Just How Long Does Honey Last?


Runny Honey

One of the most common question people have as it relates to food is how long it lasts. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to eat food that has spoiled and tastes bad. To that end, if you have ever wondered how long does honey last for, here is your answer: Honey is one of very few food items that will never spoil – provided it is stored correctly.

Does Honey Need to be Refrigerated?

Honey is best kept at room temperature, but it can be frozen if required. However, because it does not have a use-by date or a best-before date, it is not necessary to freeze it unless you have a large batch and have run out of storage space anywhere else except the freezer!

Nonetheless, it is not recommended to store honey in a refrigerator because the cool temperature will cause the honey to crystalize much quicker (see further down about crystallized honey).

How Should Honey be Stored?

Honey could potentially last forever; the only issues you are likely to see are a slight change in its color or some crystallization. Because it is antibacterial and has a pH of between 3.26 and 4.48, bacteria and fungus will not form in honey. However, it should be noted that if moisture gets into the stored honey, it could result in fermentation, which can cause the honey to taste sour.

When storing honey, it is best to keep it in a sealed container and not allow it to be contaminated by water or other substances that could encourage the growth of mold. If you have bought commercial honey, keep it in the container in which it came; if you have harvested honey from a hive, store it in a glass jar that has been sterilized and fully dried. Try to keep your honey at room temperature in a pantry, away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Crystallized honey
Crystallized honey

Can You Eat Crystallized Honey?

Crystallized honey is perfectly safe to eat. It will have a grainier texture than regular honey, but it is still fine to consume. If you do not like the texture of crystallized honey, you can place the jar in a pot of warm water to dissolve the crystals. Alternatively, you can put the honey into the microwave on a low heat for 20-30 seconds and stir it when it comes out. If there are still crystals, repeat the process.

Does Honey Last for Thousands of Years?

As already mentioned, honey will potentially last forever if stored properly. But how do we know this?

For one thing, archaeologists in Egypt unearthed honey that they dated at 3,000 years old. The honey was still edible. The reason for this is the fact that honey is very high in sugar and low in water content, which means that bacteria cannot survive on it. Microbes are also restricted from growing on honey thanks to the fact that it contains small amounts hydrogen peroxide.

How to Tell if Honey is Bad?

Honey does not spoil under normal conditions unless it is contaminated by moisture. This can happen if the honey is not stored properly. It is best to use glass to store honey instead of plastic or metal containers because these can cause the honey to oxidize. Be sure to use an air-tight container to prevent excess moisture getting into the honey, which can result in fermentation and spoiled honey.

It is easy to tell when honey is bad because it has a sour taste.

Summary

The good news for honey lovers is that honey is a food that will never expire when stored correctly. Although it can change color and texture, honey will rarely spoil. Spoilage of honey will only occur if moisture gets in and results in fermentation.

Honey should be stored at room temperature and kept away from heat sources and direct sunlight. It is not recommended to store honey in the fridge because this can speed up crystallization.


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Anthony

Anthony is a content creator by profession but beekeeping is one of his great passions.

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