When consumers see crystallized raw honey, they understandably become concerned with the edibleness of the honey in the jar. Is it bad or is it okay? Can it still be used or does it need to be thrown away?
Even though it may appear as though there is a problem with the honey, crystallization is quite natural in raw honey and is NOT a sign the honey has spoiled. Over time, this will happen with raw honey, but it should not scare you away from using or buying the product.
It is actually worth noting, the flavor and quality of the honey are actually preserved when the honey crystallizes. In fact, some honey users prefer it in this state to use as a spread on their bagel or toast in the mornings. With the actual taste of the honey being richer in this condition, it is sometimes preferred to be crystallized for certain recipes.
Why does honey crystallize?
Honey crystallizes because of its actual makeup. Raw honey has more than 70 percent sugars and only 20 percent water. Point being, there is not enough natural water in its chemical makeup to hold the sugar. Because of this “imbalance,” the sugar makes the composition unstable over time, resulting in the crystallization of the honey.
How does the honey crystallize?
There is really no rhyme or reason to how each container will crystallize. In some bottles, you may see a partial crystallization of the honey, whereas other bottles could be completely crystallized. However, the quicker a honey crystallized, the finer the texture. So, if you open your honey and it has large, gritty crystallization, that process has happened over a longer period of time.
The difference in the length of time it takes for the crystallization is based on balance of the types of sugars in the honey itself. The two main sugars in honey are going to be glucose and fructose. In most cases, the glucose content will range from 25 to 40 percent and the glucose range will be from 30-44 percent. The glucose is the sugar that crystallizes, as it is heavier.
So, as you can see, if you open a bottle of honey and it has crystallized, you have nothing to worry about. You can use the crystallized honey for a stronger flavor or just mix it all up and combine the crystalized honey with the liquid honey remaining. Either way, it is safe for you to eat and use.
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