When the honey waits in the kitchen cabinet for a long time, we see that a tighter and lighter layer is formed on it. This is what we called as crystallized honey. Every type of honey, the raw or the processed one, gets crystallized eventually, this is its natural process.
But what is crystallized honey anyway? Should we be worried about crystallizing? There are some questions in mind such as what causes this, what to do when it happens, does every kind of honey-do this and how long does it take honey to crystallize, and I am going to answer them all to you below. Here are the answers to all these questions.
What Is Crystallized Honey?
I think we all saw crystallized honey at some point in our lives. When honey got crystallized, some parts of it started to look more solid and lighten than the actual color of the honey. This part is called crystallized honey. Just the same taste as your regular honey except the shape and color is kind of different than usual.
Sometimes people throw their jar of honey just because it got crystallized in the edges, that is just not true. It would be such a huge waste of food and money to throw it away, and it’s not a green environmental thing to do. You can enjoy your crystallized honey, just as same as your liquid honey; on bread, with oatmeal inside your tea or else.
If so, then what is happening with this different shaped and colored formation inside the honey? It’s not something else besides, it’s the same honey, but solid form. The only differences between liquid honey and crystallized honey are its texture and color. In crystallized honey, because of the amount of sugar, it consists, by the time it gets more solid shape. If you are curious about how and why it got crystallized, go on and read the explanation down below.
What Causes Honey to Turn to Sugar?
The main reason honey gets crystallized is overdose sugar. To explain scientifically, regular honey usually contents % 70 sugars and % 20 of water and % 10 other contents. (Such as Propolis, beeswax, enzymes, etc.) At this level, this percentage of sugar is much more than remain reduced in that amount of water which makes it a supersaturated solution.
To explain in detail, there are 2 main sugar types inside the honey: fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose (grape sugar). After beekeepers harvest the products, the water and sugar level of the honey can’t remain the same. Fructose can remain dissolved more easily than glucose. Due to it, the chains of glucose in the honey begin to impart.
When glucose molecules begin to dissociate from sugar and water mixing, first they attach the solid grains in honey and then connect themselves. Because of the amount of the glucose inside the honey, it starts to separate from the water and start to form by itself as crystals. Fructose is still liquid inside of a honey. The reason why glucose crystals seem lighter in color is due to the structure of glucose crystals. Originally glucose crystals are pure white. With the crystallization happening, it makes honey even more viscous and solid.
Does Pure Honey Turns to Sugar?
It’s the pure and unheated honey that turns into the sugar at some point. If your honey is turning into sugar, that’s how you know you have bought a real, natural honey. Although it’s the structure and color that changes, the taste will remain the same.
As a manner of fact, unnatural honey doesn’t get crystallized because crystallization occurs because of those natural qualities. (Propolis, pollen, beeswax, etc.) The crystals may look different because of the varying shape of it such as grainy, smooth, creamy, or sandy. This way when its crystallized, you can easily spread onto your toast without having concerns about spilling it or can easily be mixed with your tea or milk without wrapping around your spoon.
Is It Still Good to Use?
Well, yes, you can eat your crystallized honey with a mind at peace. It’s safe to use your honey because crystallization is a natural thing, if it doesn’t get crystallized, it’s the real thing you should be worried about because the real honey gets crystallized eventually.
One of the reasons why crystallized honey is still good to eat is, first of all, honey never got expired. I’m sure we all heard about the story of jars of honey found in the pyramids of the Egyptians, which still good to be used even if it’s buried under the pyramids for centuries. Well, I guess it’s okay to get crystallized a bit of a honey which was buried under for a long time.
The second reason why is that crystallization is not happening because it’s going rot. It’s happening because of chemistry. You see honey consist of a high amount of sugar and by the time the water inside of the honey couldn’t handle that amount of sugar and it begins to get solid slowly.
It’s even tastier because it needs more time to melt in your mouth and it gives you twice a time to savor the taste of your honey and some people prefer crystallized honey because it doesn’t give overwhelming sweeten to taste as the liquid honey gives.
How Long Does It Take Honey to Crystallize?
There are different types of honey that honey producers produced in the markets. The crystallization duration varies according to the type of honey. Some honey can get crystallized within a couple of weeks, and some of them may not get crystallized for months or even years. It depends on these three main factors;
1. The type and percentage of the sugar honey consists.
2. Different applications used in the process of honey processing
3. Storage degree of the honey
The honey contains different types of sugar, fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose (grape sugar). The main thing that affects the time of crystallization is the percentage of these sugars.
If honey contains a high percentage of glucose sugar, with a low fructose sugar ratio against glucose sugar, the crystallization process will occur swiftly. Your sugar may get crystallized within a couple of weeks. Examples of such honey types are; cotton, mesquite, alfalfa, mustard, dandelion.
