Why Honey Has an Indefinite Shelf Life


How long does it take for honey to spoil? A few months? A few years? Would you believe me if I told you it lasts practically forever? Honey doesn’t have an expiration date and isn’t capable of spoiling. It has a very unique composition, such as traces of hydrogen peroxide, acidity, and an almost total lack of water. Because of the very low moisture, bacteria is unable to form, and this plays a huge role in spoil prevention. Honey is also very acidic, which allows it to fight off bacteria or any other organism growth. Another key element comes from a bee enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme produces hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid, which adds to the list of bacteria fighting properties of honey.

Does this mean that honey can’t spoil? It definitely can if you don’t store it correctly. If you leave the lid off, don’t close it tightly enough, or add water to it, the shelf life will be much shorter. Since honey naturally contains no moisture, it has a tendency to attract moisture, which is why you want to keep it sealed when not in use. The fact that it attracts moisture is also why honey is used in many beauty treatments, such as facial masks.

The final question is about when honey crystallizes. What causes it to happen and is the honey spoiled? Crystallization happens when the particulates of raw honey slowly bond together. The honey itself is not spoiled and is perfectly fine. There are tricks to remove crystals from honey, but you can rest assured that your honey is safe to eat. You can easily tell if you have raw honey or pasteurized honey by the appearance of crystals. Pasteurized honey is strained, heated, and processed to remove all of the particulates that raw honey naturally has. This type of honey is normally found in supermarkets and doesn’t offer as many health benefits as raw honey, but the product stays free of crystal formation. The shelf lives of raw honey and pasteurized honey are essentially the same, as long as long as they are both sealed properly.

Even though honey has an extremely long shelf life, that usually isn’t something any of us has to worry about, mainly because it is so delicious! If you are running low on pure, raw, natural honey, be sure to visit our shop!


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