If you love using agave syrup to sweeten up drinks, baked goods, and other recipes, you may wonder just how long this popular natural sweetener actually lasts. With its light amber color and mildly sweet taste, agave syrup can be used similarly to honey or maple syrup, but its unique properties give it an exceptionally long shelf life.
In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about how long agave syrup lasts, proper storage methods, signs of spoilage, and freezing. You may be surprised to learn that unopened agave syrup lasts indefinitely and opened bottles have a lengthy shelf life as well when stored properly.
How Long Does Unopened Agave Syrup Last?
One of the most unique properties of agave syrup that sets it apart from many other sweeteners is its extraordinarily long shelf life. Unopened agave syrup has an indefinite shelf life and does not spoil.
The printed expiration date of about two years on the bottle is meaningless marketing and should be ignored. As long as the bottle of agave remains sealed and stored properly, it can realistically last for many years, decades, or even indefinitely without ever going bad.
What gives agave this unusually long shelf life? It comes down to the high fructose content. Agave syrup contains fructose levels of about 70-90%, which acts as a natural preservative to prevent spoilage. The absence of water also inhibits microbial growth. So while other syrups may crystallize or mold, agave’s unique composition keeps it shelf stable indefinitely.
Follow Proper Storage for Unopened Bottles
To get the most out of agave’s long shelf life, be sure to follow proper storage guidelines for your unopened bottles:
- Store agave syrup in a cool, dark pantry away from direct sources of heat and sunlight, which can impact quality over time.
- Keep the bottle tightly sealed in its original airtight container. Any exposure to oxygen can shorten its shelf life.
- Avoid storage in humid environments. Excess moisture can lead to crystallization or mold growth.
- Don’t let it sit near the oven or leave it in hot places. High temperatures also reduce shelf life.
Following these simple storage steps will keep your unopened agave in optimal condition almost indefinitely.
How Long Does Opened Agave Syrup Last?
Once you finally open your agave syrup, you can also get an impressively long shelf life. Opened agave syrup will keep well as long as you reseal it and store it properly.
After opening a new bottle, simply transfer the agave syrup to an airtight container such as a glass jar or resealable plastic container. Make sure to close it tightly. Then, store it in the refrigerator.
The cool temperature of the fridge will help maintain quality and freshness. Properly stored opened agave can easily last 12 months or more without spoiling.
Signs Your Agave Has Spoiled
With agave’s exceptionally long shelf life, spoilage isn’t common. But occasionally you may come across a bottle that has gone bad. Here are some signs your agave syrup has spoiled:
- Off or missing sweet aroma – Fresh agave should have a mildly sweet, almost honey-like smell. Foul odors indicate spoilage.
- Color change – Quality agave is light golden amber. Discoloration to brown, dark amber, or black shows deterioration.
- Crystallization – Sugars recrystallizing give syrup a gritty, grainy texture.
- Mold growth – Spotting fuzzy mold is an obvious sign it’s gone bad.
- Rancid, bitter, or sour taste – Agave should taste mildly and pleasantly sweet. Spoiled batches taste “off.”
If you notice any of the above, it’s best to discard the agave syrup. But with proper, cool storage, these types of spoilage can almost always be avoided.
Should You Refrigerate Agave Syrup?
Refrigeration is recommended for opened bottles of agave to maintain maximum freshness and quality over time. However, it is not strictly necessary for unopened bottles stored in the pantry.
Unopened agave syrup can be safely stored at room temperature in a cool, dry pantry. But if you are buying multiple bottles and stocking up, or plan to keep an unopened bottle for longer than a year or two, fridge storage is ideal.
The cold temperature of the refrigerator will slow any changes and help extend shelf life. Once opened, be sure to keep agave refrigerated in an airtight container.
Is Freezing Agave Syrup Recommended?
Freezing is not required for preserving agave syrup since it lasts so long at room temperature already. However, some people do freeze agave syrup for long term storage.
Freezing can cause some texture changes, making the syrup thick and hard when frozen and potentially grainy or crystallized when thawed. So freezing may impact quality.
If you do want to freeze agave syrup, be sure to use an airtight freezer-safe container. Allow the syrup to completely thaw in the refrigerator before use. Give it a good stir or shake after thawing to disperse any crystallization that occurred.
The Surprising Takeaway – Agave Syrup Can Last Forever!
When properly stored, both opened and unopened agave syrup can realistically last almost forever without spoiling or losing quality due to its high fructose content and low moisture levels.
Who knew this trendy sweetener had such a crazy long shelf life? While not required, refrigeration after opening can help maintain optimal quality and freshness. And as always, if you notice any odd changes in aroma, texture, or appearance, it’s safest to discard.
But you can confidently keep agave syrup stocked in your pantry knowing it stores well for years on end. Next time you’re searching for that perfect natural sweetener, remember agave syrup’s incredible longevity.
Hi, I’m Ben Holland. I love cooking, traveling, and spending time with my family! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes, travel tips, and stories about my adventures with my wife and kids.