A Simple Way to Prevent Honey from Crystallizing

Ever wondered why honey crystallizes? This naturally happens when glucose, one of the main sugars in honey, separates out of the super-saturated honey solution. Honey is made up of about 70% sugar and about 20% water. Glucose serves as a starting point for the formation of crystals. As water evaporates, the glucose takes the form of a crystal. The crystals form a framework which holds the other elements of honey in a suspension, creating the semi-hard state.

The way you store your honey, the temperature, humidity, and even the kind of container used will often make honey crystallize. It’s difficult, actually, to avoid honey crystallization, but start by storing it in a cool temperature. For long term storage, use air tight, moisture-resistant containers. We purchased 60 pounds of honey about 20 years ago for our food storage and while it does have some crystallization, it’s still as tasty as the first day we got it because it’s been kept in a cool room all these years.

And that’s the point: Crystallized honey hasn’t “gone bad” and does not need to be thrown out. Just heat your crystallized honey slowly in a warm bath to dissolve the sugar crystals. It’ll take about 20 minutes, but your honey will soon be back to its liquid form and taste good as new.

All this said, though, if you’re interested in avoiding that grainy texture in the first place, consider this advice sent to me by my friend, Nola. Go the creamed honey route.

Creamed honey is not whipped honey. It is actually crystallized. But the difference between creamed honey and the nasty, gritty honey that you find in your pantry after having neglected it for several months is the size of the crystals. Creamed honey has tiny, silky, smooth crystals.

So for permanently smooth honey, start by buying your favorite creamed honey. Once you have that, you can make endless gallons of permanently smooth honey and by adding this newly bought creamed honey to your existing container(s) of crystallized honey.

First, make sure your current honey has no crystals in it. If you see any crystals in the honey or on the sides of the container, heat it until all the crystals have melted. A good way to do this is by placing the container in a pot of about 200°F water until it is nice and runny. Make sure to let the honey cool back to room temperature before proceeding.

Once your honey is prepared and cool, add about 5-10% creamed honey to your current honey and mix well.

Then store this mixed honey in a cool place (about 50°F) for a few days to a week. An unheated garage in autumn works well.

It will be easy to see when the creaming process is finished. The honey will be firm and won't flow when tipped over. If you stir it up at this point, it will flow again. If you intend to dispense the honey from a squeeze bottle, stirring is a good idea otherwise leave it as it is.

  •   www.lynnskitchenadventures.com
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    Alice Osborne
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2006
    Email the author! alice@dvo.com

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