Honey simple syrup is a delicious and versatile sweetener that can be used in a variety of recipes, from cocktails to baked goods. But how long does it last?
With conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know for sure. In this article, we’ll dive into the science behind honey simple syrup and explore the different factors that can affect its shelf life.
Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a curious beginner, read on to discover everything you need to know about how long honey simple syrup lasts.
How Long Does Honey Simple Syrup Last?
The shelf life of honey simple syrup can vary depending on a few different factors. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that honey simple syrup needs to be refrigerated.
This is because raw honey contains enzymes that can break down sugars into alcohols and organic acids. If left at room temperature, these enzymes will continue to work and the honey will spoil. Additionally, raw honey contains bacteria which can also cause it to spoil.
Refrigerating honey syrup will help to prevent these spoiling processes from occurring. If stored in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator, honey simple syrup that is a one to one ratio can last about one month. Syrup that is a 2 to 1 ratio has a six week shelf life if stored in the same way.
It’s important to note that even with the amazing longevity of honey, this simple syrup will not last forever. After about a month, it’s best to discard any remaining syrup and make a fresh batch.
What Is Honey Simple Syrup?
Honey simple syrup is a sweet and versatile liquid that is made by combining honey and water over low heat. The mixture is heated only as long as it takes for the honey and water to combine, as excessive heat can break down elements within the honey. The resulting syrup has a thinner consistency than regular syrup, but it’s still thick enough to use as a general sweetener and as the basis for salad dressings, sauces, marinades, and baked goods.
The syrup can be made with any type of honey, and the final product will reflect the honey used in color, taste, and complexity. It’s recommended to use high-quality local honey, preferably organic, as an easy way to support local agriculture. Honey simple syrup can also be used as a substitute for white sugar in recipes.
When making honey simple syrup, it’s important to refrigerate it in an airtight container to prevent spoiling. Raw honey contains enzymes that can break down sugars into alcohols and organic acids, which can cause the syrup to spoil if left at room temperature. Additionally, raw honey contains bacteria that can also cause it to spoil.
The Science Behind Honey Simple Syrup
To understand the science behind honey simple syrup, it’s important to know how honey is made. Honey is a natural sweetener that is produced by bees from the nectar of flowers. Bees collect the nectar and store it in their honeycombs, where it is then broken down by enzymes and evaporated to create honey.
Raw honey is a low-moisture food, which means that it has a very low water content. This makes it difficult for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow and spoil the honey. However, once water is introduced to honey, such as when making honey simple syrup, bacteria can begin to grow and spoil the syrup.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to store honey simple syrup in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator. The cold temperature of the refrigerator helps to slow down the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms, extending the shelf life of the syrup.
It’s also important to note that excessive heat can break down elements within the honey, so when making honey simple syrup, it should be made over low heat with the honey added to the water and heated only as long as it takes for the two to combine.
Factors Affecting Honey Simple Syrup Shelf Life
The shelf life of honey simple syrup can be affected by a few factors, including the amount of honey used, the method of preparation, and whether or not it is flavored.
The amount of honey used in the syrup can play a role in its shelf life. A syrup made with a higher ratio of honey to water will have a shorter shelf life than one made with a lower ratio. For example, a 2:1 ratio of honey to water will not last as long as a 1:1 ratio.
The method of preparation can also affect the shelf life of honey simple syrup. The hot process method involves boiling the water and honey mixture, which kills bacteria and creates a more stable syrup. This method will result in a longer shelf life compared to the cold process method, which involves simply stirring cold water into honey.
Flavored syrups may also have a shorter shelf life than unflavored syrups. The flavors added to the syrup will have their own shelf life, which can impact the overall shelf life of the syrup. For example, a cranberry simple syrup may have a shorter shelf life than plain simple syrup.
Proper storage is also crucial in extending the shelf life of honey simple syrup. It should be stored in a sterilized, air-tight glass container and rinsed with boiled water to prevent contamination. Homemade syrup should be refrigerated, as the cold temperature can inhibit the growth of bacteria and allow the syrup to last longer. If stored in a bottle, the opening should be cleaned regularly to prevent sugar crystals from forming and providing an environment for bacteria to breed.
How To Store Honey Simple Syrup
Storing honey simple syrup properly is key to ensuring its longevity. The best way to store honey simple syrup is in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help to prevent any bacteria or enzymes from spoiling the syrup.
Glass jars, Weck jars, and mason jars are all great options for storing honey simple syrup. Plastic bottles can also be used, but it’s important to make sure they have a tight-fitting top to prevent oxygen exposure.
When making honey simple syrup, it’s important to use warm water and not heat it over 110°F if using raw honey. Excessive heat can break down elements within the honey and hurt the healthy bacteria.
To make a small quantity of honey simple syrup, place the empty squeeze bottle on a set of scales and zero the scales. Then pour in your desired amount of honey followed by 1/3 as much again (by weight) of water. Shake the squeeze bottle with a finger covering the open end to encourage the two liquids to combine. Allow to cool and then refrigerate.
For larger quantities, use a glass bowl in a pan of water over a hob or sous vide cooker with 3 parts honey to 1 part water and gently warm and stir to combine. Aim for 36°C/97°F max and be sure to keep below 40°C/104°F or you risk destroying desirable qualities in your honey.
Signs Of Spoilage And How To Tell If Honey Simple Syrup Has Gone Bad
Despite its long shelf life, honey simple syrup can still go bad. There are a few signs to look out for to determine if your honey simple syrup has spoiled.
The first sign of spoilage is a cloudy appearance. A freshly prepared honey simple syrup should have a clear appearance, similar to water. If you notice that your syrup has become cloudy or has taken on a moldy look, it’s a sure sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded.
Another sign of spoilage is an off-odor. If your honey simple syrup smells strange or unpleasant, it’s likely that bacteria has started to grow and the syrup is no longer safe to consume.
Mold growth is also a definite sign of spoilage. If you notice any mold growing on or around the syrup, it’s best to throw it out immediately.
Finally, if the honey simple syrup has been exposed to extreme temperatures or humidity, it’s also likely to have gone bad. Extreme temperatures can cause bacterial growth and spoilage, so it’s important to store your syrup in a cool, dry place.
If you notice any of these signs of spoilage in your honey simple syrup, it’s best to err on the side of caution and discard it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to food safety.
Using Honey Simple Syrup In Recipes
Honey simple syrup is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes. It can be used as a substitute for white sugar in vinaigrettes, sauces, marinades, and baked goods. The final syrup will reflect the honey used in color, taste, and complexity. We recommend using high-quality local honey, preferably organic, as an easy way to support local agriculture.
When using honey simple syrup in recipes, it’s important to keep in mind that the syrup may be slightly thinner than traditional white sugar. This means that you may need to adjust the amount of syrup used in a recipe to achieve the desired level of sweetness.
One way to use honey simple syrup is as a sweetener for fruit crisps and pies. The natural sweetness of the honey enhances and compliments the flavors of the fruit. When using honey simple syrup in this way, you may need to add slightly more than what’s called for in recipes written for honey straight from the jar or white sugar.
Some cooks like to use a 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 ratio of honey to water to create a thicker version of the syrup that they use as a general sweetener and as the basis for salad dressings. The advantage of using it this way is the syrup is easier to work with than what comes in the jar but is still thick enough that it doesn’t make things runny.
To thicken or thin the syrup to your desired consistency, simply continue to add a 1/4 cup of honey for thicker or a 1/4 cup of water to thin the syrup until it reaches its desired consistency.