I've had a bottle of Vermont maple syrup in the refrigerator for... probably years. I've seen crystallized syrup, but I've never seen a syrup like this. It seemed to have tiny brown dots on the top that clustered together. Any idea what is wrong? BTW, it tasted fine.
Just to add to what cheflayne
said, make sure both the heat and the boil is gentle. I would recommend a double boiler. Once real maple syrup drops below a certain moisture content, it instantly turns into rock candy. Anyone who has ever made their own syrup will attest to this fact.
But, if it were me, I'd just throw it out and get some fresh syrup.
In the end, I ended up taking everybody's advice: skimmed the top, put it to slow boil, went to watch Olympic figure skating, smelled something... The stove top looked like Yellow Stone National Park. Syrup had flowed out of the pot and was all over the surface. Bubbles would slowly come to the surface and release steam. Lol! Consider it thrown out.
I wish I'd been able to respond sooner. The syrup was fine. Real Maple Syrup doesn't ever go bad. As was stated, simply simmer and strain. I had a gallon in the pantry, several years old. Strained and simmered, it was fine. I've been eating it all my life and have never heard of it spoiling. Of course around here it never lasts long enough to go bad.
And perhaps now would be a good time to share "Sugar on snow". If you live where it snows, this is fun. Right after a heavy snowfall, fill a large wide container with fresh snow. Two or three even, depending on how many people are present.
Reduce the syrup to soft ball. Drizzle the warm syrup over the snow. Twirl the syrup over a fork and eat it. It will melt in your mouth immediately. You can't eat too much because it's so sweet but it's a great treat with hot chocolate after a morning spent sleigh riding or chopping wood.
Actually, real maple syrup will go bad, although its rare. If its stored correctly, it should last a very, very long time. Its not like honey, however, and will not last indefinitely unless its in the freezer. If its jarred and stored correctly, an unopened jar should last upwards of 5 years, perhaps more. I can't vouch for the taste after all that time, but, I would think that if the jar is air tight and not stored in sunlight and in a dry place, I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be fine.
I have encountered a jar or two of bad syrup that I had forgotten about in the years that I have spent making syrup. If the syrup is bad, it wasn't stored properly or the jar was opened and not refrigerated. Opened syrup in the fridge should be good for upwards of a year or more. Syrup in the freezer will last indefinitely.