Honey crystallization or granulation is a natural phenomenon through which honey turns from a liquid (runny) to a semi-solid state. The crystallization of honey is little understood by the consuming public. Many assume that honey which appears crystallized is an adulterated or unnatural product. That is not so. In fact the crystallization process is natural and spontaneous. Most pure raw or unheated honey has a natural tendency to crystallize over time, which has no effect on the honey beyond the colour and texture. Crystallized honey is not spoiled and preserves the flavour and quality of the liquid honey. Indeed some honey users like to eat it in this state, since it spreads easily on bread or toast without dripping and has a richer taste.
why honey crystallizes?
Honey is a highly concentrated sugar solution. It is more than 70% sugar and less than 20% water, which means that the water in honey contains more sugar than it could naturally hold. This overabundance of sugar makes honey unstable.
How fast will honey crystallize?
Different types of honey will crystallize at different rates. Some honey crystallizes within a few weeks of its extraction from the combs, whereas others remain liquid for months or even years. The following factors influence the speed of crystallization:
- the nectar source collected by bees (the sugar composition of honey)
- the method by which the honey is treated (processed)
- the temperature at which the honey is preserved
Liquefying crystallized honey: Crystallized honey can be brought back to liquid consistency by gently heating it in a hot water bath (Bain Marie) or warming cabinet (box) until the honey re-liquefies.