Crystallized Honey

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Moderator Emeritus
May 10, 2002
Edmonton, Alberta
Can anyone tell me why honey crystallizes? And is it only the clarified honey that will do that?
I don't know why but as honey ages, it seems to crystallize. I do know you can reverse the process with the application of heat.

Interesting fact:

Pure honey will literally last forever. Edible honey has been found in the pharaohs' tombs in Egypt.
I did know that about honey. Something about the high sugar content inhibiting bacterial growth.

I am wondering if it has something to do with either the amount of processing it goes through or the temperature its stored at.

I can go Google, but I always like to come here first.
I do not remember exactly, but it has something to do with water loss I believe. When the honey looses water the structure changes. I can't recall the exact science though.
That makes sense. If there is water loss then the honey would have to revert to a more solid form.
What I can't explain is why heating it would change it back because you are not adding water back in by heating it.
Hmmm. OK, well what if its something about temperature that causes it to crystallize? It must remain warm to stay liquid?
I don't think it's the water.

Think about heating sugar to make candy. One wrong move can cause the liquid sugar to crystalize. A drop of water or a foreign object that falls into the pan or just a solid jarring of the pan can cause the sugar to crystalize. I think that's the issue with honey too.
I jsut googled it. Here is what I got.
“This natural phenomenon happens when glucose, one of the three main sugars in honey, spontaneously precipitates out of the supersaturated honey solution. The glucose loses water (becoming glucose mono hydrate) and takes the form of a crystal (a solid body with a precise and orderly structure). The crystals form a lattice which immobilizes other components of honey in a suspension thus creating the semi solid state.”

from Why Does Honey Crystallize? | Sweet As Can Bee Honey Farm

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