How do you keep honey from turning to sugar?
By Tonya from Langley, WA
Some honey turns to sugar and some doesn't. When that happens the thing to do is put the container in a pan with some water in the pan and bring it to a boil, then turn the burner way down to let it simmer, until the honey liqufies. My former in-laws used to let a bee keeper keep his hives on their farm and in return they were given several gallons of honey, in the natural form, which in turn became sugary as it sat. The directions that I gave you are what my mother-in-law did.
Unprocessed(raw) honey is going to crystallize not matter what. It's normal & it doesn't hurt the honey, it's not bad. In one of the archived posts, someone said it's because water gets into it, but that's not what causes it(although it CAN cause it to go bad),it has to do with the amount of glucose(sugar) in the honey. Heating it up will fix the crystallization, like others have said.You can put the jar in a pan of water on the stove, or microwave it. Stir it occasionally to mix. However, the more times you heat it, the more it degrades the quality of the honey.It also allows yeast & bacteria to start growing & the honey can go bad.
Earlier posts say to store it at room temp,that cold temp is bad.Not true. If it is raw, unpasturized honey, storing at room temp can cause it to crystallize faster & separate into layers of crystallized sugar & liquid-and the liquid can grow bacteria & yeast,going bad.You can store it at room temp, but keeping it in the fridge or freezer is best. I have honey that is +20 yrs old in my freezer, in quart canning jars.
It's become very dark with age,but is delicious. I keep a small jelly jar in my fridge or on the counter & re-fill from the freezer as it empties by scooping out what I need into a microwave safe bowl & heating it just until it starts to liquefy. If the honey in my little jar crystallizes, I don't re-heat the whole jar. I just scoop out what I need & heat that in the microwave, that way it doesn't keep heating the larger amount & degrading it.
Those little plastic honey bear containers are cute, but impractical because if the honey gets hard,you can't get it out. It is best to store your honey in an airtight jar or container with a wide mouth so you can scoop out what you need.
My gr granddad was a bee keeper for the last 30 yrs of his life. He taught my mom some of what he knew about it. Also, my mom allowed a bee keeper to keep hives on her property for many years. He had hives all over the state of AZ & would harvest it then sell it on a large scale in Phoenix. In return for allowing him to use her property,he gave her a few gallon jars of honey every time he harvested-fresh mesquite honey is the absolute best!! He's the one who told us to store it in the freezer & not re heat it too many times. I also found info by googling that backs up this info, such as http://126.96.36.199/downloads/crystallization.pdf
Set the jar in water and bring to boil. Shut off and let sit. No need to remove the lid. The honey will not turn to sugar again. I have done this a lot of times. I've even sat honey jars on a register in the winter and let the furnace bring it back.
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