In a bid to preserve food and keep it for as long as possible many people choose to freeze food. If you have a honey jar at home the thought as to whether you should freeze it or not may have crossed your mind.
Will honey freeze? No, genuine pure honey will never freeze completely as honey is a substance made up of mostly sugar rather than water.
Honey happens to be one of the truly enduring natural food supplements and mealtime sweetener that has been a delight for millions of people for many generations now. In our modern day, honey is readily available than it has ever been before. Plentiful honey today also comes with perks like added floral flavor from plants such as lavender.
Though a lot of people enjoy honey on a daily basis, there are a lot of people too who do not. This is because most of the time they find honey to an expensive commodity and as such, they treat it as a luxury. Why buy a huge jar if it’s going to go to waste?!
If by chance they are able to get their hands on this golden liquid they intend to savor it over time. If you do not want your bottle of honey to finish just yet, therefore, you may be looking for ways to make it last longer.
Why Store Honey in the Freezer?
Honey can stand the test of time and last for a really long period of time in a cupboard, granted that it is stored in an airtight container, at low humidity and at a temperature lower than room temperature. If honey is kept at room temperature there is a high tendency that it will crystallize, which would make it not as fresh as the first time you bought it. Crystallization of honey will be discussed later in this article.
Another issue with storing honey at room temperature is that the material or bottle that holds the honey might get porous over time. This would allow moisture to form around the honey causing it to ferment or spoil.
The flavour of honey also changes as time passes just like wine and cheese. It is possible that you might like the new flavour and chances are too that the new flavour might not suit your taste.
It is recommended that you store honey in a very cool environment. There is no chance for honey to crystallize when it is in the freezer. The changes in flavor and taste are also ceased. For best practice, make sure that the container holding the honey is airtight. Storing it in a glass container is more preferable than using plastic containers.
Crystallization of Honey
You might have the feeling that your honey has gone bad when you notice some thick and cloudy appearance on the honey bottle. This in no way means that your honey has gone bad.
Honey is made up of mostly sugar as mentioned earlier and the inherent dryness of the sugar can lead to crystallization. Crystallization is not something that you should be afraid of because even real, raw honey crystallizes. It is a natural process.
Why Does Honey Crystallize?
The physical properties of honey vary depending on how much water is contained in it, the temperature and also the proportion of sugar. Raw or local honey contains more sugar than water and that is why it can dissolve at ambient temperatures.
When at room temperature honey becomes a supercooled liquid whereby the glucose content becomes solid granules. The surplus of sugar makes honey so unstable and in an attempt to make things balance as nature would have it, glucose separates from the water and remains in crystal form.
Fructose and glucose are the two main sugars in the carbohydrate solution of honey. The percentages contained are determined by the kind of honey. Typically fructose is up to 44 per cent while glucose is about 40 per cent. What this means is that the balance between these two elements is the fundamental reason for crystallization in honey.
Once again, crystallized honey does not mean that the honey is bad. It is only a basic part of nature!
The Chemistry Behind the Crystallization of Honey
Crystallization sometimes happens within weeks of you opening the honey bottle. There are a number of factors that determine how long it would take for honey to crystallize. The first factor is the room or area where the honey container is stored. While hot temperatures prevent crystallization in honey, extremely cold temperature aid and speed up crystallization.
Aside from the temperature, the honey type also determines the crystallization rate. There are many types of honey today as some websites report that there are over 300 types of honey sold in the US alone. These over 300 types of honey all have different crystallization rates.
The third major factor that affects the crystallization rate in honey is the mode in which you bought it. Was it raw? Semi-processed? Or processed? Raw or unprocessed honey has been known to take a long time before crystallizing than the others. This is one reason why it is also more expensive than the semi-processed and processed kind of honey.
How to De-Crystallize or Thaw Honey
The quickest way to thaw honey is by using the microwave. There might be some disadvantages of using this method though. One is that many microwaves today have varying heat concentrations and can, therefore, overcook the honey in the same duration that another microwave would have done the perfect job.
However, there are other ways by which you can thaw honey. Here are some of them.
To use a stove-top, you need to make sure that your honey is in a tightly sealed glass container. Place the container in a pot that has water filled to at least half of the body of the container.
Heat the pot up and allow the water to becomes hot but not high enough for it to start boiling. Stir honey in the container gently so that you do not splash any of the hot water directly into the honey.
Once you feel that you have achieved the consistency that you need, remove the containers from the pot. Use honey and then seal and keep in a cool dry place.
2. Add Directly to Hot Drinks or Food
You can use this method if all you need from your honey container is just a teaspoon. Scoop one teaspoon from the container and place it inside the cup of hot tea and stir continuously to allow it to that.
The most reliable way to thaw honey is to place the container holding the honey into a bowl or pot of warm water until you feel that you have gotten the consistency or smoothness that you need.
Although storing honey in the freezer might not freeze it, you get to preserve your honey for a longer period of time by doing so. If stored properly, honey stored in the freezer would look, taste and feel as fresh as the day you bought it.
What can you do with crystallized honey?
The best thing that you can do with any kind of honey is eat it. So eat it! You can have your crystallized honey in your cup of tea, on your breakfast oatmeal and on your to-go bagels.
How can you stop honey crystallizing?
• Always maintain a steady temperature within the range of (104 – 140 degrees) when you are bottling your honey.
• Make sure to store honey in a container that is airtight and water safe.
• After bottling, store honey containers in a cool dry area with temperatures ranging from (50 – 70 degrees Fahrenheit). If stored in an area with the temperature higher than 70 degrees the quality of the honey would reduce over time.
• Store honey in the refrigerator instead of the freezer.