If you have noticed that the honey you have at home has solidified and you think that it is a low quality honey or that it no longer has the properties that characterize it, do not worry, because this is completely false. What has happened is what is known as crystallization of honey, a process that responds to some characteristics of the type of honey, such as the origin of the nectar and the species that has processed it.
Why does crystallization of honey occur?
The crystallization of honey is a natural process that transforms it from a liquid to a solid or semi-solid and, depending on its origin, it can crystallize more or less quickly.
The crystallization of honey occurs from the base of the container to the top and is due to several factors, among which are:
- The pollen of the flowers from which the nectar was obtained
- The amount of fructose, also determined by the flowers
- The temperature at which it is stored
- amount of water it contains.
When honey contains pollen, that is, it has been extracted from the honeycomb before maturation is complete, it will crystallize faster, but it will remain a pure and natural product with all its properties.
Honey bees store the pollen in their combs, provide their enzymes and cover it with honey for processing. After a couple of weeks it is already a digestible product with high amounts of amino acids, minerals and proteins.
Thanks to the glucose content, honey tends to solidify faster, as it is a product with a large amount of sugars, such as fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose and other sugars such as monosaccharides, disaccharides and polysaccharides.
If honey is stored at temperatures between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius, it will crystallize. The same will happen if it is refrigerated, for which you must increase the temperature, preferably in a bain-marie, so that it acquires its thick liquid consistency.
One recommendation is not to refrigerate the honey, however, some environments can also generate crystallization, so it is best to increase the temperature of the honey gradually and uniformly, it is not recommended to do it in the microwave.
One of the characteristics of honey is the small amount of water it contains (20%), which also determines its crystallization, so that the lower the humidity, the higher the crystallization and hardness.
Is crystallized honey good?
Because it is a process that occurs naturally, without altering it, the crystallization of honey does not harm its properties or nutritional characteristics, nor its taste or smell. On the contrary, they all remain, as well as their chemical composition.
Far from believing that the crystallization of honey is a sign of poor quality or poor condition of the product, rather it is an indication of being a fresh product with a quality guarantee, since the crystals appear when it is in its pure state, that is to say , which has not been previously heated to make it more liquid.
Crystallized honey and its uses
Most liquid honey undergoes crystallization within a couple of weeks after being extracted from the hives and packaged, although some never crystallize.
Crystallized or semi-solid honey can be used to sweeten and flavor teas, infusions, milk, coffee, yogurts, and granola. Even for sweet and sour recipes and preparations or stews that include this product.
Although using crystallized honey we can lose the perception of the amount that we should use, we can still calculate the amounts, even if it is approximately.