Honey is one of the healthiest foods that nature has provided us. It is usually a sticky and sweet fluid, but it gets difficult to use when honey crystallizes. So, you may wonder why does honey crystallize?
The simple answer is that honey contains sugar and sugar crystallizes.
Honey with a higher sugar content crystallizes quicker than honey with lower sugar content.
So, let us learn about the crystallization of honey and how to fix it.
What Is Honey?
Honey is a sweet sticky natural substance that is produced by bees from plants’ nectar.
Bees suck the nectar from the plants and mix it with their saliva and enzymes and store it in their hive.
They leave it to ripen so that it can be used later for consumption as food.
The composition of honey depends on various factors like plants, flowers, species of bees, etc.
Depending on these factors, honey can differ in color and flavor. Honey is approximately 80% sugar and nearly 18% water.
Amino acids, proteins, and organic acids like gluconic acid cover the rest 2%.
The ratio of sugar to water also depends on the species of bees, weather, plants, humidity, etc.
Honey also contains small amounts of potassium (especially darker ones).
Does Real Honey Crystallize?
Honey contains two types of sugars – fructose and glucose. Real honey or raw honey crystallizes due to glucose.
Pollen or beeswax in raw honey also helps in honey crystallization.
Raw honey will crystallize faster because it has low water content.
Low water content keeps honey from fermenting. Nectar from different flowers also increases the glucose-to-fructose ratio.
Crystallized honey gets thicker and then gets cloudy (as more and more crystals form).
Sometimes, crystallization results in creamy textured honey or sugary textured honey.
Crystallization is a natural process, and you cannot stop real or raw honey from getting crystallized.
The best thing you can do to delay the process is to keep your jar of honey at room temperature or near your stove (warm place).
How Long Does It Take Raw Honey to Crystallize?
The time liquid honey will take to crystallize depends on several factors like the type of honey, glucose to fructose ratio, pollen bits, filtration, etc.
Type of honey – Natural honey will crystallize quickly. However, if it is processed, it takes some time for crystallization to take place.
Glucose to Fructose ratio – The higher the glucose, the higher the chances of your honey getting crystallized.
Fructose will crystallize much slower than glucose. Crystallization happens at a slower pace in tupelo honey (as glucose is less) than in clover honey.
Pollen bits – Raw honey consists of other impurities like yeast, bee parts, etc. Glucose attaches to these particles and forms crystals.
Filtration – During filtration, all these impurities are removed and heated or pasteurized, and hence, crystallization occurs more slowly in filtered honey or processed honey than in real honey.
Can You Eat Crystallized Honey?
Yes, you can eat crystallized honey. Some may find crystallized honey tastier than liquid honey as they add crunchiness to your toast or your food.
So, you can eat granulated honey without any worries.
Is Crystallized Honey Bad?
No, crystallized honey is not bad at all.
If your honey has crystallized then be happy because it is pure honey and it has all the ingredients like amino acids, proteins, etc. that are extremely healthy for your body.
Granulated honey is the same as honey in its liquid form. The only difference is that granulated honey may lose a little color or have a less dark color.
How to Fix Crystallized Honey?
Put your glass jar of honey in warm water till the water reaches nearly half the height of the jar.
Gently open the jar and stir the honey with a wooden spoon to reach your preferred consistency.
It may take some time depending on the degree of crystallization of the honey.
Once the honey has de-crystallized, it should be like its original consistency.
Make sure to prevent water from entering the jar of honey.
How Do You Prevent Honey from Crystallizing?
Store honey at a warm temperature near the stove to prevent honey from forming crystals.
However, don’t keep them directly under sunlight. It should be dark and warm. You can keep honey in the cupboard, too.
Don’t put your honey jar in cold places like a refrigerator as cold encourages crystallization.
Does Honey Ever Go Bad?
If you can store honey properly then honey doesn’t go bad ever, but it will darken with age. Use an air-tight glass jar to prevent the fermentation of honey as honey consists of yeast.
Low moisture in honey discourages bacteria from living. Additionally, honey is acidic to keep bacteria and other organisms away.
Bees also produce enzymes like hydrogen peroxide that are present in honey. Hence, honey is used as an antiseptic for wounds.