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DrasticDreamer's avatar

Is there anything that can stop honey from crystallizing?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23983points) March 11th, 2015

I have a jar of raw, unprocessed honey that I like to use for my tea. This is the second jar I’ve filled from a local farmer’s market, and for some reason this batch is crystallizing a lot faster than the first one. It’s not because it’s cold – it’s actually unseasonably warm where I live, so I can’t figure out why.

So now, I just want to know if it’s possible to stop the progression or if there’s a way to reverse it?

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18 Answers

longgone's avatar

“It’s actually unseasonably warm where I live, so I can’t figure out why.”

That’s why! Honey likes to be stored as cold and as dark as possible. Temperatures below 15°C work best, and storage in a clay pot or darkened jar is optimal. The transparent jars sell better, unfortunately.

2davidc8's avatar

You can revive it by microwaving it.. But be careful. Honey gets hot very fast. Just 15 seconds or so will do. (The necessary amount of time depends on the volume you have, of course.) If this is not enough time, do another 10 seconds. Keep going in 5 to 10-second increments until you’re happy with the result.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@longgone Ah, thank you! I had it backwards… lol! :)

@2davidc8 I wondered if that might do the trick, but I don’t want to zap out all of the good stuff. :-/

JLeslie's avatar

The way I remember it, honey crystallizes most rapidly between 55–65 degrees. Under 50 or over 80 the crystallization is retarded. Basically, for a lot of homes, room temperature is fairly close to ideal for crystallization. Also, certain honeys are more prone to it. The type of flowers determines the glucose level I guess, and the glucose is what makes the crystals. Honey with more fructose in the ratio is less prone to the problem.

When you were a kid did you ever make rock candy? The sugar quality and flavor doesn’t really change if you melt the sugar back into the water again. Similar to slightly heating the honey to melt the crystals. However, your point is well taken that you want your honey to have the bacterias, it sounds like you are buying unpasteurized honey for the supposed benefits. Sugar does become very hot very fast and there is a risk I guess that you kill off what you want to preserve.

JLeslie's avatar

Oops. 55–75.

Buttonstc's avatar

If you don’t want to use the microwave (it is quicker but that is really the only advantage) fill a pot with hot (but not boiling water) to a depth that envelops most of the jar without submerging it and in about half an hour or so, it should be back to normal.

Another thing you could try is putting it in a blender and whipping some air into it. It will change the color but not effect anything else. Whenever I’ve bought whipped honey, i’ve never had it chrystallise on me.

And there must be something to the info about types of honey chrystallizing more readily. Years ago (15 or more) I was visiting an organic farm up in Calgary, Canads and their honey was so great tasting and pretty inexpensive that I bought a huge bucket of it (10 lbs. or more, I don’t remember exactly) and that never chrystallized over a several year period of time. Obviously it wasn’t processed since I watched them harvesting it so it must have been due to whatever local flowers were in the area.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

If not cool and dark at least out of direct light. And the warm water trick will revive it if it does crystallize.

Strauss's avatar

A local honey producer (he has his own hives within 10 miles of my house) gave me the same recommendations as @Buttonstc above. He gently warms the honey to package it, but never warmer than 90° F. His rule of thumb:

If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot for your honey!

gailcalled's avatar

I use my sister’s honey, made from her bees, and keep it on the kitchen counter. Even though it is crystalized, I can easily scoop out whatever amount I want to use, spoonful by spoonful.

When I drop it in the hot tea, it dissolves. It has never seemed an issue.

If I wanted to liquify it a little, say to put over vanilla ice cream, I too would use the microwave for a few seconds.

cazzie's avatar

Crystalisation is simply cosmetic. It has no effect on the goodness or taste of the honey.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Thanks, everyone. :)

I also like putting the honey on my face sometimes, because I love what it does to my skin – but that’s easier when it’s not crystallized. I’ll try putting the jar in a pot like @Buttonstc suggests.

CWhite99's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I agree with @Buttonstc a pot with some hot water will work better than a microwave. That’s also how I do it. I love honey, it’s so so good!!!!!

Buttonstc's avatar

@DD

I was just wondering if you have a gas stove? They have pilot lights which are always on. They don’t give off a lot of heat since it’s just a single flame but it might do the trick.

If so, once you initially get it liquid again, putting it in the middle part of the stove above the pilot light might be sufficient to keep it warm enough.

Or possibly if you have the old fashioned type of radiators, putting a board across the top would enable keeping the honey warm there, at least in winter.

For years I’ve lived in one or another of those historic 100+ years old houses and they usually had one or the other, if not both. There are certain advantages to the way things used to me done :)

But if neither of those exists, you’ll just have to settle for warming it up in warm water every time it chrystallizes :)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Buttonstc No, we have one of those stoves that has a completely flat top, and doesn’t heat up until it detects that a pot is on it, but they do have really good heat settings – so hopefully it’ll be okay that way.

(I would love to live in an historic house. I know they can be a lot of work and have some issues, but I think they’re so much more beautiful than a lot of the newer homes. Way more personality.)

Buttonstc's avatar

Just for curiosity, are you referring to an induction stovetop (which requires specific cookware) or just a regular electric stove with a glass top over the coils instead of the coils exposed?

The reason I’m asking is because induction burners are known for very stable temperatures unlike regular electric burners which cycle on and off,

Induction burners can also be set for very low temps, even low enough for melting chocolate without burning it.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Buttonstc Yeah, it’s an induction stove-top. At first I found it kind of annoying, because it required getting a brand new set of cookware (not cheap), but now I definitely appreciate it.

Buttonstc's avatar

You might want to check to see what is the lowest temp it will go down to.

If it’s low enough and you have a stainless steel container in which to put the honey, you might be able to put it on that and possibly leave it there.

I have a single burner induction unit and wish I had induction for the entire stovetop. It is so much superior to anything else on the market

Where did you get your cookware set and how expensive was it ? Is it a specific brand name ?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@Buttonstc Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I haven’t been on Fluther because someone was visiting me from England!

We just ordered it off of Amazon for about $150 for a 10-piece set. Then we had to get some other, individual pieces (all Farberware). So it’s not that the set or the pieces themselves were expensive, it was just that we literally had to replace almost everything we had, since you can only use stainless steel on the stove top.

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