Granulated sugar, a naturally occurring carbohydrate, is used to sweeten foods and add flavor. Ranging from white sugar to brown sugar, granulated sugar is derived from a variety of fruits and vegetables, whether cane, beets or maple. Sugar hardens when it comes in contact with moisture, and is typically stored in a dry, airtight container. It can also be stored in the freezer, but doing so will not impact its shelf life.
Cane sugar is one of the oldest domesticated sugars, first harvested and turned into granulated form about 2,000 years ago. While sugar has an indefinite shelf life, brown sugar should be either stored in the freezer or used within six months of purchasing for the best flavor.
Place the sugar in a sealed, airtight container to store. Alternatively, insert the sugar into a freezer-safe plastic bag, pressing out all the air. Unopened packages of sugar can also be frozen, extending the brown sugar's flavor life.
Place the airtight containers or bags filled with sugar in the freezer. Store indefinitely. Take the sugar out of the freezer occasionally and check for pockets of moisture. If this occurs, mix the sugar using a fork or knife, breaking up any pockets and evenly spreading the sugar.
If moisture seeps into the sugar during the freezing process and it is too hard to remove from the container or cannot be separated into grains, there are several methods to soften it. It can be softened slightly in a microwave-safe bowl, heated on high for 1 to 2 minutes, and used immediately. Another method of softening it over a longer period of time is by placing it in a container with a slightly dampened towel or a piece of fresh bread. Alternatively, the sugar can be inserted into an oven at 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and baked for 15 minutes, falling apart when tapped.
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