Honey has a long history in human consumption, even being found in excavated Egyptian tombs. Egyptian honey can still be eaten after all of these years! Since our honey is pure, raw and has not been super-heated or ultra-filtered, it does have a tendency to crystallize, but that doesn’t mean it has gone bad. Crystallization means you have real, raw honey!
What Is Crystallization And How Does Honey Do It?
The crystallization of honey is an attribute of real, pure and natural honey. Because honey is a highly concentrated sugar solution, it means that honey holds more sugar in water than it should naturally hold, making it unstable and thus it crystallizes. The amount of contained enzymes, nutrients and pollen can contribute to how quickly the honey crystals form. When honey crystallizes, it locks in flavor and the quality of the honey, so some honey lovers prefer it to be crystallized.
Honey Will Never Grow Mold Or Spoil
Properly stored honey can last many years without any degradation of flavor or color, it has even been said to have lasted for centuries. Honey is hygroscopic, which means that it is water-negative and can even draw water from the air in improper storage conditions, leaving nothing for microbes and molds to grow on. Honey also has a low pH value, making it too acidic for most microbes. Honey naturally produces hydrogen peroxide when it absorbs water, making it even harder for bacteria to grow and “spoil” even when it is improperly stored. These features make it perfect for the many medical and medicinal uses it has, in addition to the sweet taste sought after for toppings, cooking or baking.
How Do I De-Crystallize My Honey?
If you don’t use your honey quick enough (generally 2-3 months after packaging), it can start to become thick or have a grainy texture. This doesn’t mean that it has gone bad, it just needs to be gently heated to return back to its normal state.
A container of crystallized honey should be placed in a larger container that when filled with water, covers the crystallized honey area. Fill the larger container with hot water from the tap, which is generally hot enough to de-crystallize the honey after about 30 minutes. If the desired consistency is not achieved the first time, repeat the process.
Tips: 1.) You may want to move crystallized honey to a glass jar for this process. 2.) NEVER add water directly to honey. 3.) Experimentation is key! You will want a nice slow transition from crystallized to de-crystallized honey. If the water is too hot, it can deplete some of the nutrients and enzymes locked in the honey.