Honey sometimes takes on a semi-solid state known as crystallized or granulated honey. This is a natural phenomenon. Honey does settle, harden, and become cloudy over time. The honey turns from that slightly transparent golden liquid to an opaque, more firm consistency. This is honey crystallization
There are a number of factors that significantly influence the way natural honey becomes solid: the ratio of sugars (fructose and glucose),
temperature, – . As honey begins to cool, it becomes more solid, and the crystallization process is sped up. Bees work hard to keep the hive at perfect honey making temperatures, which is right around 35°C. most active process of crystallization occurs at the temperature close to 15° C
humidity (the higher its humidity, the less likely it will crystallize. (natural honey contains from 16 to 21% of water). If there is a lot of it, crystals are formed slower and vice versa.
and pollen – the more pollen the honey contains, the higher number of potential crystals formed will be. The more natural and under-processed the honey is, the higher chance for crystallization.
natural honey never expires. It just changes shape
Thanks to the process of chemical transformation, the components of honey never “go bad”, making this sweetener the only food that doesn’t truly spoil.
In general, honeys have around 38% fructose, 31% glucose and 1.5% sucrose; as well as other sugars to a lesser extent.
Honey has around 80% sugars, the molecules of which tend to come together to form small crystals. These in turn also group together and form larger crystals, and so on; until obtaining macro crystals.
The crystallization process
The glucose loses water (becoming glucose monohydrate) and takes the form of a crystal (a solid body with a precise and orderly structure).
1 The crystals form a lattice which immobilizes other components of honey in a suspension thus creating the semi-solid state.
2 The water that was previously associated with the glucose becomes available for other purposes, thus increasing the moisture content in some parts of the container of honey. Because of the increased moisture, the honey becomes more susceptible to fermentation.
Properties and benefits of crystallized honey
Contrary to what you might think, crystallized honey is synonymous with the freshness and purity of the product.
This is because, as we mentioned earlier, crystallization is the consequence of a natural process, with which honey changes its appearance, but does not lose any of its beneficial properties.
How to fix honey crystallization
The safest way to deal with crystallized honey at home is to simply give the glass jar of honey a bath in hot water.
You can easily fix crystallized honey on a stovetop using the following steps:
- Fill a pot with water that comes to ½ to ⅔ up the sides of the jars.
- Place jars of honey in the pot of water and bring to a gentle boil.
- Gently stir honey every few minutes to help break up crystals. Be careful not to splash any hot or boiling water into a jar of honey.
- Remove jars from heat when honey is once again smooth and runny.
- Tightly seal jars and store in a cool, dry place.
For bulk, commercial honey, the most suitable option is to use a honey warmer. View HERE
never use a microwave to de-crystallize honey