There is a very good chance when you buy raw honey that it will already be crystalized. While it may cause you to push the panic button, thinking you purchased some bad honey, that is hardly the case. The makeup of raw honey tends to make it crystalize rather quickly, but you can return it to its normal state rather easily.
When you purchase raw honey, it may or may not have a “use by” date on it. The reason for this is because for all intents and purposes, honey does not go bad. Even if it sits on the shelf or months or years, its nutrients will remain unaltered. However, when it does crystalize, it makes it rather difficult to use.
Why Honey Crystalizes
The crystallization process turns what was once a liquid into a solid. Raw honey already tends to be a bit thicker and Manuka honey has an almost caramel-like texture, so it becomes almost like cement-like when it crystalizes.
The chemical makeup of honey makes it virtually impossible for the water in the honey to be able to absorb all of the natural sugars. When the sugars separate from the water, they start to form crystals. It may sound odd, but this is actually a sign your honey has not been filtered and is of high quality.
How the honey is stored can influence if and when the honey becomes crystalized. Warmer temperatures encourage the honey to crystalize, so you want to be careful where you store it. In other words, over the stove or the toaster oven is not exactly ideal if you want to keep your honey running smooth.
What to Do When Honey Crystalizes
If you happen to open a bottle of your Manuka (raw) honey and see that it has crystalized, you can bring it back to shape in no time at all.
- Fill a medium-sized saucepan about three quarters of the way full and bring up to warm temperature
- Remove the lid from your honey, then place bottle of honey in the water
- Allow honey to sit in warm water to slowly loosen
- If water cools, briefly remove honey and bring water back up to temperature
- After about 15 minutes, you should be able to start stirring honey
- Continue this process until raw honey become smooth again
***Do NOT microwave honey or use boiling water, as this will ruin the beneficial properties of the raw honey
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