why does my honey turn to sugar
Why is my honey doing this? All honey will at some point turn to sugar crystals. Some other terms for it are sugared, granulation, solidifying and crystallizing. This is a natural process. The crystals may be large or small, a grainy, sandy type or smooth and creamy type. What makes it crystallize is due to the type of flower the honey bee visited when she gathered the blossom's nectar. The floral source determines whether the honey will turn into a solid form more quickly or not. Some honeys while raw will stay in a liquid form for quite a while. Other honeys will turn to a solid form with in a few weeks. This is due to how stable the sugar crystal is in the nectar. Remember the sugar crystals we made as children in grade school, we evaporated sugar water with a string dropped in it for the crystals to form on. This is similar to what is happening to the honey. This is not honey turned bad, or anything that is affecting the taste or quality of the honey.
You may find you like it in this state!! It spreads on toast or bread without dripping off. It won't run off the spoon as you take it from the jar to your hot drink. To turn it back to a liquid, pourable state, use gentle warming of the jar in hot (not boiling) water. Honey doesn't need to be stored in the refrigerator. This speeds up the crystal formation.
We don t consume a lot of honey in our home so it s not uncommon to find crystals develop in the jar before we get a chance to use it all. Is it still safe to eat? You bet! Here s a simple trick that will dissolve those pesky granules along with some information about why the crystallization occurs. First The Fix, Just Add Some Heat! Place jar in a pot of warm water, set heat to medium-low and stir until crystals dissolve. You can also place the jar in a pot of hot water and leave it alone until it liquefies (not resting on heated element).
Quick Fix: You could also heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir well, allow to cool for 20 seconds then heat again for 30 seconds (if there are still granules needing to be dissolved). Stir again and cool as noted before reheating (if required). After being melted, the granules will disappear for a time but they will return eventually if the honey hasn t been consumed quickly enough. Simply repeat the heating process each time. Does crystallized honey mean it s expired or is it still safe to eat? Honey doesn t go bad but a shelf life of two years is a good rule of thumb (since storage conditions can affect taste of honey). Are the granules edible? Yes, they ll melt slowly in your mouth and in fact, some people prefer their honey crystallized a bit. Why does honey become cloudy and grainy in the first place?
Here s a three page document from the National Honey Board Food Technology/Product Research Program [Update: removed since it s no longer online] it s loaded with information. A quote: This natural phenomenon happens when glucose, one of three main sugars in honey, spontaneously precipitates out of the supersaturated honey solution. The glucose loses water (becoming glucose monohydrate) and takes the form of a crystal (a solid body with a precise and orderly structure). The crystals form a lattice which immobilizes other components of honey in a suspension thus creating the semi-solid state. Did You Know : Honey can be frozen! If honey isn t a hot ticket item in your pantry and is only used irregularly, try freezing it in small batches and remove as needed (thaw at room temperature). Freezing will help prevent it from crystallizing.
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