There are different types of sugar available for storage. In Australia, we can usually purchase: raw sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar and liquid sugars such as golden syrup and liquid glucose.
White sugar, caster sugar and icing sugar have a relatively low moisture content for sugar.
Brown sugar and raw sugar have a higher moisture content due to their retainment of molasses.
Liquid glucose is used for making foods such as fudge. It is best stored in its original packaging (usually a wide-mouthed bottle or jar).
How long does it store?
Sugar doesn't go off. If stored properly, it can last for many years.
White sugar, caster sugar and icing sugar can be stored for 20 years or longer under the right conditions.
Due to its higher moisture content, brown sugar and raw sugar may not store for as long, but can certainly last 10 years or longer.
How to store sugar
If you live in a fairly low humidity area, it is okay to leave sugar in its original packaging and store in your pantry cupboard out of direct sunlight. For it to last 20 years (the white sugars), it is recommended it be stored in either its original packaging, in PET bottles or mylar bags (foil pouches) and then in storage tubs to protect it from moisture. This will also ensure it is protected from rodents, insect etc.
Do not use oxygen absorbers with sugar. Oxygen absorbers will turn your sugar into bricks, which are difficult to break up. It will still be edible, just a nuisance when you want to use it.
The exception to using oxygen absorbers is if you live in a humid climate and your sugar will turn to a 'brick' in a couple of months. Decanter your sugar and store in foil pouches or PET bottles each with one oxygen absorber.
You shouldn't store sugar in the fridge or freezer either as it will also become a sugar 'brick'. However, if there is no other alternative and you have to store it in the fridge/freezer, thaw it out for an hour before you wish to use it and it will be easier to break up.
Breaking up a sugar brick
Recommendations I have heard are:
- Via food processor (if it is a small enough 'brick' of sugar, or in hard lumps.
- In the microwave. Careful with this one as sugar does get hot very quickly. Do no re-store this sugar. It must be used quickly.
- Whack it with a rolling pin (my favourite!)
Why store sugar?
Not only for our taste buds as an enhancer (like salt etc), sugar is a necessary ingredient when cooking with yeast, a necessity when baking and even simple things like making pasta sauce.