Honey boasts a ton of natural health benefits and is often seen as a healthier alternative to sugar. This yummy, glazy treat made from the world's busiest manufacturers (bees) can help sweeten your days in a variety of ways. Perhaps you've gotten into the honey making business yourself; doing so saves a lot of cash and ensures that you know exactly where your honey is coming from. Or maybe you've started buying raw honey for all the beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals found in it. Either way, you might have noticed a problem with your raw product and are wondering how to keep honey from crystallizing.
How to Keep Honey From Crystallizing
Sadly, there is a very simple answer to this question: you can't. If crystallization is going to happen, there's not really anything you can do to stop it other than pasteurizing the honey, which supposedly gets rid of all beneficial enzymes and severely decreases the vitamins and minerals found in it (which is probably why you went for the raw product anyway).
While this may seem like a bummer, you should know that your honey isn't ruined by crystallization; in fact, some people may like those little crunchy bits on their toast or bagels. However, just because you can't stop it doesn't mean you can't slow or reverse the process.
Why Does Honey Crystalize?
Two of the primary ingredients in the nectar your bees harvest are fructose and glucose. Some nectar has more of one or the other; and is the glucose that crystallizes.
Some honey, such as tupelo, can stay liquid for years because of the amount of fructose in it. Others go solid far more quickly. The process usually starts at the bottom of your jar and works its way up. Solid matter like beeswax, pollen and the like in your raw honey allow the crystallization process to start. Pasteurizing the product gets rid of these solid particles, which is why the glucose in such products doesn't crystalize.
What to Do About Crystalized Honey
Though you can't stop it from happening without pasteurizing it, there are some things you can do to help slow down or reverse the crystallization process. For instance, keeping your honey in a warmer area (above 70 degrees) helps slow it down; however, you definitely don't want it anywhere near 57 degrees, as that happens to be the ideal temperature for crystallization. Make sure to keep the lid tight at all times as well.
If you're not so concerned with the fact that it's crystallized but are more so about the texture, consider mixing it with seed honey. That way, any crystals that form will follow the lead of the smaller ones in the seed honey, making for a smoother product. Furthermore, you can always re-liquify your honey by heating up some water in a skillet and then setting your jar in it. After a moment, shake it up a bit and the crystals should dissolve. If you happen to have a plastic container, though, wait until the water cools a bit so you don't warp the container.
You may not be able to stop honey from crystalizing, but there are some things you can do to either slow down the process or dissolve the crystals back into liquid form. Honey has a myriad of health benefits, and raw honey carries beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. That, and it also gives you a more intriguing taste than your common pasteurized product does. By following these steps, you can slow down the process of crystallization or even reverse it if you wish. Happy honey heating!
Featured image source: Pexels