October 23, 2013

Reclaiming Crystallized Honey


Back when we lived in Michigan, a teen boy in our homeschool group was a beekeeper. I bought raw honey from him in pint canning jars, and I liked the fact that not only was I getting local honey, but I was also supporting a cottage industry.


It's been harder to find a source of local honey here in Oklahoma. The one man I found on the outskirts of town has since moved. When I find someone selling honey at a farmers market or a local festival, I buy several jars.

Raw local honey is a wonderful medicine, used to treat everything from open wounds to sore throats. Some believe that eating raw, local honey will help relieve allergies. My father took a daily dose of honey and apple cider vinegar to relieve his arthritis pain.

Commercial honey - the kind you buy in the grocery store, maybe in that cute bear-shaped plastic bottle - is mostly honey-flavored corn syrup nowadays. According to research by Food Safety News, up to 75% of the honey purchased in the United States contains no trace of pollen. This honey has been ultra-filtered to remove all pollen, and honey without pollen isn't true honey. This processed honey lasts longer on the shelves without crystallizing.


The last couple of jars I've bought have crystallized rapidly in my cupboard. I finally found a beekeeper online and asked him about it, and found out that some types of pollen will cause crystallization more rapidly than other types, but also that plastic jars will allow air into the honey and cause it to form crystals. Sure enough, although the jar in my cupboard looked like a glass canning jar, when I tapped it with a fingernail, I realized it was plastic.

All is not lost though - when honey is gently warmed it will liquefy, and if transferred to a glass jar it will maintain its liquid state better than in a plastic jar.


Set the jar of crystallized honey in a pan of warm water and turn the burner on Low. (DO NOT use a plastic jar for this! If your crystallized honey is in a plastic jar, please spoon it into a glass jar and then warm it gently as directed.)

Don't allow the honey to boil. Raw honey is a living thing, just like raw milk. Pasteurized milk is not, and neither is cooked honey. Heating it to a high temperature will kill the very qualities that make raw honey so beneficial, so just warm it up enough to dissolve the crystals.


When the honey has turned to liquid, pour into a glass jar. It took about half an hour to re-liquefy my half-full quart jar of honey. It is now in a real glass jar on my shelf, ready to use.



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27 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this method for recrystallizing honey. I have encountered this problem in the past and good honey has gone to waste. Now I can apply your method in the future. I enjoyed reading your lovely and informative blog.

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  2. I'm so glad you're able to find honey at your market now and then. I haven't found a good source near me in Australia yet, but I hope to soon. :-) It is such a healing thing. :-)

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  3. Hi Deborah, you aren't the only one who has thrown out some honey in the past, but now we know how to "fix it". Thank you so much for stopping by.

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  4. Robbie Krista, I hope you are able to find a source of honey near you soon. You live in such a beautiful place! Thank you for visiting.

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  5. Oh my goodness, ladies! DON'T throw out crystalized honey. It still has all it's good for you properties even though it has crystallized. You can just spoon it up and put it into whatever you were going to use it for or just eat it straight from the spoon! Nothing has gone bad and the poor bees have to work so hard to make just one teaspoon of this golden elixir that we can't waste even a drop :)

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  6. Oh my goodness, ladies. DON'T throw out honey that has crystalized...it still has the same good for you properties that you love honey for just in a solid form. You can use it in the same ways that you normally would, I like it just by the spoonful. I am a beekeeper in Alabama in the USA and we harvest gallons of honey each year. It takes the bees so much energy to make just one spoonful of this precious elixir that we can't waste even a drop. So try this method of melting it (just watch the temp) or just eat it crystalized, it's still great!

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  7. Thank you for sharing this information for those who didn't already know about it. It is my understanding that only real, pure honey crystalizes (self-storage mode), so count your blessings that you have good honey. The fake honey from grocery stores won't crystalize. I was so excited when one grocery store brand that I bought crystalized because I knew I'd gotten lucky and found real honey, it was Miller Honey (not sure if it is raw).

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  8. Sweetdonna, you are so right! I've bent several spoons digging that precious thick crystallized honey out of the jar.

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  9. Sherrie, that's my understanding too, that only real honey will crystallize. You were really blessed to find a brand of real honey from the grocery store.

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  10. Very good to know! I actually have a 1/4 jar of raw honey that I am having the same issue with. I need to try this.

    Thanks for linking up to Natural Living Monday!

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  11. Great tips! Thank you! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  12. That's really good to know, since we love and use a lot of honey in our home - I am delighted that you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,
    Kathy

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  13. We love natural, raw honey and is the only kind we buy - so thank you for this informative tip, Kathi!

    xoxo laurie

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  14. You're welcome, Laurie. Thank you for stopping by.

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  15. Anonymous10:39 AM

    You can also take the lid off the glass jar and stick it in the microwave to de-crystallize it!

    Cate <><

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  16. Yes, you can, but I try to avoid using the microwave. :-)

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  17. DO NOT heat it in the microwave. That kills all the beneficial properties of honey

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    1. You're right, Cathy. That's why we buy raw honey!

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  18. I have heated up my store bought honey in the past, in the microwave (before there was a time in which I knew of how horrible the stuff is, ha!). But thank-you for the tip on not overheating the raw honey- very good to know! Thanks so much :) And congrats on your feature over at the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Erin
    http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Erin. I'm glad you stopped by.

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  19. My husband and I were discussing raw honey the other day. He found a local store in our town that has it. He told me, "Now you can stop buying that honey flavored syrup at the grocery store!" LOL Thanks for linking up to Traffic Jam Weekend, Kathi.

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  20. Yes, sadly, store honey is mostly flavored corn syrup. :-(

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  21. Love this tip, But how long does raw honey last? I've heard it never goes bad.

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  22. Great tip, but how long does raw honey last? I was told it never goes bad.

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  23. That's what I've been told as well, Cindy. As long as no bacteria is introduced (such as putting a dirty spoon back into the jar), honey should last forever.

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  24. Valerie10:33 AM

    Great way to save that honey!
    A funny side note... I was born & raised in Michigan & know true Michigan honey. I moved to Oklahoma for 4 years & was lucky enough to have found a source there. We have now planted our roots in Kansas. Hopefully we can find a supplier soon!

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  25. Valerie, that sounds kind of familiar: Michigan to Oklahoma. :-) I hope you can find some raw Kansas honey soon.

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