Sunday, September 18, 2011

52 Weeks Food Storage - #38

Week # 38:  5 lbs of Sugar
                     10 lbs of Brown Sugar
                     4 lbs of Powdered Sugar 


In addition to basic staples, sugar is recommended as part of a balanced diet and to provide carbohydrates. During depressed times, even treats made with sugar can actually help provide a mental uplift. Follow the steps below to have a supply of sugar ready when you need it most.
  1. Prepare storage containers. Make sure all inner surfaces are clean and dry. If using plastic buckets, place one ounce of dry ice per gallon capacity in the bottom of the bucket. See more info about packaging recommendations at
  2. Fill containers with sugar. Fill foil pouches to 80% of volume. Fill jars to 95% volume. Fill buckets to within one inch of the top (on top of the dry ice).
  3. Seal containers. For foil pouches, use an impulse heat sealer. Make sure the seal is tight. A second seal can be applied if desired. For jars, make sure the gasket on the lid is in good condition. Close the jar tightly. For plastic buckets, place the lid on top but do not completely close it until the dry ice has dissipated (sublimed). When the bottom of the bucket begins to feel warmer, place the lid on tightly. If it begins to bulge after a few minutes, open slightly to release the excess pressure.
  4. Store containers. All food storage should be placed in a cool, dark, and dry location preferably off the floor and away from rodents. Rubbermaid or similar totes are excellent for storing foil pouches.
Note: Moisture makes granulated sugar hard and lumpy. Once this happens, there is no way to adequately restore it.

Brown Sugar:
Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content or produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar. It’s used in everything from breakfasts to desserts. Add it to chicken, oatmeal, cakes, pies, cookies and so much more. Brown sugar can be used in everything!

Difference between Light & Dark:
Brown sugar contains from 3.5% molasses (light brown sugar) to 6.5% molasses (dark brown sugar). Use these two sugars interchangeably in recipes calling for brown sugar. For a delicate, light, nutty caramel flavor, use Light Brown Sugar. For a rich, old-time molasses taste and deeper color, use Dark Brown sugar. If you’re in doubt or if it’s not specified, you might choose the Light Brown.

Store Brown Sugar
Air hardens brown sugar. Store it in a cool, moist area in a covered container. If that’s not possible, store the entire container in a second canister with a tight-fitting lid. You can also empty the sugar into a rustproof container (or a heavy, moisture-proof plastic bag) and keep it tightly closed. Even though the shelf life of brown sugar is indefinite, it’s best to use it within six months of purchase for maximum flavor. Don’t store brown sugar in the refrigerator. However, if you are in a very dry area or are going to keep it for a long time, you may want to freeze it. To use frozen sugar, thaw it for two or three hours. If ice crystals form after long freezer storage, gently stir the sugar as soon as it thaws to prevent pockets of moisture from causing damage.

Soften Brown Sugar
When brown sugar hardens, it loses its natural moisture. Here are some suggestions to restore the moisture and soften the sugar:
* If you need to use hard brown sugar immediately, remove it from the package and heat it in a 250-degree oven. Watch it carefully. As soon as it’s soft, measure the amount you need right away because it will again harden as it cools. Please use caution. Oven heated sugar is very hot!
* To soften brown sugar in a microwave, place it in a microwave-safe container, cover loosely with a wet (but not dripping) white paper towel, set the microwave on high, and check the sugar every 30 seconds. Again, microwave-softened sugar hardens as it cools so microwave only the amount of sugar you need. And it’s very hot. Please use caution.
* Time permitting, place the hardened brown sugar in a rustproof container with a dampened – not dripping wet – white paper towel or napkin placed over a small piece of plastic wrap or foil on top of the sugar. Cover tightly. Remove the paper towel after the sugar absorbs the moisture and softens (about two days) and tightly reseal the container.

Powdered Sugar:

Let’s be honest we only put this one on the 52 week food storage list because we know most of you make cookies, cakes and sweets and need icing. However, those of you who don’t need powdered sugar for any reason then don’t worry about it. Personally we never use powdered sugar, but if for some reason the power is out for a long time or the internet is down then we’ll need to take up a new hobby. Instead of using the computer and internet every second of the day, we could start baking and making french toast and crepes for breakfast every day. Yum! sounds exciting, maybe we need to start today.

Powdered Sugar is snowy white in color. It has a delicate, soft, supple texture, and it mixes and creams into delicious, smooth frostings. Powdered sugar is also known as confectioner’s sugar or icing sugar. It contains a small percentage of cornstarch to prevent caking, and is available in different grades of crystal fineness.

Most people shopping for this ingredient at the store don’t know that it comes in a variety of grades referring to how finely it is ground. 14X is typically the highest grind, but this may not be shown on labels, and for most home baking it isn’t necessary to buy a specific grind. Higher grinds do dissolve more quickly and may be more suited for things like whipping cream. Powdered sugar labeled XXXX is slightly finer than that labeled XXX but they can be used interchangeably.

Powdered sugar has a finer crystal size than Granulated Sugar and contains 3% cornstarch that keeps the sugar soft. Substitutions may result in unsatisfactory results. However if you really want to try there is of course a way. To make powdered sugar, combine a cup of granulated sugar with about two tablespoons of cornstarch in the blender (about 227 grams of sugar and 57 grams of cornstarch). Blend until the sugar reaches a fine powder. Let the sugar sit for approximately 15 minutes prior to using.

Store powdered sugar in a cool, dry location (not the refrigerator). When it gets moist, it develops lumps. And because of its physical properties, it tends to absorb strong odors – it can even absorb odors through the package.

Information has been aggregated from:,,, and

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