Brown Sugar Storage Science


Introduction: Brown Sugar Storage Science

About: Hello and Welcome to In the Kitchen With Matt. I am your host Matt Taylor. My goal for the show is to teach you how to cook really good food at home for cheap. Eating out everyday can get expensive, but it d...

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.

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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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    20 Discussions

    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...!

    2 replies

    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.

    4 replies

    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.

    1 reply

    Another option if you need to use brown suffer that has solidified is to grate the suger with a cheese grater.

    1 reply

    Simply store brown sugar with a few marshmallows, same theory applies.

    1 reply

    Good 'ible, Matt, as always. I have had great success with the airtight container method of storage since Noah stepped off the ark. Question: you mentioned marshmallows. I have a couple bags of marshmallow bullets! They're ok in hot chocolate, etc. Is there a way to keep those from turning into weapons?

    1 reply

    Thank you so much! You can put the marshmallows in an airtight container and in the fridge, and they will last 2 to 3 months. :) The ones that are already hard, I haven't tried it, but I heard you can put them in a ziplock bag and submerged them in warm water and after a minute or so they will soften up. :)

    I use moist paper towel to soften it up.

    After years of brown sugar bricks, I finally bought an air tight container to store it, I haven't had an issue since.

    1 reply

    That method works great too! So many different methods. Yes definitely better to just store it properly in the first place in an air tight container. haha. :)

    The microwave method is the fastest, simplest by far.

    1 reply