Are you watching your sugar intake? If say, you are watching your weight or you are simply trying to reduce your sugar intake, you might have come across a sweetener called xylitol. Xylitol is a type of sugar substitute derived from berries, fruits, and vegetables. This product may not be an actual sugar but it is a sugar alcohol.
Xylitol became a popular sugar substitute after it was revealed that it doesn’t cause tooth decay like other forms of natural sugars. In addition, xylitol contains 40% fewer calories than table sugar. Does xylitol go bad?
Image used under Creative Commons from Kyle Lam
Xylitol has a long shelf life and though it will go bad at some point, it will take a long time to do so. Part of the reason why xylitol has a long shelf life is the packaging and the processing method of the product itself. Since xylitol comes in dry form, it is less likely to go rancid. It is also sealed completely to keep moisture at bay.
That being said, the product is hygroscopic. This means xylitol attracts moisture. Keeping the packaging sealed after every use is a must. Now let’s discuss the best way to store xylitol.
How to Store Xylitol?
The best way to store xylitol is to keep it in the pantry at room temperature. Although keeping xylitol in the fridge may seem like a better idea, the moisture from the refrigerator could alter the texture and flavor of the product. High humid environments could shorten the shelf life of xylitol too.
If you are storing unopened bags or packets of xylitol, just place the products in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture. You can store the products on the pantry counter. However, we recommend sticking the xylitol bags in the kitchen cabinet.
For opened packets or bags of xylitol, there is no need to transfer the product to a different container. Unless, of course, you’d like to. If such is the case, choose an airtight glass container or resealable plastic bags. Pour the xylitol powder into the container, seal, and keep in a cool, dry place.
One thing to consider when storing this product, keep it out of reach of children or pets. Excessive consumption of xylitol in children could cause diarrhea and stomachaches. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and potentially fatal in severe cases. Call a doctor if your child or your pet ingest excessive amounts of xylitol.
Image used under Creative Commons from Melissa Wiese
Shelf Life of Xylitol
The shelf life of xylitol is pretty lengthy, even longer than ordinary table sugar. This product should keep for 2 to 3 years. It could keep longer if the product remains unopened or if the storage conditions are ideal. Once opened, the shelf life of xylitol is reduced significantly.
How to Tell if Xylitol Has Gone Bad?
There is little information on signs that point to spoiled xylitol. But just like any type of natural sugars, xylitol could spoil when exposed to moisture. A sure sign that natural sugars are no longer usable is the presence of mold. If the product has been kept for too long and it has taken on a funky flavor, discard it. If the product has slight discoloration, err on the side of caution and discard it.
Xylitol isn’t as commonly used as Stevia, honey, or other sweeteners but it is considered as one of the healthiest substitutes to table sugar. Does xylitol go bad? Just like any type of food found in nature, xylitol will go bad at some point. However, this product will take years to go bad! As long as you stored the product properly, you can definitely maximize your supply of xylitol.