Don\’t throw away grainy, thick honey! Smooth, pourable honey can be restored easily. Here are three quick methods, plus instructions on how to keep away honey from crystallizing again.
Honey is a supersaturation sugar solution. It\’s about 70% sugar and less than 20% water which means it has way more sugar molecules than water molecules can hold. When the sugar crystallizes, it separates from the water, and the crystals start stacking. Eventually, the crystals will spread throughout the honey, and the entire honey jar will be thick or crystallized.
Avoid using a microwave to decrystallize honey. Microwaving will cause the liquid in the honey to boil, destroying its beneficial enzymes and affecting its quality and taste.
Why Does Honey Crystallize?
If kept in a sealed glass jar or plastic bottle at room temperature, honey will not spoil, but it may crystallize or solidify into chunks. Honey contains two main types of sugar: glucose and fructose. Fructose will remain dissolved in a liquid state, but glucose has lower solubility, meaning it will crystallize more easily. These tiny crystals form when the glucose separates from the liquid content of the honey. Some amount of honey may crystallize whether or not your jar of honey has been opened and used, and the honey can quickly be returned to its liquid state with the help of some heat to make it easier to drizzle.
3 Ways to Decrystallize Honey
There are a few ways to liquify your honey. Try out one of the below techniques to gradually and safely return your honey to its liquid form.
1. In hot water: This technique works well for plastic jars of honey. Fill up a pot with hot or very warm water; do not boil it, as that higher water temperature will warp your plastic container. Stand your bottle of honey up in the pot of water. There should be enough water to reach but not cover the lid. Replace the water once it cools, and repeat as necessary to decrystallize your honey.
2. In boiling water: Plastic containers cannot sit in boiling water, but glass jars can. Boil a pot of water on your stovetop, and remove the pot from heat once the water is rolling. Place your closed glass honey container into the water, ensuring the water does not cover the top of the jar. Let the honey sit for five minutes, remove the jar, and check for crystals.
3. In a slow cooker: Fill your slow cooker up halfway with cool water. Set the slow cooker to its lowest setting, and let the water bath heat up. Keep the temperature to 130 degrees Fahrenheit at most so that plastic and glass containers alike can safely go into the pot. Once the water has heated, stand your honey container up in the bath. Let the honey sit there for a few hours, and ensure the water is shallow enough not to cover the lid. The bottle will have heated up, so carefully remove it with tongs. You can shake the bottle slightly to see if it has decrystallized and continue heating as needed.
Here are a few factors that cause crystallization
Amount of glucose: The crystallization rate may increase if there\’s more glucose in the honey composition.
The temperature: If honey is stored in a low-temperature environment, the crystallization speed can increase, including when it\’s in the honeycomb. If your honey is in your fridge, you should place it in your room.
Pollen concentration: Raw, semi-processed, or processed honey will crystallize faster and contain more pollen, depending on its processing method. Honey contains pollen from plants that the bees eat, so it\’s normal to find pollen. Raw honey contains more pollen grains than processed honey, which crystallizes more quickly.
It is impossible to prevent crystallization entirely, but it can be slowed down. Room temperature is the best temperature for storing honey. Avoid storing it in the fridge or basement because cooler temperatures speed up crystallization. It is also helpful to store honey (or buy it) in a glass container or jar since glass deflects moisture better than plastic. Make sure honey is tightly covered and kept away from light at all times.
Best way to prevent honey from crystallizing. Eat it up in a month! Honey normally crystallize in a few months. If you can\’t finish your container as quickly as you can finish. It is preferred to buy a smaller jar or use it for a month.