Crystallized Honey

What is crystallized honey, and is it safe to eat? Why has it happened and can I turn my honey into liquid again?

If you have just picked up a jar of honey, and noticed hard crystals or the presence of what looks like lots of white air bubbles, you may be wondering whether to throw the jar away. Don’t do that! Honey keeps for a long time! Read the Frequently Asked Questions below, and learn more.

What Is Crystallized Honey?

Crystalized honey (also sometimes called “granulated honey”) is simply honey, which has spontaneously crystallized.

You may open a jar of honey, and find cloudiness, or that part of it has turned into crystals.

Does It Mean The Honey Is Faulty Or No Longer Fresh?

Not at all. Crystallization can occur very quickly after harvest – perhaps just a few days or weeks, and so there is no correlation between freshness and the crystallizing process.

Why Does Crystallization Occur?

Crystallization can occur in reaction to cool temperatures, which speed up the crystallization process. Crystallization occurs more quickly between 55 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit. Reportedly, Below 41 degrees Fahrenheit (5 °C), the honey will not crystallize.

However, whether or not honey crystallizes, or how quickly it does so, will also depend on the type of honey, and its sugar composition. Honeys high in fructose may take a very long time to crystallize, whereas honeys high in glucose may crystallize more quickly.

Crystallization can also be stimulated by the presence of tiny particles of pollen, wax or propolis, and again, the presence of these may depend on the type of honey, and even how the honey has been handled whilst being processed for sale.

Is Crystallized Honey Safe To Eat?

Yes. However, if you are finding it is more difficult to spread, then you can return it to its liquid state once more.

How Can I Return Crystallized Honey To Its Liquid State?

To return honey from a crystallized (or granulated) state, simply place the jar into a pan of hot water for a few minutes, and stir until the crystals have dissolved.

However, if you repeat this process too often, the taste and colour may deteriorate, and it may be better to eventually throw the honey away if this process is repeated often. An alternative solution could be to remove as much honey as you need at a time from the jar, and reheat smaller quantities.

You may also seek to store the honey in a warm cupboard. However, do not store your honey in hot conditions, as this will also cause the honey to degrade.

How Can I Prevent Honey From Crystallizing?

Ideally, store the honey at a temperature of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit! Alternatively, be choosy in the honey you select! Raw honey which has come straight from the honey comb, is less likely to crystallise than processed honey, but it is often more expensive. See more honey buying tips.

Beekeepers and Controlled Crystallization

Sometimes, beekeepers may make this type of honey intentionally, by blending one part crystallized honey with nine parts liquid honey. The mixture is then stored to 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beekeepers may use the process of crystallization in order to make a more spreadable, ‘creamy’ honey. It is achieved via a process of heating, cooling and stirring, and is known as ‘Dyce’s Method’.

So now you know about Crystallized Honey.  If you'd like to read more about honey generally, take a look at the following links:

Organic Honey
Learn about the complications in producing organic honey.

Honey Substitutes
What can you use in place of honey?

Honey Buying Tips
Did you know, not all that is labelled as honey, really is honey? More information here, including how to buy honey ethically.

Recipes Using Honey
Try your hand at cooking with honey!

About Honey
A general introductory page with lots of links to resources.

Honey And Health
Is honey healthy, or is it just hype?


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