How Do You Know If Caramel Sauce Has Gone Bad?

You love caramel sauce so much that you finish an entire jar in a matter of days. Before you re-up, though, you read the label to check for the date. You’re good to go…for another month or two. After that, ew, right? How could anyone let something so delicious go bad? Aside from maybe honey and jam, caramel sauce seems like one of those things that would never go bad. But as with all foods, it has a shelf life. The problem is that caramel sauce is a mixture of sugar and water. And both sugar and water are prone to mold and bacteria growth when left unchecked. Add some corn syrup and artificial flavors, and you have a recipe for grossness if not eaten within a few weeks of opening.

How to Tell if Caramel Sauce Has Gone Bad

First, check the expiration date. Then, observe the color and texture of the caramel. If it has a murky, off-putting color or a grainy texture, it’s gone bad. Also, if the caramel smells funky or sour, it has gone bad. Finally, check to see if there are mold spots on the jar’s seal. A bad caramel sauce will be discolored or grainy and will smell sour or rancid. If you see black spots or white mold, throw it out. These are signs that dangerous bacteria have formed, which could make you seriously ill if you eat it.

The Dangers of Eating Bad Caramel Sauce

As if eating bad caramel sauce wasn’t bad enough, it can also make you sick. Bad caramel sauce can contain dangerous bacteria like listeria and salmonella, which can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramping. If you’re especially young, old, or sick, these bacteria can also cause more serious illnesses like meningitis or kidney failure. All caramel sauce has the potential to go bad, but low-sugar, high-quality varieties have a shorter shelf life. Cheap, mass-produced caramel might not have any safety issues unless it’s been heated improperly or the container has been compromised.

When Can You Eat Caramel Sauce Past the Date?

If you’ve been keeping track of the date, you can probably eat it past the suggested expiration date if it looks or smells fine. But if you’re unsure, throw it out. The longer you wait to throw out bad caramel sauce, the greater your risk of getting sick. If you’re getting close to six months after opening the jar, though, you can freeze it to extend its shelf life. Caramel sauce freezes well, so you can put any leftovers in a freezer bag and save them for up to a year. Just remember to let it thaw in the fridge before using.

How to Store Caramel Sauce for Longer

As we’ve mentioned, caramel sauce is sensitive to temperature and humidity. So, you should store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Also, make sure it’s in a container that’s completely sealed. If there are cracks, the sauce will dry out. And if it dries up, you’ll have to throw it out. Caramel sauce will lose flavor if you leave it unrefrigerated. So, store it in the fridge or consider buying smaller containers.

How to Fix Bad Caramel Sauce

As sad as it may sound, there’s no easy way to fix bad caramel sauce. The first thing you should do is write down the date you opened the jar and set a calendar reminder to check it again. Then, if you still find mold or a foul taste or smell, throw it out and vow to be more careful next time. While caramel sauce doesn’t happen overnight, it’s easy to forget about it in the back of your shelf. So, check it regularly, and you shouldn’t have problems.

Wrapping up

Caramel sauce is delicious, but it has a short shelf life. To extend it, store it in the fridge, and don’t buy too much at once. You can also freeze any extra for up to a year. If you follow these tips and keep an eye on your caramel, you shouldn’t have any issues. And if you do, you can always just make more!

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