24 June 2014

The best brown sugar storage trick

Occasionally, either through reading or my own trial-and-error, I discover these little life-hacking tips that are so simple but so amazing. Every time I encounter one of these tips I want to tell you about it, but I have these moments of worry that it isn’t blog-worthy. Then I blog about it anyway because it really is incredible, and anyway I don’t have sponsors so I do what I want.

The nifty picture-hanging trick is one. The paintbrush-keeping trick is another. The clothes-rolling trick has saved more than a few checked bags. Even the cutting-in post seemed ridiculous at the time, but holy moly the number of times I’ve sent people to that post! Scotch Blue tape should have gone out of business by now, cutting in is so dang useful.

Today is another one of those tips, one connected to yesterday’s coffee cake post. Perhaps you noticed in the streusel mixture how light and fluffy my brown sugar is nowadays?

Ok, yes, it’s hard to see. Here’s another photo I captured while making the cake.

Do you see that? So moist, so crumbly! You guys, I have never been prouder of brown sugar in my life. I’ve always been that person who learns (at the last minute) that I’ll have to scrape-scrape-chisel-scrape at a rock-hard mass of brown sugar in order to make a cake or whatever, then afterwards throws the whole mess out and just buy a new bag of brown sugar. The cycle repeats the second I cut open the new bag. I just figured it was just something we all put up with when it comes to brown sugar; that it’s cheap enough to replace, so you just try to use it up before it turns into a rock, and replace it if you don’t.

I was WRONG. Because now, I have managed to keep my brown sugar soft and fluffy for months. Here’s how.

First of all, if you’re still keeping your brown sugar in a bag, stop now. That wasn’t entirely my problem before (I had a great airtight canister before I redid my pantry recently) but there’s absolutely no way to stop the brown sugar from hardening in a bag.

Now, here comes the life-changing tip. You need to tape a paper towel to the lid. I used a Viva, since I am (of all things) a paper towel snob, but I think any durable paper towel will work. It’s not pretty, but that’s ok.

The trick is keeping that paper towel ever so slightly damp. And I do mean slight – too wet, and your sugar will turn into a weird slush perfect for bacteria to grow (it’s very possible that I learned that from experience). No, you want just a bit of dampness. My routine is, every time I use my brown sugar – maybe once or twice a month, at most – I stick my fingers under the running faucet and flick them on the paper towel a couple of times. That’s it. That’s all you need to do.

And my brown sugar has been beautiful, for everything from chicken to desserts!

Never throw out rock-hard brown sugar again! And that is a tip from me to you.