The first time your golden jar of delicious honey began to crystalise may have set the alarm bells off. Before frantically searching for the expiry date on your jar it is good to know that this is a natural occurrence in pure honey. It is also important to know that pure and properly preserved honey will not expire – honey is known to be one of the only foods that can last forever.
Why does honey crystalise? Without getting too stuck in the science, it's simple chemistry. Honey is what scientists call a supersaturated solution; it's essentially natural sugars (fructose and glucose) and water and there's not enough water in honey to keep its natural sugars dissolved permanently. In simple terms, the crystals are the natural sugars becoming 'undissolved' in the honey. While fructose tends to remain dissolved, glucose has a much lower solubility and so crystalises easier and faster.
Where you store your honey matters It is important to store your honey at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. A pantry cupboard is a good place to keep your honey. Avoid storing your honey in the refrigerator as the lower temperatures will cause your honey to crystalise quickly. It is also important to avoid high temperatures that will degrade your honey.
How to decrystalise your honey without ruining it Well… one solution is to eat all of your honey within the first few weeks of purchase :-) But, another way is set your honey container (ideally glass), uncapped, in a small heatproof bowl. Fill it with warm (not boiling) water to reach halfway up the container. Let sit for about 45 minutes, replacing with fresh warm water as needed. Once in a while, stir the honey to ensure that the honey in the entire container is heating. Use a clean, dry utensil to stir so you don’t introduce bacteria or moisture into the honey. Stop when the honey reaches the desired consistency.
P.S. If you haven’t tried spreading crysalised honey on toast before we would highly recommend it. The crystals take a while longer to melt in your mouth allowing you to enjoy all of the flavours as they are released on your tastebuds.