Last Updated on 17th December 2021 by
When I go to use brown sugar to make up some cookies or a cake, I don’t like to find it hard and unusable. I like the brown sugar to be soft and easy to work with, so there are certain storage rules I follow to keep it that way. I will share these with you so that you know how to keep brown sugar soft in storage.
I also want to tell you what you can do to make brown sugar soft again once it has gotten hard. Just because the brown sugar went hard it doesn’t mean that you need to toss it. It can still be used as long as you know what to do with it.
Keep It Tight
So, how to keep brown sugar soft? The best method is to simply keep it stored in an airtight container. That can be a plastic bag or a plastic container. Anything that keeps air out and brown sugar in is fine. If you leave the lid off the counter or leave the bag open and the brown sugar exposed to the air for too long, your sugar can start to turn hard.
My method for how to keep brown sugar fresh and soft is to keep it somewhere it can’t come open accidentally. It should be stored in a container where it won’t be damaged. I use a tough plastic container for mine that isn’t going to be easily cracked or left open. Something with a lid that clicks or snaps into place will easily tell you if the container is fully closed or not. That’s a great indicator to ensure that the brown sugar is kept dry and secure.
Once moisture gets out of the brown sugar, it will become very hard. That is why it may be a good idea to keep the brown sugar container stored away from heat and sunlight. An opaque container keeps out sunlight but it might not block heat. Find a corner or cupboard where sunlight doesn’t reach in the kitchen and where the temperature stays cool all day long, and that’s a perfect place to store your brown sugar.
You can also store it in the fridge, but I would not suggest that. It can make the brown sugar overly moist and ruin the texture. You can keep brown sugar stored in the freezer, however, and that will work fine for long-term storage that keeps out air, moisture, and pests. How long is it okay to keep brown sugar stored in the freezer for? Experts say that you have up to six months of storage there before it becomes unsafe.
Leave Specific Food in the Brown Sugar
Once your brown sugar becomes hard, what do you do? How to keep brown sugar soft once opened and hardened?
There are a few tricks you can use and bear with me as these may sound strange. I honestly didn’t believe some of them would work until I tried them for myself, and even then I wondered how they work. There are some scientific principles behind the strange methods I am going share with you, though. I can say all of that, but you still might not even believe that they will work until you try them for yourself
One suggestion I heard and didn’t try until recently is to put a few marshmallows into the brown sugar bag or container. Apparently, that helps to keep the brown sugar soft. If your brown sugar has hardened, just use some marshmallows to soften it back up. It works wonderfully.
That’s not the only food that is good for how to keep brown sugar soft after opening. You can also throw a piece of bread in the sugar bag. That bread helps to keep the sugar from going hard, or if it is already hard, it can soften it up. This is another trick that just sounds too weird to be true but it absolutely works. Try it yourself and see the next time you are concerned about your brown sugar going hard or it already has.
An apple slice works well too, making the brown sugar soft and easy to use. Like the other items of food I suggested, adding in some apples will draw out the moisture from the food into the sugar and keep the brown sugar moist.
You can’t just add water to your brown sugar as a way how to keep brown sugar soft in a jar. Water would make it mushy and stuck together. It would be also impossible to add the right amount of water to make the brown sugar soft. If you add a bit of food that has a small amount of moisture to it, though, like apples, bread, or marshmallows, then that can naturally draw out water from the food and moisten the brown sugar. It works so well, and I know a lot of people who swear by it. It’s not the first idea that might come to mind when you are trying to figure out how to keep brown sugar soft, but this is a very effective method.
How to Keep Brown Sugar Soft with Terracotta
You might have seen little terra cotta brown sugar savers in the store before. These are small disks that you can wet and then seal in with the brown sugar. Like the other method we just mentioned using food, they send water into the brown sugar to keep it from hardening. You want your brown sugar to stay moist and not dry out, but adding water simply won’t work, so you have to use an indirect method like this.
The terra cotta disks work wonderfully, but they may not be available everywhere. This is a method, then, that wont work for everyone because not everyone can find this product.
Be careful about over-wetting the terra cotta disks. They don’t need a lot of water to be effective.
A lot of of different items will work with this indirect moisturising idea. You can use all sorts of foods and other objects, but the ones I have mentioned so far are the ones that have been shown to work best. You can’t just wet any object you like and stick it into the brown sugar. You might not like the results. Storing certain food items in an airtight container with your sugar can cause some problems. It could be more than just moisture that is being transferred over, so keep that in mind.
Wet before use
Another tip I want to share, and my final one, is to wet the brown sugar before you try to use it for anything. If it has become hard, even slightly hard, the addition of some moisture can change up the texture and consistency of the brown sugar. A little moisture can go a long way with brown sugar, making it easier to work with and softer.
One way to moisten the brown sugar once it is out of the container is to apply a damp paper towel to it. Just dab the brown sugar or with the towel or rest the towel on the brown sugar. This should be enough to make it soft enough to use.
There you have it- a few different ways that you can use to keep brown sugar soft or to soften it up once it gets hard. I hope that one of these is a help to you and you are able to get your brown sugar usable and keep it usable and not feel like it needs to be tossed.
I'm Pauline, a retired patisserie chef, mother of four and now a full time food blogger! When i'm not cooking i love long walks, reading thriller novels and spending time with my grandkids. Head to my about me page to learn more about the woman behind the food! You can find my Facebook here