If you’re trying to level down your blood sugar level or simply opting for an alternative to regular sugar, agave nectar is likely to be present on your pantry shelf.
On top of that, if you’re a vegan, that’s one more reason for you to stock on agave nectar. In this post, let’s find out more about this popular sweetener, including its shelf life.
Does Agave Nectar Go Bad?
Sugar acts as a natural preservative as it causes bacteria to lose water via a process called osmosis. Moreover, sugar binds with moisture content leaving no extra moisture for microorganisms to grow.
Thus, bacteria are unlikely to foster in a highly sweet environment that includes honey and regular sugar. Likewise, having very high sugar content, agave nectar is incredibly resistant to bacterial spoil.
Molds, however, can even grow on low moisture surrounding. So, don’t be surprised if you see molds growing on your years-old agave nectar. In simple words, though rare, agave nectar might go bad.
How Long Does Agave Nectar Last?
|Agave Nectar (Unopened)|
Agave Nectar (Opened)
Mostly indefinite but depends upon storage condition
As almost all commercial products do, agave nectar also comes with its own ‘Use Before’ date. It is around two years or more, depending upon the brand. However, according to USDA, this label doesn’t necessarily indicate the safety of the sweetener. Instead, it is the date before which the product is estimated to retain its finest quality and flavor.
Moreover, the way you store your agave nectar also plays a role when it comes to its expiry. Opened agave syrup must be kept in an airtight container and as most of the store-bought syrup comes in a bottle, make sure that the lid of the bottle is always tight and sealed.
It ensures that the nectar isn’t exposed to moisture or external surrounding, thus keeping mold contamination at bay.
Unopened agave syrup can last for a really long period. However, that doesn’t mean the flavor and quality of this sweetener remains fresh indefinitely.
After a few years, the chemical changes within the syrup might cause the taste to deteriorate highly. So, don’t be surprised if the sweetener didn’t taste as good a few years later as it did before.
Moreover, as for any commercial product, the shelf life of this sweetener also depends upon the quality of the syrup and the process by which it was prepared.
4 Tips to Tell if Agave Nectar Has Gone Bad
It’s almost certain that you’ll finish the nectar bottle before the quality of the syrup start to degrade. So, you don’t need to panic if you have got an opened agave syrup bottle lying on your pantry shelf for a few months.
But in case you have a bottle lying on your shelf for years, and you’re just curious to know if the syrup is still edible or not, here are a few tips for you to tell if it has gone bad.
1. Mold growth
Though it is very rare for mold to grow on agave nectar substrate, you cannot completely rule this possibility out. If you see any such growth on the syrup, it’s better to discard it right away.
If the syrup looks different and off-color, there are two possibilities that might have happened; either the syrup might have gone bad, or its quality might have been compromised.
In such cases, making a decision not to consume the nectar might probably be the best one. However, exposure to a temperature above 80 ºF might cause the color of some agave nectar to go dark, yet the product will still remain safe to consume.
Our olfactory senses are pretty strong when it comes to smelling foul or weird smells. So, if you feel that the aroma of the nectar has gone bad, it might be an indication that it is no more edible.
If you still couldn’t figure out the nectar’s status by now, you might need to taste it. However, make sure not to eat too much of it unless you ensure that the nectar is safe and of good quality.
7 Tips to Store Agave Nectar
Usually, agave nectar can be stored in the same way you store honey or some other sweetening syrup. However, if you’re new to this sweetener, here are some tips that you might need to consider when it comes to its storage.
1. Storing in the pantry
If you use agave syrup regularly, you can simply store it on your counter or your pantry shelf. You’ll not compromise on the quality and flavor of this sweetener by doing so.
2. Storing in the refrigerator
As we’ve already mentioned, agave nectar is perfectly safe to store in the pantry and, it is not a must to store it in the refrigerator.
However, if you personally prefer refrigerating the syrup, you can store it in an airtight container. Most importantly, remember that refrigerated syrup is harder to pour comparatively.
3. Storing in the freezer
Freezing agave nectar is not necessary, and the choice is ultimately yours. However, if you decide to store it in a freezer, make sure to keep it in a freezer-safe container.
If the container that the nectar came in is not freezer-safe, make sure to transfer it into a safe container.
4. Store in an airtight container
If you’ve purchased a small bottle of agave nectar, make sure to close the lid tightly at all times. And, if you’ve bought the nectar in bulk or if you’ve harvested it on your own, transfer it into airtight containers.
5. Make sure the containers used are sterile
Agave nectar isn’t a favorable bacterial substrate. But once mold contaminates the syrup, its longevity isn’t guaranteed. So, in order to keep such contaminants at bay, use a sterile container to store the nectar.
6. Wipe any spills
It’s a universal fact that sugar or sweetness attracts ants. Though ants roaming around your agave syrup bottle has nothing to do with the quality of the product within the bottle, it can be very annoying.
Moreover, once you remember the sharp pain and irritation that comes along with the ant bite, you’ll never forget to clean spills outside of the bottle or around the storage area if there’s any.
7. Keep it away from direct sunlight or heat
Sunlight degrades valuable substances from many food items, including honey. Thus, many experts advise storing food items in a cold and dark place.
Though the study of the effect of direct sunlight or heat on agave nectar has not been yet performed, it is better to store the syrup away from direct sunlight or heat. You can even store it in opaque containers for better longevity.
Here’s a simple video on how to store agave nectar.
The Risk of Consuming an Expired Agave Nectar
First and foremost, it is very uncommon for agave nectar to go bad. As we’ve mentioned earlier, before the quality of agave nectar starts degrading, you’re likely to finish the entire bottle.
And, even if the product has gone bad, you’ll be able to tell as we’ve shared all the necessary tips with you earlier in this post.
So, if you consume the nectar past the expiry date mentioned on the packaging, you’ll not experience any adverse health reaction. However, it might not taste as fresh and tasty compared to a newly bought bottle of syrup.
Now, apart from all these tips and information, let’s assume that someone accidentally consumed bad agave nectar, i.e., molded nectar. If the amount consumed is very little, they’re unlikely to face any challenging health issues.
Nevertheless, if they eat too much of it, they might become sick, experience an allergic reaction or a stomach ache due to mold ingested alongside it.
Can you freeze Agave Nectar?
The primary purpose of freezing something is to elongate its shelf life. Freezing agave nectar is not a common practice, and it perfectly makes sense as agave nectar perfectly maintains its quality and flavor at room temperature for a sufficiently long time.
Moreover, freezing this sweetener makes its consistency thicker, making it harder to pour. Thus, you don’t necessarily have to freeze agave nectar.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that agave nectar can be frozen if you intend to keep it for a really long period of time or if you don’t use it regularly.
A beneficial tip for you is to pour the nectar into the ice cube tray and then freeze it inside an airtight container. This way, you can control the amount of syrup you thaw the next time you decide to use it.
We now know that agave nectar can be undoubtedly consumed past its expiry date. However, we live in an era where you can buy any food item you desire within minutes/hours, and agave nectar is no exception.
So, it is thoughtful to purchase the required amount rather than piling at once and wondering if it’s still edible after years.