Raw honey will crystallize at some point in time. This is a very natural process and should be expected. There are a number of ways to liquefy it again, but some of the ways will destroy the raw properties and eventually degrade the quality of the honey. Here’s an easy and effective way of removing the sugar crystals without destroying the raw properties of the honey. Note, that honey will crystallize again over time because of the unstable nature of the sugar to water ratio within the honey.
To learn about why the sugar crystals form in honey and what to do about it, see the following videos. Instructions for a simple and effective way of removing the crystals is below the video links.
I hope this helps!
To decrystallize honey using an electric range or a gas range without a constantly lit pilot light:
Place the jar of honey on the rack in the middle of the oven away from the light bulb. Turn on the light, but do NOT turn on the oven. Leave it there and eventually it will liquefy. The heat from the light bulb will gently warm the honey, while keeping the temperature within a safe range so the raw properties of the honey (ie. enzymes) are not destroyed. This will take hours, with the actual length of time unknown. It depends on how much honey is in the jar and the type, size, and amount of sugar crystals that were formed. This process could easily be accomplished overnight, or while you’re away at work during the day.
If you have a range with a constantly lit pilot light:
In this case, your oven may already be warm. It’s advisable to take the temperature inside the oven, measuring the heat generated only from the pilot light. If it’s between 80F and 110F, it may be enough to bring the honey back into its liquid form without the added heat of the light bulb. Simply place the jar of honey on the rack in the middle of the oven and leave it there for an extended period of time, usually overnight or while you’re away at work during the day. The length of time it takes will depend upon the actual temperature of the oven and the type and amount of sugar crystals in the honey.
Have you ever wondered what happened to your honey when you found chunks of sugar in it? Is it safe to eat? Can you restore it back to the liquid state? I answered these questions and others in the video below. To see my notes and resources on this topic, see below the video link. Enjoy!
I hope this helps!
Is Crystallized Honey OK?
Why does honey crystallize?
Raw honey tends to crystallize because the water in the honey is supersaturated with sugar…it has more sugar molecules in it than it can naturally hold, making it unstable. The sugar naturally separates and forms crystals, making the water more stable molecularly. This is a natural process and nature’s way of stabilizing the liquid. It is not spoiled, nor moldy.
Not all honey will crystallize in the same way. Some will crystallize uniformly with fine crystals throughout, while others will form large, gritty crystals. How the crystals are formed and how fast they form depends on the type of nectar used to make the honey, the temperature at which it was stored, and whether or not it was filtered by the processor (raw, unfiltered honey will crystallize more readily than filtered honey).
Is it safe to eat honey that has crystallized?
Crystallization can affect the color and texture of honey. Crystallized honey tends to be lighter in color. But these are natural processes and the honey is perfectly safe to eat. Some people prefer crystallized honey as it will spread easier on toast and not drip off.
How can you restore honey to the liquid state?
To remove the crystals and liquefy the honey, place your honey jar in a bowl of warm water and allow it to slowly warm up. To preserve the enzymes and nutrients in raw honey, use a food thermometer and place the honey jar in water no hotter than 110F. A yogurt maker (if you have one) will maintain this temperature as long as needed to liquefy the honey. Placing the jar of honey in a slow cooker on low setting, half way filled with water, may also work. However, if you’re concerned with maintaining the raw qualities of the honey, use a quick-read thermometer to monitor the temperature, making sure it does not go over 110F. Another resource suggests using a crockpot as a water bath, turning in on high for one hour, then either turning it off or turning in on low until the honey is liquefied. Again, using a quick-read thermometer and making sure the water temperature does not go over 110F will maintain the raw state of the honey.
If your honey is in a plastic jar, do not place it in a pot of boiling or very hot water on the stove. The high heat may melt or warp the plastic bottle, leaching chemicals into the honey.
Some sources recommend briefly microwaving honey to liquefy it. However, that can cause it to heat up too quickly and unevenly, and may scorch the honey. Microwaving honey is not recommended by those who produce honey and keep bees. Repeated microwaving will eventually reduce the quality of the honey and will also destroy the valued properties (ie enzymes) that were in the raw honey.
According to https://AshevilleBeeCharmer.com, it’s best to only liquefy what honey you need at one time. Liquefying it numerous times can degrade the quality of the honey.
Can you prevent crystallization?
Raw, unfiltered honey will naturally tend to crystallize. To slow down the crystallization process, store your honey in a warm (but not hot) location. This will not stop the process, but will slow it down. According to https://CarolinaHoneyBees.com the best temperature for storing honey is between 70 and 80F. This will slow the process, but not stop it. They also suggest that honey never be stored in the refrigerator, as the colder temperature will cause the honey to thicken and invite crystallization.
It is also suggested that honey be stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and a wide mouth, so it can easily be scooped out when needed, crystallized or not. The glass jar can withstand any heat it is subjected to (during reliquification) without leaching any chemicals or other factors into the honey during the process. The tight-fitting lid will prevent any evaporation during storage.
If you really don’t want to see your honey crystallize, purchased processed honey. That will not crystallize.
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.