A “Whooda Thought” Fungus

I’m no longer one much for sweets, but I keep a jug of genuine maple syrup in the pantry for cooking into various specific dishes like salmon marinade, cooked oatmeal, and banana nut muffins. Yesterday, I poured a tablespoon into just such a marinade, and noticed some little bits of foreign matter in the measuring spoon.

I subsequently tasted and smelled it and it seemed decidedly off, having a dusty basement vibe. Researching this, I discover that, despite my long held belief that maple syrup doesn’t go “bad,” it is indeed vulnerable to a specific type of mold. This mold had permeated the opaque jug and was sitting in a thick layer on the bottom, which I discovered by pouring it into a glass measuring cup. UGH!

There are numerous opinions on this, with some sources claiming that this is a recent problem resulting from hurried production, and yet others insisting that this has always been around. All I know is that in my whole life I have never seen this before now.

In any case, since a jug of maple syrup is likely to last months in many households, I looked for preventatives. The obvious one is to refrigerate the syrup after opening, which slows down, but does not eliminate the problem. Another is, logically, to buy smaller quantities and use them up faster, and a third controversial one is to mix in two tablespoons of vodka when you open the container.

In any case, no matter what you chose to do, if you keep any kind of sugary syrup in stock, be sure to take precautions regarding the formation of mold. Keep it in a glass bottle, predominately in the fridge, and check for strings of slimy sediment before use. Apparently, the mold won’t make you particularly ill, but it ruins the taste and smell, and can cause gastric distress in sufficient quantities.

There you have it.