How to Tell if Molasses is Bad?

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The frequent question that bothers many Molasses lovers is how to tell if Molasses is bad? While sugar and honey are the most popular sweeteners used in every household today, Molasses comes into the frame only during grilling or baking. 

Since this vintage sweetener is the least used in your daily cooking, it finds its place in an extreme corner of any refrigerator. It is because of its rare requirement that many people are uncertain about its usability.

If you face the same issue and struggle with telling if your sweetener has become unfit for consumption, then read this article till the end to unfold the untold mystery.  

How to tell if Molasses is bad?

How to tell if Molasses is bad?

Molasses come in many forms, and every variant differs on the viscosity, texture, color, and other parameters. Since this sweetener is not used much, it remains unnoticed for years.

The property of this dark syrup is astonishing too. The texture and smell don’t change over time and so making out if your box is still consumable to use or not is always surrounded by a thick layer. Then, how to know if Molasses isn’t gone bad? This question has troubled many, and hence we are here to help.

It isn’t straightforward to predict the age of the Molasses that you have. Yet, looking through a few parameters could help. These parameters are listed below for your reference. If you find any of these changes in your Molasses, it is time to discard it and buy a new one.


Molds develop on any food product when bacteria and parasites attack it. The formation of molds means that your Molasses has been contaminated and is unfit for consumption. At the initial stage of contamination, the mold’s size is small and hard to find if not appropriately scrutinized.

When the colonies develop further, the size increases and they appear as spots on the surface of the molasses. It is the first sign that you should look for.

Taste and flavor

Every edible item has an aroma that degrades over time. The same is applicable for Molasses. Though this sweetener doesn’t lose its flavor and aroma quickly, you will get clear signs of its spoilage once it does.

The first indication is the smell. If you open the lid, sniff, and an unpleasant or rotten smell enters your nostrils, your sweetener has undergone degradation.

This syrup has a pleasing aroma that many individuals like, which is why they use it. However, the smell of Molasses may change with time and become earthy. An earthy aroma of this syrup doesn’t indicate that it has gone bad. It can still be consumed but with caution. The variant of Molasses that has been sulfured has a sulfur smell that is a characteristic of such syrups.

When the smell is pleasing, and you see no signs of any spoilage on the surface, the next step is to see its color. There are different variants of this sweetener, but it doesn’t mean that the variant you have purchased will change its color.

If you see any color change, wait no further and discard that bottle of Molasses to purchase a fresh one. What if there is no color change? Tasting is the next step to identify spoilage in Molasses. If you get an unpleasant taste, take it as a red flag and put the Molasses in the trash with no further thoughts.


Molasses are formed during the sugar making process, but it stays in the liquid form. It never crystallizes, and if it does, it is a clear indication that your bottle of Molasses is ready to be discarded because if consumed, you will be inviting health risks.

How should Molasses be stored?

Molasses syrup is similar to other sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Hence, it can be stored similarly in your pantry like the other two sweeteners. Refrigerating the Molasses is another way to keep it, but it won’t have any different effect on it apart from extending its shelf life.

The only aspect that you should ensure while storing molasses is that you should not keep it at a place where the sunlight directly hits it. The ideal location of storage should be a cool, moisture-free, dark place. While storing it, also ensure that the temperature of the area remains the same throughout.

If there are regular fluctuations in the temperature, then your bottle of Molasses will degrade soon. Many people refrigerate Molasses to extend its shelf life. This method works, and you, too, can do it. However, upon chilling, the viscosity and thickness of this syrup increases.

To use the syrup that you stored inside the refrigerator, you should first put it outside at room temperature for some time. It is only after it has reduced its thickness and attained its regular maple syrup-like consistency that it should be used for consumption.

The essential part about storing the Molasses is that keeping it at any place doesn’t make much difference. However, if not sealed tightly and moisture freely enters, then there are chances that you will find mold colonies waiting for you the next time you open the bottle. It happens because this syrup is hygroscopic, which means it is susceptible to moisture and air. Hence, always ensure that you put the lid tightly, so it doesn’t contact these two damaging elements.

Can the bottle date tell if Molasses is bad?

Molasses syrup

It is quite tough to determine the age of the Molasses that you have in your house. As we mentioned above,  if not entirely spoiled, it would give no signs of its aging and degradation. How long do Molasses last? This question has always prevailed in the minds of the users of this syrup.

Every bottle of Molasses has a specific date mentioned on it. This date is known as the ‘best-by date’ that is provided by the manufacturer. That is not the expiry date because this syrup lasts many more years past this mentioned date.

