Brown sugar is made from the molasses of the sugarcane plant. The molasses undergoes a refining process to make white sugar.
For brown sugar, the refining process is only partial, thus, forming a brown tint.
It is also caused by adding molasses back to the refined white sugar crystals.
In the culinary arts, brown sugar is used extensively, especially in baked goods, which need rising.
The molasses content in brown sugar gives a distinct taste. As such, it is excellent for changing the texture, flavor, and even the color of your dish.
However, brown sugar can be hard to manage. If not stored well, exposure to air can cause the sugar to clump into hard chunks.
Spoon University says that it is the molasses that causes the hardening. One method, freezing, promises to keep brown sugar soft.
But is this possible? Can you freeze brown sugar to stop it from hardening? It might seem like freezing will cause the sugar to harden, but that is not the case.
Read on to find the details.
Does Freezing Affect Brown sugar?
No, freezing brown sugar does not cause any adverse effects on the quality of your sugar.
The US Food Safety and Inspection Service say that freezing your food will “always be safe.”.
So, it is a sure-shot method to preserve the texture and flavor of your brown sugar.
In the case of brown sugar, you can freeze it for as long you want because it doesn’t go bad.
However, studies show that brown sugar works best within a two-year period after opening.
But if brown sugar is so durable, why do we freeze it? Although brown sugar can last indefinitely, it tends to harden.
So, when brown sugar turns into rocky chunks, it becomes tough to use without heat, especially in baking, where you need to mix the ingredients without cooking it.
So, if you freeze brown sugar, it traps the moisture within itself. And almost like sealing it away in a vault, the moisture is kept inside, preventing the sugar from solidifying.
However, you should never refrigerate brown sugar. It is not the same as freezing and will cause your sugar to dry up and harden.
Even with freezing, you need to freeze it using the proper methods. Otherwise, the sugar can develop a foul odor from other frozen items in the freezer.
How to Freeze Brown sugar?
Now that we know how functional freezing brown sugar is, let’s talk about how we can do it.
Follow these two simple steps to ensure that you freeze your brown sugar properly.
Step 1: Get the correct container.
There are many options for containers when storing brown sugar.
You can use a mason jar, a Tupperware container or any plastic container, or even a Ziploc bag.
But you have to make sure that the container is air-tight. You should never store your brown sugar in the container or bag it comes in.
Even if it’s air-tight, it probably won’t be durable enough to sit in a freezer.
Unless the bad says ‘Freezer Safe,’ we strongly advise transferring the sugar to another container.
Methods To Store Brown Sugar For Freezing.
There are a few methods to store brown sugar. Many people keep brown sugar using the double container method.
This method stores the sugar in a Ziploc bag first and puts the bag in another plastic container.
However, as long as the container is air-tight, a single container is enough.
Another good method is to store them in separate containers and small amounts.
This is because bigger containers have a higher chance of trapping air.
It also decreases the risk of having all your brown sugar harden.
Step 2: Freezing Your Brown Sugar.
One thing about brown sugar is that it is highly absorbent. So, it can absorb the scents of other things in the space it is kept.
And keeping it in a freezer might cause it to end up smelling like raw fish and meat.
You will have to do some rearranging in your freezer to ensure your brown sugar is kept separately.
Make sure it is kept away from any meats or things that have strong odors.
A good idea is to wrap and label all the items in your freezer to know precisely where everything is.
How to Thaw Frozen Brown sugar?
Thawing your frozen brown sugar is easy, but you have to be diligent about it.
Here are some ways to thaw it using common kitchen appliances:
1 – Use an Oven.
- Pre-heat your oven to about 250°F.
- Put your brown sugar into the oven and leave it on for about 5 minutes.
- Depending on the amount of sugar, you might have to change the time.
Here’s a tip, keep checking in-between intervals to see if it has reached the desired softness.
You can even stir it to prevent the melting ice from damaging the sugar.
2 – Use a Microwave.
- Put the brown sugar in the microwave and let it heat up for about 20 seconds in the highest setting.
- Again, if you have a large amount of sugar, you might have to keep it for longer.
Ovens and microwaves can help it thaw out faster.
But one thing to note is that once the sugar cools down, it will harden, so you have to use it when it is hot.
3 – Self-Thawing.
This method is by far the best method as it does not cause your brown sugar to harden after thawing.
But it is the most time-consuming method as it takes about 2 or 3 hours to unthaw fully.
To do this, leave your sugar out at room temperature. Then at regular intervals, shift and stir your sugar.
Stirring is an integral step to ensure that your sugar doesn’t absorb excess moisture.
Although moisture is good for brown sugar, direct contact will spoil it.
Now you know freezing brown sugar is a good option for preventing it from hardening.
It is also great as a storage method if you have a lot of brown sugar to keep.
It is also great if you are in a dry place and cannot keep it out in the open.
However, you need to freeze it well to prevent the sugar from absorbing bad odors.
Use suitable air-tight containers and keep a separate dedicated space.
And you always need to re-freeze the frozen brown sugar after thawing it out.
A little diligence will go a long way in making sure your brown sugar does not solidify.
And since brown sugar rarely goes bad, you’ll have soft brown sugar for a longer time if you freeze it.