CRYSTALLIZATION OF HONEY

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Introduction

Honey crystallization or granulation is a natural phenomenon by which honey turns from liquid (runny) state to a semi-solid state.

Crystallization of honey is little understood by the consuming public. Many assume that honey appears crystallized to be an adulterated or unnatural product. That is not so. Actually, crystallization process is natural and spontaneous. Most pure raw or unheated honey has a natural tendency to crystallize over time. Crystallization does not affect the honey except for colour and texture. Crystallized honey is not spoiled and preserves the flavour and quality characteristics of the liquid honey. Some honey users like it in this state since it is easy to spread on bread or toast without dripping off and the taste is richer.

why honey crystallizes?

Honey is a highly concentrated sugar solution. It contains more than 70% sugars and less than 20% water. There is much sugar in honey relative to the water content. This means that the water in honey contains an extra amount of sugar than it could naturally hold. The 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 after extraction from the combs, whereas others remain liquid for months or years. The following factors influence the speed of crystallization:

  • the nectar source collected by bees (the sugar composition of honey)
  • the methods in which honey is handled (processed) and
  • the temperature in preservation

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.