The only message conveyed through this date is the time limit beyond which this syrup is likely to experience degradation in its quality and taste. You won’t be able to notice the change because it is prolonged and minimal.

The manufacturer guarantees you the quality of the Molasses, and hence he provides a specific date after which the quality at the initial stage won’t be found again. This information doesn’t suffice to break the glass surrounding this syrup’s safety; it only tells you the time after which you should be cautious.

The general rule of thumb says that if your Molasses’ bottle is two years older than the mentioned best by date and it’s sealed, it is safe to consume it. While on the other hand, an opened bottle should be consumed within a year so that it doesn’t diminish its quality.

In case it is refrigerated, then a sealed bottle of Molasses can be consumed even if it’s five years beyond the best by date. If it is opened, you should finish it within two to three years.

What happens if you consume bad Molasses?

Bad Molasses develops molds, and its taste and flavor decline, which make it unfit for consumption. It happens when you don’t store this syrup in the prescribed manner. If moisture and air come into its contact, it will start degrading and will become non-consumable.

It may also start to crystallize, making it challenging to use. That is a concrete indication of its spoilage.

Every bottle of this syrup comes with a ‘best-by date,’ which assures that its quality and other properties remain intact till that date. However, one can consume the syrup even after the date lapses. Many people wonder what will happen to them if they consume spoilt syrup unknowingly.

To date, no cases of Molasses syrup poisoning have been recorded. It means that even if you consume spoiled Molasses without noticing its spoilage, you won’t face severe health issues. 

You may have an upset stomach for a while, but there won’t be any health risks associated.

The best thing about Molasses is that it starts indicating its condition in one or the other way. If you eat Molasses that has gone bad, you will know it before it reaches your stomach. Yet, you will not get harmed and will stay healthy.

How does honey retain its quality while Molasses cannot?

The significant aspect responsible for the spoilage of any food item is water. Though water is an essential commodity, you should not forget that it can be a good place for bacteria and fungi to develop when present in more amounts.

The same happens in the case of honey and Molasses. Honey is similar to Molasses but has less water content. Several studies show that honey contains only 17% water. This small amount of water makes it difficult for the potential bacteria and fungi to develop because they thrive at places with high moisture and will occur if the water content is higher.

Molasses, on the other hand, has 22% water in it. It has more water and is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water and moisture from the atmosphere. Its extraordinary property, complemented with high water content, is highly susceptible to degradation and spoilage.

The bacteria that attack this syrup find the conditions favorable and start developing at a fast pace. Hence, even if these two values don’t seem to be two huge quantities, a slight difference of 5% makes a massive difference in their lifespan. It is the reason why honey sustains and lasts forever while Molasses starts degrading.

Can Molasses freeze when kept in the freezer?

Sugar is an anti-freezing agent, and it never freezes. Molasses, being a byproduct of sugar, has sugar content in it. When this syrup is kept in the freezer, it may become thick and dense but won’t entirely freeze to become a solid mass.

Sugar plays a vital role here. It lowers Molasses’ freezing temperature further when you keep it in the freezer, and hence it still stays in its semi-liquid form.

If you take it out of the freezer and keep it aside for a while, you will see that water has separated from the other constituents. You will also see tiny sugar crystals in the separated water content, which, when stirred well, makes the syrup consumable.

Freezing the Molasses causes no significant effect besides increasing its shelf life. Many molasses eaters use this technique to prevent their favorite syrup from getting bad soon.

Some final lines to help you tell if Molasses is bad

Molasses is a delicious, sweet-smelling syrup that adds magic to the taste in every bite when put in any dish. This syrup makes holiday goodies like cookies and gingerbread so mouth-watering and tasty. While they are used to make plenty of vintage plates, they still take a back seat in daily usage, and it’s not easy to tell if Molasses is bad if it wasn’t used for a long time. 

This syrup stays for a long time but has a limited lifespan, due to which it degrades with time. If stored appropriately, this magical syrup can stay around you for an extended time. However, it also depends on atmospheric conditions.

Though this syrup doesn’t show any signs of aging, you will see all the signs crystal clear once it is entirely spoiled. Hence, always look for the potential symptoms of spoilage mentioned above if you deal with a Molasses’ bottle that has passed its best-by date.

You should be a responsible cook and eat healthy and fresh food. You should not consume any product for the sake of finishing it. Though Molasses doesn’t cause any severe health complications, why wait for the worse to happen?

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