The best way to store brown sugar long term depends on its moisture content. Brown sugar will harden if left alone over a long period of time. Dry air will seep in and pull the moisture out of the sugar turning it as hard as bricks.
According to The Sugar Association, brown sugar has molasses in its makeup. The molasses hardens when it dries and it is this aspect that causes brown sugar to clump then harden.
There are several ways to deal with the moisture issue. Keeping hot dry air out of contact with the sugar is one option. A next option is to keep the sugar moist without actually making it wet. Finally store it in something that allows the sugar to be easily broken up when you need to use it. Any of these options are good but using them all together is best.
Wrapping In Another Bag
You can see the issue right away. When you brown buy sugar it usually comes in a box or plastic bag that cannot readily be sealed airtight. This usually allows air to enter and suck the moisture right out. Then when you’re ready to use the brown sugar it will come out in clumps or as a brick causing a mess.
You can solve the problem by keeping the container with the sugar in another container. A secondary barrier to stop the sugar from drying out. This is one of the better ways how to store brown sugar after opened and is a very cheap option.
Pouring into Plastic container or Jar
This can be a great option depending on how often you use your sugar. Whenever I buy brown sugar this happens to be my most preferred option to use. I can easily break up any clumps if they form and in addition to the fact that the container forms a perfect closed seal.
This is the best option for storing a few weeks worth of sugar. On the other hand it is not the best option for how to store brown sugar long term. This is because every time the container is opened and closed air gets in which will remove the moisture. A large quantity of brown sugar will dry out easily this way.
Heat Sealing in Plastic
This option is by far the best way to store brown sugar overall. Whenever I have excess sugar leftover from baking that I may not use in a long while I prefer to use this option. This allows you to make bags to the size you want and fill them how you want. The seal is airtight though the option is expensive.
This option may not be the best if you won’t be storing much sugar or storing it for long.
Moisture Control Methods
Adding A moist piece of Fruit or Food
A moist piece of fruit or a marshmallow can do the trick to keep your food moist. If you have it stored in a plastic container you can cut a piece of fruit whether: Apple, Melon, Pineapple, Kiwi and best of all Lime to place in the container. The fruit will become inedible over time but it will keep the sugar fresh.
When the fruit dries out then you just change the fruit. Even better is that the sugar won’t become moldy. I store sugar in a plastic container with half a lime cut in it and it works really well!
Damp Paper Hand Towel
Using a piece of paper hand towel that has been dampened is the simplest way to keep your brown sugar from caking up. Whenever a bag or container is constantly reopened or not properly closed then brown sugar will lose moisture.
The tissue will constantly dampen the air inside the container so as to prevent moisture being lost from the sugar.
This option may not be ideal as you may not like the idea of paper hand towel in your sugar.
Teracotta Clay Disk
Some stores will sell a Teracotta clay disk. If the sugar is already rock hard then simply wet the disk, dry it off then place it in the sugar packaging. The moisture in the disk will soften the sugar in a matter of hours. When I did it i was amazed at the results.
It is easy to use,clean and can be used when thinking about long term storage.
The tips and storage options can be used independently but they work best when you use one storage option with a moisture control method. Using them together will boost the likelihood that your brown sugar can stay for longer without spoiling.