Brown Sugar Storage Science

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Introduction: Brown Sugar Storage Science

Science of Cooking

This is an entry in the
Science of Cooking

Okay let me set the scenario. It is a nice spring afternoon, you have a bit of a sweet tooth so you decide to make some amazing chocolate chip cookies, you get all your ingredients out and low and behold, the brown sugar that you had sitting in it's bag loosely folded over is now hard as a brick! You think, what?? I just bought this a few weeks ago, and the expiration date is still several months away. Ring any bells? So why did the brown sugar turn hard and how can you prevent it? ALSO if that does happen is it salvageable? I will address all of those questions.

If you enjoyed it please consider voting for me in the science of baking contest.

Follow along with the steps or watch the video tutorial, or do both. :)

Step 1: What You Need

First in order to store brown sugar properly we need a way to prevent air from getting to it. Why? Because the air pulls out the moisture from the brown sugar causing it to get all hard. I am sure there is a chemistry explanation, with atoms and molecules. But basic explanation is the sugar gets dehydrated. haha. So to prevent that from happening always store your brown sugar in an air tight container like Tupperware or one thing I started doing is storing mine in its original bag and then in an airtight silicone bag. A lot of times the original bag with just something like a twisty tie is not enough.

Step 2: How to Salvage That Brick of Sugar

Okay so now we get to the situation where you have this brick of brown sugar. No way to use it as is. There are several methods you can employ. The science is we need to re-introduce moisture back into the sugar. So try one of the following methods:

1. You can put the brick of sugar in an airtight container, then add a slice of bread with it. Put the lid on and let sit for about 24 hours. Voila, the sugar will pull moisture from the bread slice and soften up the sugar. Isn't that awesome?

2. Similar to number one, but you use a few apple slices instead. Again really cool!

3. Similar to 1 and 2, but you use a big marshmallow instead. Wow this is amazing.

4. There are some terra cotta storage tablets that you can get wet and then place with the sugar, which should to do the trick.

5. Let's say you really need to use that sugar right away. One thing you can try is putting the sugar in the microwave with a damp paper towel and turn it on for 5 to 10 seconds, then check it, etc. Until the sugar softens up.

There you have it a little bit about how to store brown sugar properly so it stays soft and ready to use, and how to get it back to that soft stage if it hardens up on you. Happy Baking!

Step 3: Video Tutorial

Now watch those steps in action by checking out the video tutorial. :)

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    I keep a few cups in a sealed Tupperware container, which I replenish when needed from the main stash I keep in the freezer. I also have 'Brown Sugar Bears' in all my brown sugar containers...

    bobstuart - those apple wedges and bread slices are mighty tasty when they've been keeping company with brown sugar for a few days...!

    In a freezer ? So don't seal the container, freezers extract humidity from air.

    I never waste food on brown sugar, I just put a bit of water in a bottle cap or small dish, and set it on top of the sugar in a sealed container. Then I'm careful not to spill it for a few days, but you could add sponge instead. You can also put a lump of sugar in a tough baggie and run over it with a car.

    You can put it in a rocket and send it in a etheral cloud, not a big one.

    Yeah there are so many other options of re-introducing moisture into the brown sugar. I like the idea of a small sponge in a cap as well. hahahaha the fun approach, running over it back and forth with a car! haha of course then it would just be crumbly and still not have the soft texture that comes with the added moisture..haha

    I prefer it dried up since I only use brown sugar for dry rub . I cut a couple tablesppons worth off, and crush it into a powder.

    I freeze mine in a resealable plastic bag or just use a bread tie to twist around the open end of the original bag. When needed, take it out of the freezer for maybe 5 minutes. It thaws very quickly and is soft and ready to use.