How long does honey last?

Is the partially crystallized honey you\’ve been drinking for years still edible? Here\’s everything you need to know about this miraculous product that bees make from the nectar of flowers, how to store honey, what to do if crystallized honey spoils, and whether honey can help soothe coughs.

Honey is a staple food found in most homes. It\’s a versatile ingredient from drinks and baked goods to delicious meals. But a little goes a long way; a jar can last for months or even years. Is that, well, OK? Can honey go bad? When and how do you know if your honey is bad? Here are all the details about Golden Sweetener and its expiration date.

Normal Changes:

Although honey has no expiration date, it can undergo natural changes. The National Honey Board states that honey \”may darken and lose aroma and flavor or crystallize\” due to temperature changes.

Although changes in aroma or taste may be less appealing, crystallized honey is regular and does not change the taste of honey. Proof that your honey is authentic and unpasteurized! Crystallization happens the most in real honey because it contains natural sugars and pollen, the two things you want in your honey. If you don\’t like these crystals, soak your honey in a bowl of warm water for about an hour to disperse the formations. It won\’t change the taste or smell of your honey, and it certainly doesn\’t mean it is stale!

Can honey go bad?

Unfortunately, there are several reasons why honey spoils or how long honey lasts.

Honey can spoil if harvested too early before the bees have had enough time to lower the humidity level below 18%. Bees know what they are doing. Only when the honey is mature enough, do they close the cells.

It has been observed that some unethical manufacturers add sugar syrup to reduce costs and bulk up their products. Any addition of water risks introducing unwanted bacteria and other contaminants. It can also increase the moisture content to a level that will allow bacterial growth. That\’s why it\’s important to buy from reputable producers who only produce raw honey.

Honey can also spoil if not stored properly. Honey is hydrophilic. This means it absorbs moisture. If the lid of your honey jar is not tightened enough, honey will absorb the water in the air, causing the humidity level to rise. If honey absorbs too much water, its dewatering property no longer stops bacterial growth.

Always store your raw honey in a cool place away from direct sunlight. It is best to store it in its original container. This will prevent any cross-contamination. If this is not possible, use a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Always avoid storing honey in metal as it can oxidize. Using a clean spoon or knife will also help keep your honey free of germs.

So Is honey prone to spoilage? If raw honey has been harvested early enough and properly stored and preserved by nature\’s purpose, your honey will never spoil.

What if the honey crystallizes?

It is natural for honey to crystallize over time. This does not mean that the honey is spoiled; it just means that some sugar has separated from the water and turned into crystals.

Crystallized honey can be consumed, but if you prefer it in liquid form, you can warm it slightly over low heat in a bain-marie. Ensure the water and honey do not boil, as the high temperatures will kill the good yeast and enzymes in the honey.

Why is honey not expiration date-free?

Several factors contribute to honey\’s eternal life:

  • Honey is hygroscopic. 

Honey contains very little water, so it is scorched. To transform liquid nectar into thick honey, the bees dehydrate it with an initial humidity of 80-90%. Ripe honey barely reaches 18% humidity.

Without water, bacteria cannot appear or thrive. A properly matured honey in a hive or a closed pot is safe from bacteria.

  • High concentration of sugars.

Honey is mainly composed of sugars that inhibit the growth of microorganisms due to high honey osmolarity issues.

  • Acid pH of honey.

The pH of honey is acidic and ranges from 2 to 4.5. Most harmful bacteria prefer a neutral or basic environment, so they cannot grow or thrive in an acidic environment such as honey.

  • Honey enzymes.

In the process of making honey, bees provide different enzymes. One of them is glucose oxidase, which produces hydrogen peroxide, a powerful antimicrobial that inhibits the growth of microorganisms.

Our Final verdict

Raw honey is quite a remarkable ingredient. When properly stored, it can stay fresh for tens or even centuries. This ability is partly due to honey\’s high sugar, low water, and low pH. But we\’re still learning more about how specific enzymes and compounds in raw honey play a role in killing microbes. All raw honey has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. But some raw honey contains unique compounds that are particularly helpful in fighting disease and killing germs.

So How long does honey last?  It\’s really up to you. It should never expire if you buy from a reputable producer and store your honey correctly. But after reading all these beautiful things about honey, you may have realized that there is only one logical answer to the question: how long does honey last? And this: It is not very long; Too beautiful to resist!

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