Agave nectar is a type of natural sweetener derived from the agave plant. While the benefits of using agave nectar are hotly debated, this sweetener remains popular among vegans and people who are watching their sugar intake. Does agave nectar go bad?
Agave nectar is basically made of sugar, which is a natural preservative in itself. This means agave nectar will keep for a long, long time. In fact, if the storage environment is ideal, agave nectar could keep indefinitely. Also, you can extend the shelf life of this product by 1) keeping the container unopened and 2) there is no cross-contamination.
Still, agave nectar has a limited shelf life but as long as you took great pains packing the product properly, it will be usable for years. If you bought agave nectar by bulk, you need to store it properly.
Image used under Creative Commons from Michelle Schrank
How to Store Agave Nectar?
Storing Agave Nectar in the Pantry
Agave nectar is often sold in a sterile container, such as a squeeze bottle. If the product comes in this packaging, it is safe to store in the pantry. Just keep the agave nectar away from direct sunlight or heat sources to extend its shelf life. You don’t have to keep the product in the fridge once it’s been opened.
Storing Agave Nectar in the Refrigerator
Although agave nectar has a long shelf life, the expiry date is still indicated on the container. Just to be on the safe side, you should keep the agave nectar in the fridge to maintain its freshness. But since the chilly temps make agave nectar harder to pour, we recommend transferring the product first in an airtight, sterile glass jar. Make sure the jar has a wide mouth for easy dispensing.
To sterilize the glass jar, just submerge it in boiling water for a minimum of 3 minutes. Leave the glass jar to dry completely and you are ready to decant your agave nectar. Pour the nectar into the glass jar and wipe off the spills. Secure the airtight lid then stick in the freezer. Once you are ready to use the nectar, get a teaspoon or a tablespoon to dispense the sweetener.
Storing Agave Nectar in the Freezer
What about freezing? Can you freeze agave nectar? We don’t recommend freezing this product. It’ll be hard to divide the nectar into the right portions if it’s frozen. And again, this product has a long shelf life, it doesn’t even need refrigeration, much more freezing. But if you really want to freeze agave nectar, you can. If the product is packed in a squeeze bottle, you don’t have to use a different container. Just make sure the container has a few inches of space for the nectar to expand as it freezes. If not, the container might burst in the freezer, causing a mess.
We recommend transferring the agave nectar in a freezer-safe container. Start by dividing the nectar into serving portions. You can use an ice cube tray for this. Just pour the agave nectar in the ice tray then stick in the freezer. Wait for an hour or two until the agave nectar freezes solid. After an hour or two, prepare a resealable plastic bag and take the ice cube tray out of the freezer. Pop the cubed agave nectar carefully and place the cubes in the freezer bag. Squeeze out as much as you can then seal. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.
Image used under Creative Commons from Heather Kennedy
Shelf Life of Agave Nectar
Although the expiry date of agave nectar is probably indicated on the packaging, this product will keep indefinitely in the pantry and in the fridge. That’s because it’s a self-preserving product just like honey. Unlike honey, agave nectar won’t crystallize when kept in storage for too long. Sure, the product will go through certain changes when kept in storage for far too long but it will remain usable as long as it is not contaminated at all.
The agave nectar may lose its original consistency or it might discolor but as long as the container is sealed, it’s still safe to use.
How to Tell if Agave Nectar has Gone Bad?
Technically, agave nectar will keep indefinitely. Since the product has high purity, it is quite stable and resistant to bacterial and mold growth. This goes especially for pasteurized agave nectar. But if you’ve been keeping a bottle of agave nectar for more than 6 years, err to the side of caution and throw the product in the trash. Always check for significant changes in color or consistency. If the product looks off, do not risk it especially if you are using raw agave nectar.
Does agave nectar go bad? This product could keep indefinitely but if you have agave nectar stored in the pantry for years, use it with caution. But as long as the agave nectar has been kept unopened, it should keep for years in the pantry.