There is no doubt that honey is one of the best foods known because it offers many properties, both for the skin and for the body in general. It has a soft texture, is usually viscous and liquid, and is spread in slices and other ingredients.
But, as time goes by, the honey gets hard and forms crystals. This is a natural process, although, unlike other products such as wine, freshness is a fundamental quality in the quality of honey. The maturity, the absence of physical impurities and residues, as well as its texture are taken into account when talking about its optimal characteristics.
Due to its composition, with more than 2/3 of sugars and less than 20% of water, honey tends to crystallize, solidify or become sweet. When they crystallize, they adequately preserve the natural aromas and flavors. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that, unlike what is thought, when honey crystallizes it does not change its taste or become bad, nor does it lose its beneficial properties.
Why does honey crystallize?
Honey can harden and crystallize depending on many factors. Being a supersaturated solution, glucose tends to precipitate out of solution, and the solution changes to a more stable supersaturated state. That is to say, it depends on the glucose and the humidity level of the honey and the outside or the place where it is stored.
There are other conditions, such as storage, temperature, humidity, and the shape, material and type of packaging that explain the crystallization of honey.
How to return honey to its liquid state
We can do many things to make the honey liquid again when it gets hard. For example, move it from the plastic jar to the glass jar. Plastic containers do not transfer heat to the food inside and will not retain the liquid as it should, i.e. it will crystallize quickly.
Another way to give it back its smooth texture is to put it in the oven so that the jar gets hot, and in a few minutes it will be liquid again. We can also heat it in a bain-marie. The process is similar, as we heat the jar in a paella on a low and gentle heat.
We can also soften the honey when it is hard thanks to the microwave. It’s a little easier and we don’t need to light a fire. We will place the honey in a microwave-safe container, such as a thick glass bowl, then heat it up to maximum power and it will melt immediately. To keep it in this liquid state is not always easy, but one way is to store it at room temperature.
Preserve the honey so it doesn’t get hard
To try to keep it liquid, the honey must be kept in a suitable container, better a glass one, and kept in a place that is always fresh and dry. When the temperatures vary within the same space, then the honey can lose its taste and become hard. It is better to keep it away from the fridge and the oven.
We must make sure we don’t leave the jar open where we keep the honey. It has to be well covered.
As with liquid, it is best not to expose it to natural light. Under no circumstances should it be placed on the window sill. When we want to store the honey for the long term, then we can put it in the freezer. This is a clear advantage because the honey can last several years if stored in the freezer. It won’t be liquid, but we can put it in the oven or microwave to make it stop being hard.