Have you ever opened your jar of honey to find that it has turned solid and grainy? Don't worry, it's not a sign that your honey has gone bad or that it's no longer safe to eat. In fact, it's quite the opposite!
Crystallized honey is a completely natural process that occurs when glucose in the honey begins to form crystals. Some people even prefer the texture of crystallized honey because it's easier to spread and adds a little crunch to their toast.
The best part? Crystallized honey is a surefire way to know that you're getting pure, unadulterated honey. Unlike processed honey, which can be mixed with water or corn syrup, pure honey is free from additives or chemicals that could be harmful to your health.
So the next time you come across a jar of crystallized honey, don't throw it away. Embrace the natural process and savor the delicious, pure honey goodness that awaits you.
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
If you prefer liquid honey over crystallized honey, don't worry, you can easily return it to its original liquid state. One of the best ways to do this is by using warm water. Simply fill a heat-proof bowl with warm water and place your honey jar in it until it liquefies again.
It's important to note that you should avoid using hot water or microwaving your honey as this can destroy the beneficial enzymes present in it.
Whether you like your honey in its liquid form for drizzling over yogurt or crystallized for spreading on toast, the key is to use high-quality, pure honey to ensure you get the full range of benefits that this natural wonder has to offer.