Why Does Honey Crystallize?
Has your jar of honey crystallized? Don’t throw it away! Crystallized honey is natural and perfectly safe to eat.
There are some common misconceptions that crystallized honey has “gone bad” or that it is contaminated. We’re here to tell you that simply is not true! Your honey may take on a grainy texture, or perhaps you’ve noticed little white flecks in your honey - this is all part of the natural process of crystallization. In fact, they are an indicator that your honey is pure and free of additives or chemicals!
Why does honey crystallize?
Honey is a supersaturated - meaning low water content - solution of mainly glucose and fructose. Over time, the sugar will separate from the water content, causing honey to crystallize. This natural process can even happen inside the hive!
There are three major components that make your honey more likely to crystallize:
- Glucose and fructose ratio
Here’s an in-depth explanation of why your honey crystallizes and keep reading to find out what to do about it!
Low temperatures play a big role in honey crystallization. Honey will crystallize at temperatures below 10°C (50°F). Keep your honey in a warm cupboard or pantry to slow honey crystallization.
Glucose and Fructose Ratio
The nectar origin not only influences the taste, aroma, and texture of your honey but also its likelihood to crystallize. The nectar origin of honey determines the percentage of glucose and fructose found in honey.
Honey with higher amounts of glucose will crystallize faster than honey with high fructose sugars. This is also why low quality “honey” will stay liquid; many producers will blend their honey with artificial, high fructose syrups.
Pure, raw honey will contain trace amounts of bee pollen. Bee pollen has a number of health benefits and is used to test where your honey came from. Crystallization happens faster in pure, unpasteurized honey where there are pollen particles for the sugar to build on.
How to fix crystallized honey
There is nothing wrong with continuing to use crystallized honey. In fact, some people prefer honey in this state as it is easier to use as a spread or glaze. However, if you prefer liquid honey, you can simply fill a heat-proof bowl with warm water and place your honey jar in the bowl until it re-liquifies.
Avoid using hot water or microwaving your crystallized honey to keep the beneficial enzymes intact.
Whether you prefer your liquid honey drizzled over salads or crystallized to spread over toast, the most important thing is to use high quality, pure honey to ensure you are getting the full benefits of this amazing natural treasure.