Did Your Honey Crystallize? Don’t Throw It Out! Here’s How To Make It Smooth Again
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Honey is a great thing to keep in the cupboard. It adds a saccharine zip to your bedtime tea; makes a sweet topping for oatmeal and yogurt; and is the perfect counterpoint to savory, smoky, and spicy flavors. Honey also has numerous healing properties. Did you know it can freshen your breath and make bug bites less itchy?
Honey’s one flaw, however, is that, after a while, it turns cloudy and gritty. This process is called crystallizing — and while it isn’t harmful, it makes your honey look less appealing. Don’t throw it out, though, because it can be made smooth again. Below are instructions for de-crystallizing honey, plus ideas for using the sweet stuff in several unexpected ways.
Is crystallized honey bad?
While fresh honey is smooth and clear, crystallized honey is chunky, gritty, and cloudy. The flavor remains the same, but its texture and appearances are enough to turn you off. However, crystallization isn’t a sign of spoilage: In fact, it’s a sign that the honey you bought is the real deal and isn’t excessively processed. Honey doesn’t go bad as quickly as other foods, as long as it’s not contaminated by external factors and stored properly. In 2015, archaeologists in Egypt unearthed 3,000-year-old honey that was still completely edible. So it’s not just shelf-stable — it’s pyramid-stable.
Why does honey crystallize?
If crystallization isn’t a sign that honey’s gone bad, what is it? Simply put, honey is made of sugar and water. When the sugars harden and turn into crystals, the honey is chunkier and less clear. Different things contribute to the sugars’ hardening, says Wired. If the temperature goes below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, for example, it’s more likely to crystallize, and certain pollens and nectars in the honey can affect the speed of sugar hardening as well. It’s not a bad thing, either: Crystallization is a sign that your honey is minimally processed, and should still have many of its nutrients intact. You can slow down the process, however, by keeping your honey in a warm environment, like next to your oven.
What To Do With Crystallized Honey
Just because crystallization isn’t unhealthy or bad doesn’t mean it’s as desirable as smooth, clear honey. The sandy texture alone is off-putting, and may make certain dishes you use it on less appealing. There are two things you can do to get around this: Decrystallize the honey or turn it into whipped honey.
Good news: You can make your honey smooth and transparent again. Here’s how to do it, according to the honey experts at Dow Gardens:
- Warm a pot of water to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the container of honey (preferably glass) in the warm water bath.
- Let sit for 15 minutes or more until honey liquefies and crystals are dissolved.
The pros at Dow Gardens note that this works for just a serving of honey, too. If you want to use a spoonful of honey in your tea, but it’s crystallized, simply melt it in your hot tea — the crystals will go away.
(Whip it real good.) Devo references aside, whipped honey is a delicious treat, and whipping it is a great way to bring new life to cloudy, chunky honey. It’s fluffy, creamy, and delicious, and serves as the perfect topping for pancakes, toast, bagels… anything, really. TikTok user @homecooked_hamm shared a method for making whipped honey that’s super simple:
- Pour crystallized honey into a mixing bowl. (Keep in mind this might take a minute or two, since crystallized honey is thicker than when it’s liquefied.)
- Use a standing or hand mixer and whip for about 30 minutes or until consistency is fluffy and smooth.
Watch her video to see the process below. Keep in mind that there is brief language.
What does the honey in your cupboard look like right now? Regardless of whether it’s liquid or a little cloudy, it’s the perfect sweet treat.