Why Does Honey Crystallize

Why Does Honey Crystallize?

Honey is one of the world’s most pleasant natural resources. Bees work long and hard throughout the year to produce high yields of honey, and it is then used to help enrich our lives in countless ways.

Honey not only tastes absolutely fantastic but also comes with an array of health benefits that help to make it a truly valuable resource.

Why Does Honey Crystallize

Honey is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and can even be used across the body as an antibacterial agent! 

The only problem with honey is that it has an annoying tendency to crystallize, which totally changes its texture, and sometimes its flavor, causing many people to throw it away long before it passes its best. 

But what is it that actually causes honey to crystallize? Why does honey crystallize, and is there anything you can do to remedy it or prevent it? 

If you want to extend the shelf life of your honey, then you will want to read on down below, because we have collected everything you could possibly need to know on the topic! 

Let’s dive right in! 

What Is Honey?

Before we can find out what it is that causes honey to crystallize, it can be useful to make sure we are clear about what exactly honey actually is. 

Honey is, of course, created by bees, who tirelessly gather up massive quantities of nectar from flowers in their environment, which is stored in the honey sac.

This honey is then regurgitated by the bees in the hive, into a collective store, where it slowly begins to thicken into the honey that we know and love. 

Once the honey is deposited into the honeycombs in the hive, the bees then flap their wings, in order to cause the water in the honey to evaporate, which is what allows it to thicken up even more. 

Honey is actually made up of simple sugars that are combined together. The two most important sugars in honey are glucose and fructose. 

What Causes Honey To Crystallize?

The reason why honey crystallizes is precisely because of those two types of sugars that can be found in it.

Crystallization is totally natural, and it simply occurs because some of the sugars in the solution end up separating from the overall solution, which results in crystals developing all over the surface of the honey.

The sugar that most commonly leaves the solution is glucose.

Crystallization is partly able to happen so efficiently in honey because of the fact that there is so little water content within honey.

If there were more water content found in honey, then it would be more likely to ferment than to crystallize! 

Some honey naturally has more glucose than fructose, and vice versa, so some honey may crystallize incredibly quickly, while others might crystallize very slowly.

This can actually depend on the nectar gathered by the bees. Some flowers have nectar with a great ratio of fructose to glucose, and vice versa.

Why Does Honey Crystallize

Is Raw Honey More Likely To Crystallize?

When we say ‘Raw’ honey we are directly referring to honey that is fresh from the hive and has not been pasteurized for sale in grocery stores.

When honey is pasteurized, it is sent through a process in which it is heated, and then cooled down, which is done to prevent crystallization.

As such, raw honey, in its unfiltered form, is much more likely to crystallize, but this is not a bad thing.

When the honey crystallizes, it will take on a very cloudy appearance, and a very creamy texture. This helps to make it more flavorsome and delightful to eat!

How Do You Stop Honey From Crystallizing?

Unfortunately, you cannot outright stop honey from crystallizing, but there are a few things you can do to slow the process down and allow it to last a bit longer. 

The most important thing that you can do to slow down the crystallization process of honey is to keep it at room temperature in your home.

Crystallization actually happens at increased speeds when the temperature is lower, despite what many people assume!

Many people place honey into their fridges, only to find themselves surprised when the honey comes out crystallized! 

Even warmer environments than room temperature can be beneficial for helping to prevent crystallization. 

The reason why crystallization is slightly prevented at higher temperatures is that the honey becomes slightly softer, which keeps the glucose from leaving the solution. 

You will also want to make sure that you keep moisture from gathering within the container that you are keeping your honey in.

Moisture is known to promote crystallization, so you will want to keep the honey dry as much as possible. 

Towards this end, we recommend storing your honey in a glass container.

The reason for this is that plastic is actually slightly porous, meaning that it is able to retain moisture, unlike glass, which does not. Thus, honey will go longer without crystallizing in a glass jar. 

To Wrap Up

There you have it. The reason why honey crystallizes is simply a natural result of it being made up of a combination of both fructose and glucose.

Crystallization is totally natural, and not to be worried about, as it is simply a result of the glucose leaving the solution of the honey and forming together outside of the solution.

Luckily, crystallization is harmless and is not a problem. But, if you do want to avoid it, you will want to make sure to keep your honey at room temperature, and not in the fridge! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It OK To Eat Crystallized Honey?

It is totally safe to eat crystallized honey. The only difference is that the texture might be slightly changed.

Does Honey Ever Expire?

Though honey seems not to have a natural expiry date, it will still undergo changes. Most notably, you may notice the honey darkening, and losing its flavor and aroma.

Can You Eat 3000 Year Old Honey?

Technically, you could eat 3,000-year-old honey. This is because honey is high in sugar, so bacteria will not grow on it.

Why does honey crystallize?