foodstuffs so it is ideal for long term storage.

It is estimated that normal cheap granulated sugar from the grocery store should last for 30 years when kept in cool dry conditions.

Remember cool means cool, not cold, and not in the refrigerator!

And dry conditions are ideal but keep your containers away from concrete walls and floors where condensation may develop.

If you follow these simple tips you should be able to store your sugar for the long term, just in case.

White Granulated Sugar and Caster Sugar Storage

Normal dry white sugar can be stored in a sealed plastic container.  It is essential that this is watertight to keep the sugar dry and to keep the bugs out.

Sugar will tend to infuse with strong flavours so make sure the plastic container is completely clean, and consider storing in polythene bags within your hard plastic container.

Because there is a slight amount of moisture within normal granulated sugar it will tend to clump over a long period of time.  That’s not to say there is anything wrong with clumped sugar.  After all it can be easily broken up again or ground down.  Even if it clumps up it is still more than suitable for use after several years.

But don’t use oxygen absorbers when storing sugar for the long term. The sugar will turn into a dry hard block that is next to unusable.

Powdered Sugar (icing sugar) Storage

Powdered icing sugar is especially dry, and that lack of moisture is key to being suitable for long term storage.  It will not tend to clump due to that lack of moisture in the sugar so as long as it it stored carefully in a sealed container it will keep for a very long time.

Brown Sugar Storage

Brown sugar is a slightly different challenge for long term storage. Brown sugar contains considerably more moisture than white sugar. This makes it difficult to store for long periods of time.

Ideally you want to buy smaller bags of brown sugar that comes from the store in completely sealed plastic bags. Then place these sealed bags in your hard plastic containers or buckets, without opening the bags.

Brown sugar won’t last as long as white sugar in long term storage so you should plan to rotate your stocks of brown sugar more often.

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