Whether you have commercial honey or have obtained honey straight from the hive, correct storage will ensure it lasts indefinitely. Used as an alternative to sugar to sweeten dishes or eaten as is, honey is something found in most homes.
What most people do not realize however is that (all things being equal) honey never goes bad. There are those that believe honey should be thrown away when it turns cloudy or begins to crystallize, but this is not the case. Provided it is stored correct, it will still be edible in hundreds or even thousands of years’ time.
How to Store Honey
If you have bought commercially produced honey or honey from a local supplier, the best way to store it is in the container in which it came. When storing honey that you have collected from a hive, it is recommended that you use a pre-sterilized glass container with an airtight lid. Just note that honey harvested from a hive will first need to be sieved to remove any wax.
Glass is the best choice for storage because metal containers can result in oxidization while plastic containers are more porous than metal. It is best to first sterilize any glass jar you are using to store honey so as to remove any contaminants and make sure the jar is completely dry before adding the honey.
Should Honey be Placed in the Refrigerator?
Honey does not need to be placed in the refrigerator. It is best kept in a pantry or cupboard at room temperature. Placing honey in the refrigerator will not prolong the life of your honey as it never expires anyway. Indeed, honey in the refrigerator may crystallize quicker and will therefore have a gritty texture (although still safe to eat, and tasty at that).
Can Honey Spoil?
Although rare, there are occasions where honey may spoil. This is usually because it has been exposed to moisture or extreme heat.
If moisture gets into the container where you are storing your honey, it can result in fermentation and cause the honey to have a sour taste.
When using honey then, it is always best to use a dry spoon or knife to remove it from its jar. Never place a spoon into a jar of honey after you have eaten from it. This can cause the honey to spoil.
What To Do with Crystallized Honey
As mentioned already, many people believe that honey that has crystallized must be thrown out because it is off. This is not the case, and much honey is wasted because of this incorrect assumption.
Crystallized honey can still be eaten and there are many who like the grainy, gritty texture of it. However, if crystallized honey is not for you, the good news is that you can dissolve the crystals.
The best way to do this is by placing the jar of honey in a pot of hot water and stir the honey until it has returned to a liquid form. It is important to ensure that the water does not get too hot because this can caramelize the sugars in the honey and change its taste.
Another way to dissolve the crystals in honey is to place the amount you want in a dish in the microwave. It is important to use a low temperature setting though so as not to overheat the honey. When using the microwave to dissolve crystals in honey, it is best to do it in stages and stir it in between.
Honey does not expire if stored correctly. It is recommended that sterilized glass jars with airtight lids be used to ensure correct storage of honey.
Honey should not be placed in a refrigerator as this can cause it to go cloudy and crystallize. The best place to store honey is in a pantry at room temperature.
Avoid moisture getting into your honey as this can cause it to ferment and spoil.