Opposite of this, when honey contains a high fructose sugar level than glucose sugar, the crystallization procedure can take even years because, with a high fructose level, crystallization will occur slowly. There’s no need to be worried about your honey being fake, just check out the fructose sugar and glucose sugar level in the table of contents and you will know what to expect from your honey. Robinia, Tupelo, sage, and Longan can name as examples of that kind of honeys.
Besides the type and percentage of sugar, the other criteria that effects the duration of honey crystallization are presence incentives. To name those we can say pollen grains, minor pieces of seeds, and beeswax. These small particles function as the core of crystallization.
For example, crude honey includes pollen, Propolis, and wax, which makes it easier and faster to crystallize. In contrast, processed honey will remain its liquid shape because of the filtering process. You see, after filtering the processed honey, and the nuclei of the honey are eliminated. Without them, glucose particles couldn’t increase, and that gives us the result of keeping the honey liquid for a longer time.
The last factor that determines the duration of crystallization is the storage temperature. Honey crystallizes more quickly around 10-15 degrees. When the heat drops under 10 degrees, the crystallization begins to slow down.
If you don’t want your honey to get crystallized, you keep it in a place around 25 degrees to the higher up to 40 degrees. The reason why is that this level of heat is the most convenient temperature to keep your honey liquid. After 40 degrees, the heat will ruin the components in honey.
Another tip to store your honey; keep it in tightly closed containers. The ideal room temperature should be around 21 to 27 degrees. Do not store honey in the refrigerator. Places with a low temperature, such as a refrigerator, will accelerate the crystallization of honey.
Are There Different Types of Crystallization?
Some honeys crystallize uniformly, some are partially crystallized and form 2 layers with the crystallized layer on the underside of the jar and a liquid on the top. Honeys also vary within the size of the crystals formed. Some form fine crystals et al. large, gritty ones. The more rapid honey crystallizes, the finer the feel are.
Crystallized honey tents to line a lighter/paler color than when liquid. This is often thanks to the very fact that glucose sugar tends to separate in dehydrating crystals form, in which glucose crystals are naturally pure white. Darker honeys retain a brownish appearance.
What to Do When Honey Turns to Sugar?
If you have got some crystallized honey and you don’t want to eat the honey solid, then you can always turn it to its liquid texture. There is a quite an easy way to turn crystallized honey back to its pure liquid form. All you need to do is set a bowl with hot water.
The easiest, but the careful method is to turn your honey into the liquid form, first heat up some water in a pot or the microwave. When it begins to simmer, turn down the heat off, pour hot water in a bowl. After that, put your honey jar inside of a bowl full of hot water and give it a couple of minutes until it the crystals to revert. After a couple of minutes later, you’ll begin to see the crystallized honey turn back to its liquid texture.
In the first method, it sounds too easy to do so, but it could all turn wrong if you don’t know what temperature you suppose the heat up your honey because some of the content inside of the honey can be destroyed in overheat. As a result of this honey’s taste can go bad, the color can change to darker and the enzymes in your honey could be destroyed.
This is why there are other safer methods to decrystallize your honey;
1. If you have a yogurt maker in your house, you can but your crystallized honey inside and set the temperature to 112 Fahrenheit, 44 degrees.
2. I know it’s hard to find in every house, but if you do have a Sous Vide cooker, it’s the best thing to use crystallized honey. You can but honey jar inside the Sous Vide cooker and set the temperature to 110 Fahrenheit, 43 degrees. After a few hours, you’ll see your honey get de crystallized without any harming result of heating. For example, you can examine the following product in amazon.
3. If you don’t have neither a yogurt maker nor a Sous Vide cooker, you can still try the first method of hot water bowl. To avoid the negative consequences of this method you should use the largest pot you have in your house, don’t forget to change the water often and use a thermometer to keep up with the heat.
Now you can enjoy your fully fluid honey whichever you like.
If I Heat Honey, Does It Get Toxic?
First, let’s assuage the foremost serious concern, no, heating honey won’t turn it toxic and kill you. Heating raw honey will change the makeup of the honey and potentially weaken or destroy enzymes, vitamins, minerals, but it’ll not offer you a horrible disease or poison you.
Not to destroy enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, it does depend upon what quantity the honey is heated and for the way long, however.
For instance, are you able to heat honey to 95 degrees? Heating honey around to this temperature is simply fine and can leave the health benefits of the raw honey inside.
Heating up crystallized honey could be a good way to create honey more liquid and easier to handle and can leave the healthy stuff within the honey inside. Nevertheless, do not go above 95 degrees to give advice. If you discover that your honey is popping into crystals and you aren’t an enormous fan of that, provides it with a gentle warming until you’re satisfied again.