All You Need To Know About HONEY CRYSTALLIZATION
If you notice that the honey has become thicker inconsistency, it means that it has crystallized. But the good news is, that it is still as good as new.
You must have heard that all types of honey crystallizes and it suggests that the honey has gone bad and is no longer fit to be consumed. On the contrary to this popular myth, crystallization of honey has nothing to do with its shelf life. If you notice that the honey has become thicker in consistency, it means that it has crystallized. But the good news is, that it is still as good as new. You can still eat it, apply it on your skin or even sell it. Crystallized honey is nothing but loss of moisture in honey. There are a few steps such as storing it in a cool dry place in an airtight jar that can prevent crystallization. However, even if it does crystallize, there is nothing to worry about.
In this article, we will cover:
- What causes crystallization?
- What type of honey is prone to crystallization?
- Is crystallized honey useful?
- How to decrystallize honey?
What Causes Crystallization?
Honey with a low glucose-fructose ratio will crystallize quickly than honey with a high glucose-fructose ratio. The glucose separates from the water and forms crystals while the fructose stays. Crystallization happens faster in lower temperatures, even in the beehive if the temperature drops below 50OF the crystallization paces up. To prevent honey from crystallizing quickly you should keep it in a warmer place and store it in a glass jar rather than a plastic one. Glass keeps the moisture away and protects the honey from crystallizing.
Why do Some Types of Honey Crystallize and Others Don’t?
The type of nectar bees use to make the honey influences the speed of crystallization. The flower nectar also influences the balance of glucose to fructose in the honey that bees produce. Clover, Lavender, and dandelion honey are likely to crystallize faster because their glucose quantity is higher whereas Acacia, Sage, and tupelo honey will crystallize slower because of higher fructose quantity. Different types of honey crystallize at a different pace, some take a few weeks to crystallize as soon as they are out of the comb, while others remain liquid for months or even years. It is also based on factors; the nectar collected by bees, the methods in which honey is handled, the temperature in preservation. The crystallization happens most rapidly at a temperature between 10-15OC and the slowest when the temperature is above 25 OC. If the temperature 40OC the crystals dissolve and it damages the properties of honey.
Is Crystallized Honey Useful?
Yes, it is usefull in many ways. The crystallized honey is full of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes. As the process is completely natural, it has no effect on honey other than its density and coloring.
Eat it- Granulated honey is consumable with toast or smoothie. Its nutrients remain the same, but it may taste sweeter. Crystallized honey is a good sign of pure/raw and organic honey.
Feed it- You can even feed it back to your bees, but do not waste it or throw it away.
Sell it- Plenty of people buy crystallized honey without hesitation because they know they can easily convert it back into liquid honey. If you see raw honey in a departmental store, it is probably crystallized.
How to decrystallize honey?
Crystallized honey is useful, but if you wish to decrystallize it there are some simple ways to do it.
Place your glass honey jar in hot water
Pasteurize your honey. Fill the vessel with water, boil it up to 160O F, place the honey jar inside. Stir it for few minutes to break crystals, remove it after the honey turns runny, and then store it in a cold place.
Do not decrystallize using microwaves as it can heat your honey unevenly.
This is how crystallization takes place but only in some types of honey.