Piloncillo is a product derived from sugar cane, and that being an unrefined sweetener, in addition to sucrose, also contains vitamins and minerals that ordinary sugar does not have. Probably you already know that, and if you are here, it is because you want to know, how is piloncillo preserved?
Following the conservation guidelines and depending on the variety (compacted or granulated), you can keep the piloncillo at room temperature for 6 to 12 months or use the refrigerator to refrigerate it for 12 to 18 months. It is also possible to freeze the piloncillo for 1 to 2 years and even longer.
If you want to know the correct way to preserve the piloncillo, continue reading.
Store panela at room temperature
Piloncillo is also known in other countries as panela, chancaca, panocha, or papelón. It has a more robust flavor than refined sugar and should not be confused with brown sugar because, unlike this, piloncillo does not go through a refining process.
Therefore, it can be a healthier sugar substitute and is usually much cheaper than most sweeteners.
To preserve it at room temperature, you should follow these tips:
- Step 1. Wrap with film paper.
If you have a round, square block of piloncillo or a cone, you should wrap it with film paper, whether you have removed its initial package or not.
In case of the coarse version, pass it to an airtight bag or directly to an airtight container.
- Step 2. Place the piloncillo inside an airtight container.
After wrapping the piloncillo, place it inside an airtight, dry, clean container to protect it from external agents, especially insects.
- Step 3. Write the current date.
Put the storage date on a label and stick it over the container.
- Step 4: Store in a dark, dry place.
You can place the container in the pantry, in a dark place, free of moisture and away from sources that emit heat.
If you follow the instructions, the piloncillo that comes in round blocks, squares, or any solid form, can be kept at room temperature for one year. If it is granulated, it will last six months.
Keep in mind that the average temperature should be 77°F (25°C). Instead, you should refrigerate the panela if the temperatures are higher. 
Keep the piloncillo in the fridge
As I mentioned above, above 77°F leads to the use of the fridge.
You have to follow these recommendations:
- Step 1: Wrap the piloncillo.
For a piloncillo in blocks, wrap it with plastic film. In case you have coarse or granulated piloncillo, you can put it inside an airtight bag or container also airtight.
- Step 2: Line the container internally.
With waxed paper, innerly line the airtight container, as it will protect it from moisture. However, it is unnecessary to line the container for granulated piloncillo in an airtight bag.
- Step 3: Place the piloncillo inside the container.
After lining the container, put the piloncillo inside and cover well.
- Step 4: Set the storage date.
Write the date you stored the piloncillo on a label or container.
- Step 5: Store in the refrigerator.
You can place it on the refrigerator door or anywhere else in the fridge. Ensure the container is tightly closed.
You can keep the panela in good condition between 12 and 18 months inside the refrigerator, while the coarse version lasts between 8 and 12 months.
Freeze the piloncillo
Can the piloncillo be frozen? Of course, you can freeze the panela; however, considering its extended shelf life at room temperature or in the fridge is unnecessary.
To store the piloncillo in the freezer, follow the directions to keep it in the fridge (redirect here).
The piloncillo can be frozen for two years or more if compacted and between 1 and 2 if granulated.
To thaw, leave for a while at room temperature, or you can keep it in the fridge overnight.
How to know if the piloncillo is bad?
It is difficult to determine if the piloncillo is in poor condition; however, if it presents any of these signs, it should no longer be ingested and should be thrown away:
- Bitter or rancid taste: the panela is sweet, so if it has a bitter or rotten taste, it means it has already spoiled.
- Watery panela: if the panela is stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, and you notice a liquid consistency, it is damaged.
- Mold: If there is moisture, the piloncillo or the container could develop mold, so you must be aware of white or green spots.
- Insects: if the piloncillo has insects or was bitten by some other vermin or rodent, discard it immediately.
How do you spoil the piloncillo?
Since piloncillo is unrefined concentrated sugar, it is odd to see a damaged one unless it is not stored correctly.
For this reason, exposure to numerous external agents, such as moisture, heat, or insects could dissolve the piloncillo blocks, and that’s the end of it.
Note: People usually dissolve the panela in water, but that’s way different when it occurs due to the storage.
How long does piloncillo last?
The piloncillo has an extremely long duration. Below is a summary table of the storage time.
|Compacted piloncillo at room temperature||1 year|
|Granulated piloncillo at room temperature||6 months|
|Compacted piloncillo in the fridge||12 – 18 months|
|Granulated piloncillo in the fridge||8 – 12 months|
|Frozen compacted piloncillo||2 years – indefinitely|
|Frozen granulated piloncillo||1 – 2 years|
What is the best way to preserve piloncillo?
The best method of preserving the piloncillo is to store it inside an airtight container at room temperature if the climate is 25°C (77°F) or less.
If the temperature exceeds 25°C, you should store the panela in the refrigerator, increasing its shelf life.
Storing the piloncillo in the freezer is unnecessary, but it is up to you
If you liked this information, this site contains enough information related to food preservation relevant to your lifestyle.