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Yesterday I went to check if I had brown sugar for a recipe and found that my bag, which comes with a zip lock, was totally unzipped I am guessing for months. Any danger here or should it be ok? I am guessing it's just for convience and to prevent spilling but curious if anyone has any knowledge.

It's "dark" if that matters.

NOTE: I am aware it probably dries it out faster and causes it to become hard but I consider that just a general thing with brown sugar and not a danger=)

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    It will more likely collect moisture than dry out. – paparazzo Jan 26 '18 at 12:01
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    Quality down a lot, and yes, tends to turn into a big hard block. I have used such before in things like sugar cures with reasonable results, a bit less molasses flavor IMO, but not for baking as the characteristics are changed, especially the higher moisture content expected from brown sugar. On danger, it would seem low and I personally would go by Jan's thoughts. Unlikely an issue unless it has been contaminated with liquids, debris, insects, etc. or ended up molding. – dlb Jan 26 '18 at 16:25
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While avoiding exposing it to air is to prevent it from hardening, this doesn't occur because of "drying out," actually! The moisture in the air causes the sugar to stick together and form clumps that harden significantly and make it more difficult to work with.

Because it's actually becoming more moist, mold can be a concern there. Letting it sit slightly moist for a few months in the dark cabinet can make it a great place for mold to reproduce and grow. The good news is, most mold is easily detectable just by looking at it. Check the sugar thoroughly and you should be good to go!

In the future, I also suggest getting an airtight storage container like these: http://www.rubbermaid.com/en-US/brilliance-food-storage-containers I use them for things that I keep a lot on hand of, like flour, sugar, and coffee grounds. They keep moisture out and also look nice sitting on a countertop.

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Since you wrote that it dried out, I would check for two things:

  • insects;

  • mold on the surface - but I consider that unlikely.

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