Dear AskMe: I never thought it would happen to me...
November 3, 2017 6:54 AM   Subscribe

but I have a "Can we eat it?" question. Do treacle and golden syrup spoil?

Fueled by my love of anything gingerbready, I am planning on making a double batch of parkin this weekend. When I read the Felicity Cloake description, I was like, "Aha! I can finally use my tins of Lyle's treacle and golden syrup after all these years!"

Yes. YEARS. I bought them when we were in the UK a few years ago. They've sat in our cabinets unopened for, um, a period of time. I have read the labels. Technically, they are expired. They are a bit dented, but not bloated. So uh, can I bake with them safely? Or should I trot down to my local fancypants specialty foods store to buy new ones?

I want parkin but I do not wish to kill my husband and myself.
posted by Kitteh to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They shouldn't. The sugar content is above the osmotic barrier to allow for growth of anything. It is essentially the same reason that you can eat honey that was harvested by the ancient egyptians, there simply isn't enough water to allow any bacterial (or any) growth.

They're also not even opened so they're likely to have been bottled sterile anyways so double no worries you'll be fine.
posted by koolkat at 6:57 AM on November 3, 2017 [5 favorites]

Also I wouldn't think anything of eating opened 5 year old treacle or golden syrup at all, other than the fact that it has likely crystallised, but still, no worries.
posted by koolkat at 6:58 AM on November 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't worry in the slightest.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:01 AM on November 3, 2017

I'd give this not a second thought.

I'm pretty sure the golden syrup currently in my cupboard is at least that old, and opened into the bargain.

Eat it.
posted by Salamander at 7:08 AM on November 3, 2017

Syrups are basically immortal. Like koolkat says, the sugar content stops bacterial growth. Same principle for things like jams and cordials.
posted by Jilder at 7:11 AM on November 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sugar is one of the best and oldest preservatives. This is also why honey famously doesn’t go bad. No worries, no problems, eat and enjoy!
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:15 AM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

First make sure the treacle was from a health-certified mine or well. You can't be too careful with treacle.
posted by ubiquity at 7:18 AM on November 3, 2017 [10 favorites]

If they've been unopened this entire time, they're fine. I've had golden syrup go weird after opening the tin, and it seemed to be caused by oxidation of the tin getting into the syrup. (It was super obvious, so don't worry. You'll know.) I've also had maple syrup go a bit moldy from putting dirty spoons in it, but again, this was after opening. Sealed sugar product stay good for a VERY long time.
posted by easternblot at 8:25 AM on November 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah the packaging can go bad and affect the contents, other than that it should be fine.
posted by Coaticass at 1:21 PM on November 3, 2017

This is exactly how British households store them. I doubt I've ever cooked with in date golden syrup.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:24 PM on November 3, 2017

While I agree with everyone and sugar should last forever, I have experienced the oxidation that easternblot mentions and it was hideous. I never thought golden syrup could betray me like that. The contents and the metal container had become one and I can still taste it now (my sister likes to remind me of the faces I made that terrible day).

So give it a tiny taste test first but if it tastes fine it is fine.

Also Parkin, YUM! Enjoy. I grew up on it but you can't easily do a gluten free version so it's one I've farewelled. I shall enjoy it vicariously through you.
posted by kitten magic at 4:40 PM on November 3, 2017

Be careful as black treacle can ferment and explode as you open it. It is uncommon but not rare!
posted by kadia_a at 3:02 AM on November 4, 2017

« Older Sleeping in the sprawled position doesn't help.   |   Animals? Neighbors? Ghosts? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.