Rather than accepting crystallized honey as a unique product, we waste a lot of effort trying to fix it. Some consumers actually dispose of solidified honey, believing it turned or became unsafe to eat. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, clumsy attempts to prevent crystallization, or to re-liquefy solid honey, can do more harm than good. Thats because heat is often the answer to hardened honey, but heat is honeys worst enemy, causing a degradation in flavor, aroma, and nutritional content.

Crystallization is not a chemical change, but simply a physical reordering of the molecules. If you dissolve a bunch of sugar in warm water, suspend a string in the solution, and wait long enough, the sugar will form large hunking crystals along the string. As the water evaporates, the molecules of sugar line up in a way that forms these out-sized crystals that kids call rock candy.

The same thing happens when we granulate sugar, but the process is controlled to assure the crystals are the same size and shape. We dont believe sugar has gone bad when it forms crystals, but somehow we think honey has gone bad when it does the same thing.

Image courtesy of honeybeesuite.com