What's Going On with My Honey?

What's Going On with My Honey?

What happened to my honey?

You go to the cupboard to grab some runny honey to slather on that perfectly toasted bread. The butter has melted and has seeped into the warm toast and now for that drizzle of runny honey. You grab the jar, unscrew the lid…and that once beautiful golden runny honey has crystallized. 

It’s solid ish…granular and has changed colour ….Eeeek! What happened? 

Is it safe to eat? 

Here’s everything you need to know about what causes honey to crystallize, uses for the honey once it’s hardened, and how to safely transform it back to runny honey if that’s what you prefer without losing any nutritional value. 

What causes honey to crystallize ?

The good news here is…only the good stuff crystallizes. So if your honey crystallizes… Congratulations! 

It means you’ve got yourself the real deal…raw, unpasteurized and maybe even unfiltered honey, which is even better!

Unaltered honey doesn’t expire, so it’s safe to eat and the crystallization is completely natural.

Crystallization is the natural state of most honey after it leaves the hive.  It can even crystallize inside a hive if the bee cluster is not on top of the honey when temperatures stay below 50F for a while.

There are two natural sugars in honey; glucose and fructose. It’s the glucose that crystallizes. So, if the bees are foraging flowers and crops high in glucose, this honey will crystallize faster. 

Unfiltered honey like ours also contains bits of pollen, wax and propolis. Each of these little jagged bits provide the base for the crystals to form and attach to (think back to grade 5 science when you made crystals on a string). All of those crystals clustered together change the consistency of the honey. 

What the bees forage also impacts the rate of crystallization. 

Keeping it Crunchy - how to use crystallized honey

Crystallized honey is still honey! It’s perfectly safe to eat. It doesn’t mean that your honey has gone bad. The only thing that’s changed is the texture. Same sweet taste but with no dripping mess. You can still eat and cook with crystallized honey exactly as you normally would.  Go ahead, slather it on your toast, use it by the spoonful in your hot drink, or by the dollop on a bowl of hot oatmeal and it’ll melt right in. 

How to make crystallized honey runny again

If you’re all about the runny honey, here’s how to transform your crystallized honey back to runny honey.

Honey is a superfood! It contains many beneficial antiviral and antibacterial components. It should not be heated rapidly, over direct heat. Excessive heat will have detrimental effects on the nutritional value of your honey. 

Use hot tap water or boiled water that has cooled for a bit. Immerse the glass jar of crystallized honey into a bowl of hot water. The hot water will slowly dissolve the crystals and the honey will be liquid again. It takes some time so be patient. You could also put the jar in a sunny window or place your jar of honey in a crock pot full of warm water on low. Keep an eye on the temperature. Pollen, antioxidants, and enzymes found in raw honey are destroyed at temperatures above 100°F.

Next time you find a jar of crystallized honey in your cupboard or are wondering if you should buy crystallized honey, you can feel confident about that honey!

Crystallized honey means you’ve got raw, unpasteurized, and hopefully unfiltered honey too.

Crystallized honey is delicious and crystallization is a natural process.  

Raw, unpasteurized honey is a super food that is super good for you! 

Now go get a spoonful. 

*If you have honey that stays runny and doesn't crystallize. It most likely has been pasteurized. Which means it's been heated over 110F and will no longer have any health benefits when consumed.

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