Food and Nutrition

Crystallized Honey Is Safe to Eat But Isn’t Super Appealing—Here’s How to Rehab It

Allie Flinn

Photo: Getty Images / Betsie Van der Meer
TIL that honey literally never expires. Seriously. Archaeologists dug up 5,500-year-old honey and it was still edible. That means even the old, half-empty jar of honey you found in your pantry, hidden behind a box of raisins (why?) and an empty box of crackers, is still fully edible, even if it’s crystallized.

In fact, crystallization is a natural process for honey, says Ted Dennard, founder, president, and head beekeeper of Savannah Bee Company. “It does not mean that the honey has been adulterated or had sugar added. All honeys have different sugar compositions—some of them granulate very quickly, some of them very slowly or not at all, rarely,” he explains.

That said, there are a couple of factors that can speed up the crystallization process: “If there is something inside the honey that gives the crystal a place to grow, for example some kind of spur off of the plastic or some solid material within the honey, that can cause crystallization to start. Once it begins, it keeps going,” Dennard says. The temperature you store honey at can also affect the pace of this process—he says temperatures around 57 degrees Fahrenheit makes honey crystallize faster.

Dennard adds that crystallized honey is the way most people in the world eat honey. In fact, one of Savannah Bee Company’s best-selling products is Whipped Honey ($7), which is made by controlling crystallization to create a honey that has a creamy, spreadable texture similar to peanut butter. If crystallized honey isn’t your jam, however, and you want to return it to its liquid form, Dennard says to gently heat it up. “The best way to do that is in a double boiler with warm water around 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit,” he explains. Though running it under warm water will do the trick in a pinch. Be (bee?) patient and let it completely liquefy—any crystals that are left behind provide a foundation for other crystals to grow back, he adds.

Here’s everything to know about honey—and all the other forms of sugar out there:

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