Funny Looking Honey
Lately, when people see our honey displayed, they give a confused look. Before even having to question the consistency, I quickly offer a sample of the 'solidified' honey and await the satisfied responses. You see, raw honey tends to crystallize quite rapidly. Some crystallizes faster than others, depending on the chemical makeup (the ratio of glucose, fructose and water the bees put in the honey), if it has been heated and/or filtered at all during the extraction process, and the plants the bees found to make the honey. Some people have confessed to throwing away honey when it crystallizes, thinking it had gone bad. My heart drops a little as I explain to them that honey is the only food that has an infinite shelf life (as long as it has not been exposed to moisture, which will make it ferment). In fact, recently there was a report of some honey (crystallized, of course) found in King Tut's tomb...and it was still good! Crystallized honey is actually easier to work with in some cases. It is creamy, so it is easy to transfer into a cup of tea without drizzling it on the counter in the process, and it spreads very nicely on toast...and stays there! If you would like the honey to be liquid again, there are a few options. You can either put about an inch of water in a saucepan on low heat and then put the jar of honey in the water until it liquifies (creating a double boiler effect). You can also heat up water to no warmer than 150°F, remove from the heat and then place the jar in the water until liquified. Another option is to put water in a crockpot, then put the jar of honey in that, which takes a little longer. Heat does cause a reduction in the beneficial microorganisms of honey. However, as long as the temperature of the water is low, most of the 'good stuff' (wax, pollen, and propolis that contain the enzymes, nutrients and vitamins and provide the antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antioxidant properties) will remain in the honey. As a side note, never attempt to put a plastic honey container in the microwave, even for a few seconds, unless you want to see a melted honey bear and a messy microwave. So there you have it...an explanation for crystallized honey. Not only is it still good, but it's also a good sign that there was either no or very little heat applied while extracting, allowing the honey to contain all of its original nutrients.