When honey crystallizes!
During the winter season when low temperatures occur, many types of honey tend to crystallize. However, there is no reason for concern! Crystallization is not a deterioration but a natural property of pure honey, that does not affect its quality but is rather an indication of it.
Honey, according to its natural origin and chemical composition, crystallizes rapidly, slowly or not at all. The main factors affecting crystallization are:
- Glucose concentration: High concentration of glucose in honey favors rapid crystallization, especially when it exceeds 30%.
- Water: Honey generally contains an amount of water (moisture) of less than 20%. The lower it is, the more quickly honey will crystallize, especially when the moisture level drops below 14%.
- Condensation nuclei: Additional properties such as pollen, wax, glucose crystals function as nuclei on which other glucose crystals stick, thus accelerating crystallization.
- Storage temperature: The temperature favoring crystallization of honey is that of 14° C (57 ° F). Correspondingly higher temperatures delay crystallization and increase the mobility of the different molecules.
So it is easy to see that honey that has been processed (for example through heating and mechanical filtering) will remain in liquid form due to the elimination of the particles which encourage the development of glucose crystals while raw honey with its natural properties/ filters will crystallize. In addition to this, the storage of honey plays an important role since crystallization is faster when the temperature drops between 10° C and 15° C (50 ° F and 59 ° F).
It is possible to reliquefy crystallized honey without losing its quality!
Honey can return to its liquid form and consistency by heating it gently in a Bain Marie. The temperature within the hive is usually 35º C (95º F) and can reach 40º C (104º F) in the summer when the bees collect and mature the honey. So to reliquefy honey, the best temperature is between 35° C and 40 ° C (95° F -104° F).
The temperature however should not exceed 40º C (104° F) so as to prevent overheating. Overheating honey for any length of time will reduce its quality, destroy the enzymes, make it would lose its delicate flavor and aroma, and destroy the minerals. Heating should always be done gently and with caution so that the nutritional value of honey is not lost!