Do you have honey that looks like the image below and are wondering if it has magically transformed into peanut butter? (P.S. It hasn’t.) You might be thinking, “I should have eaten it sooner; now I’ll have to throw it away.” Don’t do it just yet, though.
Can we Eat Crystallized Honey?
Yes, absolutely. Don’t be concerned if your honey has changed from a liquid (runny) to a semi-solid state; be happy! You have perfectly natural honey on your hands! You won’t find crystallized honey on supermarket shelves because the honey there has been pasteurized, filtered, and given other treatments to make it look nice and last longer. However, the filtering process removes a lot of pollen and lowers the quality of honey.
Crystallization only affects the color and texture, not the overall quality. It’s also not spoiled in any way. In fact, some people prefer it that way because it’s easier to spread on bread or toast without dripping. It also has a richer flavor.
Why does honey crystallize?
Honey crystallizes because it is a highly saturated sugar solution.
Fructose and glucose are the two main sugars found in honey, and their content varies depending on the type of honey.
Crystallization is caused by the imbalance of these two sugars. Because of its lower solubility, glucose is actually more responsible for this. Fructose is more water-soluble and stays fluid.
As a result, glucose crystallizes and separates from the water. This solution will eventually become saturated, and the honey will thicken and crystallize.
Some honey crystallizes uniformly, while others crystallize only partially and even form two layers in the jar, with the crystallized layer at the bottom and the liquid on top. Let’s admit it, it’s not a particularly appealing image.
Honey crystallizes at different rates depending on the nectar of the flower. For example:
- It takes 1-2 months for multifloral honey to crystallize;
- It takes 3-4 months for linden honey to crystallize.
- Acacia honey takes 18 months to crystallize;
- Honeydew honey crystallizes very rarely. Other Australian honeys crystallize in 2-3 years, such as Yellow Box, some Ironbarks, and String Bark.
The storage temperature is also crucial. Around 50-59°F (10-15°C), crystallization is more rapid. The formation of crystals is slowed at this temperature because the viscosity is increased, which slows the formation of crystals. At temperatures above 77°F (25°C), honey resists crystallization the best. However, if the temperature rises above 104°F (40°C), the honey’s properties will be compromised.
How do you turn crystallized honey back into liquid?
Honey in crystallized form is preferred because it is less messy in the kitchen and does not run off the bread. If you prefer the runny form, simply warm it gently in a hot water bath (Bain Marie) or warming box until the honey re-liquefies. Direct heating on a direct flame is not recommended. It should be heated to 95-104 degrees Fahrenheit (35-40 degrees Celsius) – no higher. If you overheat it for any length of time, it will lose its quality by destroying its enzymes, which is the most important factor, and it will lose its delicate flavor, aroma, and color.