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Our organic grade A maple syrup, bought in bulk, has gone slightly fermented in the fridge. If I were still in college, this would be great, but I am a bit older. What do I do with this stuff? Can I assume it is fine in baked goods? How can I accelerate my usage of it?

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Mmm, Dendarii Mountain Maple Mead... – Marti Dec 20 '10 at 18:06
can you describe the fermented syrup? How does it smell / taste / look? – David LeBauer Dec 21 '10 at 5:56
just like regular maple syrup, but a little bit like wine. We keep it in an airtight bottle with one of those ceramic stoppers. When we open the bottle, there is some pressure released: it pops. So I believe there is some fermentation going on. This is in the fridge, so it cannot be going wild. – shabbychef Dec 23 '10 at 1:17
"airtight" bottles and gas production indicate anaerobic bacteria, which are not Good Eats. Of course, "airtight" may not actually exclude much oxygen, particularly if you open the bottle frequently. – kdgregory Apr 12 '11 at 13:16
/@kdgregory: the point behind airtight storage of syrup makes sense when it is bottled: namely finished syrup is at 219 F at sea level, so the hot syrup helps to keep the bottle sterile. (w/ home bottling you're supposed to put the bottle on its side for a few minutes after sealing so that the top of the bottle gets heated up) After it's been opened, the bacteria can get a start, if the sugar content is low enough. If you buy in bulk (are you talking 1 gallon qtys?), I'd seriously consider rebottling in smaller canning jars: minimize the amount of syrup you have "open" at a time. – sibbaldiopsis Apr 12 '11 at 23:43
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yeah, syrup can ferment + convert sugar to alcohol. It has more of a tendency to do so if the sugar content is lower -- I tend to err on the side of overconcentrating my syrup.

You can try boiling it for a while to see if the alcohol boils off + if the flavor is OK then use it... but I'd boil down a bit more first, to make sure the sugar content is back up to standards. Either boil until the boiling point is 7 degrees F higher than the boiling point of water at your altitude, or boil until the syrup "aprons" (e.g. starts to drip in a sheet rather than discrete drops; a flat edge of a metal spatula works well), with the former being more accurate if you have a good thermometer.

If the flavor remains after boiling, then try using in recipes -- perhaps in brownies/blondies or with ice cream.

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+1 for the idea to reboil. Based on what I learned while helping a friend with his annual boil, it sounds like the producer did not take the syrup to the correct gravity. – kdgregory Apr 12 '11 at 13:18

That sounds like it would work well for glazing pork or maybe smoked chicken/turkey.

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There is just one thing I can think of. Maple Sugar Candy :-) The alcohol ferment will cook off some and leave behind the sugar.

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