If you have a surplus of sugar and other dried goods, storing it properly is essential for its longevity on the shelf. Sugar can last forever if stored correctly, so this gives you an opportunity to stock up when you find sales. This give you the advantage that you will always have a stocked pantry with the ingredients that you reach for the most and give you a sense of food security.

sealed jars full of sugar

Types of Sugar

Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar is also known as table sugar or white sugar. It is a refined sugar derived from sugarcane or sugar beets It is mostly used in baking and gives. Through a refining process, it’s stripped of molasses, making it pure white and fine texture.

Powdered Sugar:  Powdered sugar is also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar. It is a finely ground sugar that’s been milled into a powdery form. It can contain a small amount of anti-caking agent, like cornstarch, to prevent clumping. Powdered sugar is used for icing, frosting, and as a dusting for desserts because it dissolves easier than most forms of sugar.

Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is made from white sugar with molasses added back in. The molasses gives it a moist texture and a rich flavor with caramel-like undertones. It comes in light and dark varieties, with the dark having a higher molasses content. Brown sugar is commonly used in baking, cooking, and for sweetening beverages.

How Long Can Sugar Last?

Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar can last indefinitely when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It has wonderful shelf stability and lacks moisture, which prevents the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. Even after opening, it can retain its quality for about 2 years, but it can last well beyond this if kept away from contaminants.

Powdered Sugar: Just like white sugar, powdered sugar’s shelf life is indefinite under ideal storage conditions, which include an airtight container kept in a cool, dry place. It’s important to protect it from moisture to prevent clumping. Powdered sugar can last for 2 years in terms of its best quality, but with proper storage, it can extend well beyond this.

Brown Sugar: Due to its molasses content, brown sugar has a bit more moisture than white sugar. This may cause it to harden over time. While its best quality is maintained within 2 years, it can also last indefinitely if stored properly in an airtight container. The key is to prevent it from losing its moisture content, which keeps it soft and usable.

canned dry goods on tables.

Storing Sugar In Mason Jars

  • Airtight Seal: Mason jars with screw-on lids make an excellent airtight seal, protecting the sugar from moisture, air, and pests. Especially when using a jar sealer. These are the primary concerns for long-term sugar storage.
  • Visual Appeal: The clear glass allows you to easily see the contents and monitor the sugar’s condition without opening the jar.
  • Convenient Storage: Mason jars come in many shapes and sizes, making them convenient for both small and large quantities. Their uniform size and shape also make them easy to stack or line up neatly in your pantry.
  • Reuse Something Old: I like to put our old mason jars to use for storage solutions like this. Jars that are too old to can in a traditional way are perfect for storing dry goods.

Tips for Storing Sugar Long Term

  • Choose the Right Jars: Use airtight glass jars with secure lids to prevent moisture and air from getting in. Mason jars or similar canning jars work well for this purpose.
  • Keep It Dry: Ensure the jars and the sugar are completely dry before storing. Any moisture can cause the sugar to clump or, in the case of brown sugar, to harden.
  • Label and Date: Label each jar with the type of sugar and the date of storage. This helps keep track of what you have and ensures you use the oldest stock first.
  • Cool, Dark Location: Store the jars in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Consistent, moderate temperatures help preserve the sugar’s quality.

Dried Pantry goods sealed in mason jars

Storing Other Dry Pantry Goods

You can store many other dry pantry goods in mason jars. Be sure they are shelf stable before sealing and storing. If you can buy it from a bulk food store in bins, you can probably store it in mason jars for long term storage. Some other items we like to store this way is:

mason jars full of dried goods lined up in boxes on a kitchen counter.

What You Need to Store Sugar for Long Term Storage

  • Mason jars
  • Canning snap lids and rings
  • Mason jar sealer
  • Foodsaver
  • Cupcake liner (or paper towel)

    mason jars with dried goods in them with a cupcake liner protecting the top of the jar.

    Step-by-Step Instructions

    1. Load your jar with sugar, leaving a half inch headspace.
    2. Place a clean and dry cupcake liner or paper towel ontop of the sugar to keep the sugar from sucking into the sealing device.
    3.  Place the metal snap lid snug on top, then position the vacuum accessory firmly over the lid.
    4. Connect the hose to the vacuum sealer and the accessory, securing them in place.
    5. Activate the sealer by pressing the Vac/Seal (or accessory) button and wait for the process to complete before unlocking the device.
    6. To remove the accessory, pull it upward, using a slight wiggle if necessary.
    7. You will be left with a sealed jar. To test lift the jar by lid slightly off the counter. 
    8. You can add screw lids if you would like.
    9. Mark the date and contents in the jar.

    ​Other Pantry Ingredient Recipes and Storage Ideas

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