Sugar will last indefinitely. That is, it’s shelf life is forever. However, there’s a problem I’ve had in the past… Clumped sugar. So how in the world do you keep it from clumping?
First, I’m into practical prepping and preparedness. Although we don’t consume much sugar anymore, it is one of the many dry food staples that we’ve stored in bulk. Not only does it provide extra, but food prices always go up, right? So it makes good common sense.
Anyway, I have stored white sugar in a 5 gallon bucket (actually two). We had purchased bulk bags and dumped it in until full.
We use Gamma Lids on these for convenient access (and some of our other accessible food storage too).
The problem has been after awhile (not exactly sure how long it took) the white sugar got hard. In fact it can get very hard indeed! I’ll give you some suggestions how to “un clump” the sugar in a minute…
How to Prevent White Sugar Clumping
So, why is the sugar clumped? How to prevent it from clumping in the first place?
Unlike brown sugar, white sugar seems to be pretty dry. I didn’t think it would be a problem. But here’s what I believe happened.
The 5 gallon storage buckets with sugar inside were on a concrete floor for quite awhile.
I believe the cool concrete floor created a seasonal temperature differential, transferring into the bucket. This may have instigated just enough condensation inside to begin the sugar clumping.
I have learned the lesson to isolate any food storage from concrete, thus avoiding this potential temperature difference. Nowadays I’ll use wood, and I also use some of that foamboard insulation (even better!) that comes in 4×8 sheets, and easy to cut/slice with a long blade razor knife.
Anyway, do any of you have a trick or two to keep white sugar from clumping?
I await your comments…
How to Un-Clump White Sugar
I had to chip away at it. It took a good amount of effort to break the top layer into chunks.
Unclump? De-clump? Whatever you call it, I used a food processor.
Mrs.J’s Cuisinart ‘Pro Classic’ food processor worked well. I kept pulsing it on and off, and then let it run steady for a bit. This process brought it back to granulated sugar (with some powder too – given the food processor action).
But that’s certainly all a pain…
Use the Oven
Domino Sugar says…
“Granulated sugar will harden when exposed to any type of moisture. Here is an easy way to make hardened granulated sugar soft again —
- Preheat oven to lowest temperature, 150-200 degrees.
- Remove sugar from the package and put in an ovenproof container that will hold the sugar.
- Place in the warm oven for approximately 15 minutes.
- Tap sugar with a spoon. If it starts to fall apart, turn oven off and leave sugar in the oven for an hour or two to completely dry out.
- Always store granulated sugar in an airtight container.
Note: I’ve tried this with severely chunked up sugar and it partially worked. Maybe if your sugar isn’t too severely clumped, it will work well.
Crackers (or bread)
“It was a common practice to add a saltine cracker to the sugar canisters in restaurants to prevent the problem. If you did eventually have a little clumping, it was time to replace the cracker.”
Keep Brown Sugar From Clumping
This problem seems to be unlike brown sugar. To prevent brown sugar from clumping you actually add some moisture (those brown sugar bears for example).
Or, to unclump brown sugar in a hurry, put it in the microwave. You can add a small bit of water in a separate bowl to create moisture in the microwave.