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Q:  Why does brown sugar get so hard and dry?

All brown sugar will dry out over time as the moisture in it begins to evaporate.  This can result in hard, clump sugar.  Changes in the climate can be another factor affecting the consistency of sugar. Even though the sugar gets dry and hard, it is not harmful and is still safe to consume. We suggest storing your sugar in an airtight container in a moisture-free environment. For long term storage we reccomend keeping brown sugar in the refrigerator or freezer.

Q:  How do I soften hard brown sugar?

The simplest method to soften hard brown sugar is to put an amount of the hard sugar in a microwave safe bowl and cover with plastic.  Heat in the microwave on high for 30 second increments until the sugar is soft.

Q:  Does sugar ever expire?

There is nothing in sugar that "goes bad" in a traditional sense.  Brown sugar will harden over time, but is still edible if softened.  The shelf life of powdered and granulated sugar is indeffinite.  Most retail chains require a 2-year best by date to be printed onto the bags, but the product will be safe to eat even after that date.

Q:  Is sugar vegan?

About half of the white table sugar manufactured in the United States is cane sugar and the other half is beet sugar.  The primary distinction between cane sugar and beet sugar, other than being derived from different plants, is the processing method. Unlike beet sugar, cane sugar processing typically takes place at two locations, the sugar mill and the refinery. During the final purification process, cane sugar is filtered through activated carbon (charcoal) which may be of animal, vegetable, or mineral origin. This step is unnecessary for beet sugar and therefore is never done.

Over half of the cane refineries in the United States use bone char (charcoal made from animal bones) as their activated carbon source. The bone char used in this filtering process is so far removed from its animal source that cane sugar processed in this method is deemed kosher pareve, which, according to Jewish dietary laws, means that it contains no meat or milk in any form as an ingredient. A number of vegans disagree with this perspective and is why many vegans prefer to avoid white table sugar altogether rather than chance using a product that may possible be filtered through bone char.  This said, U.S. Sugar purchases from various beet and cane refineries and manufactures both beet and cane sugar.