How to Soften Honey

    In our last newsletter, we discussed the process of crystallization in honey.  This month we will discover how to undo the process.

    During crystallization, honey does not lose its aroma, flavor or health benefits.  However, it can be upsetting to fetch some honey for baking only to find that it is hard and unusable.  Some folks, particularly in Europe, love to put crystallized honey on cereal or fruit.  Converting this solid treat is not a difficult process.

    The glucose in honey is the “culprit” responsible for the hardening.  There is not enough water in honey to keep all of its sugar permanently dissolved.  This is known as a supersaturated solution.  (Remember high school chemistry?) The glucose will stick to small particles contained in the honey.  This ranges from pollen, propolis (bee glue), beeswax, and even tiny bee body parts!  Raw honey, which contains much of these particles, (and which Winter Park Honey produces) is quicker to crystallize than refined honey.  Refined and pasturized honey takes much longer to crystallize, but does not have the health benefits of raw honey.   Some honeys crystallize faster (clover – more glucose).  In addition, some people keep homey in the refrigerator which greatly accelerates the crystallization process.

    So, how do you de-crystallize the honey?  The easiest method is to place the container is a window that will get the sun for several hours a day.  This could take a few days.  

    For plastic containers, turn the hot water on in your kitchen faucet and fill a pot so that the crystallized honey container can be three-quarters surrounded by the water.  When the water begins to cool, replace it with the “hot” water from the faucet.  In time, your honey will de-crystallize.  

    If you wish to preserve the integrity of the honey, do NOT microwave or use the dishwasher.  Slow cooking on the stove is also not recommended.  Remember, the quicker a honey crystallizes, the healthier it is!  A little patience is all it takes to enjoy you sweet healthy treat. 

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