How to Store Raw Honey


 Best Way to Store Raw Honey

honey bears
Baby honey bears


Honey Storage Guidelines

Honey is a perfect food– as soon as the bees finish with it.  This amazing natural food doesn’t spoil but keeping it in the best location will preserve the integrity of it for a longer time. These tips on finding the best way to store honey are sure to help you protect your investment.

 

After carefully selecting the perfect jar of raw honey, your first taste exceeds your expectations. Wow, this really tastes great!

But, you can’t eat the whole jar at one time… or at least you probably should not! Even though it is a special treat – remember it is still a sugar.

Chances are you will end up having the jar sitting around for a while. Unless of course you discover all the other wonderful uses for honey.

 

Now, what can you do with that jar of liquid gold to protect it and keep it fresh? 


Does Honey Go Bad?

Honey does not go bad and will last indefinitely if protected from moisture. It may lose color and some flavor. But it will still be safe to eat. The low moisture content, low ph and antibacterial properties prevent spoilage.

However, allowing water or moisture to get into the jar, can cause fermentation and not everyone likes this taste or texture. When this happens, it will smell yeasty . This is part of the process of how mead is made.


Frames of capped honey in the hive.


Raw Honey Storage

Honey is made by bees and what a wonderful story of survival it is! It is the perfect food for long term storage in a beehive. When you purchase honey straight from your local beekeeper – it is called Raw.

Raw food products are in their original form as created in nature. Nothing is added or harmed in the components of the product.

 

Honey can only be called “raw” if it has not been processed, super filtered or heated. But remember, beekeepers do need to strain out huge pieces of wax and other debris from the extraction process. Letting it drip through a sieve under no pressure does no harm.

Each season different flowers may or may not produce the same amount of nectar as in a previous year.  In my apiary, it is not unusual to have one bucket of honey that is very light in color and another very dark.  Flavor and color of honey will vary from season to season and apiary to apiary, as will quantities made by the hive.

Crystallized Honey

What happened? My jar has become solid!  This is a common cry among consumers who do not understand the nature of this natural sugar.

You may also hear the term “turned to sugar” or “candied”. But, it does not mean that anything has been added to this is the natural process of crystallization.

 

Crystallized honey is often thrown out because folks think the honey went bad – what a waste! You can still eat it. In fact, some people love it in the crystallized form. You can even make your own – we call it creamed honey – and the crystals are small and smooth – not gritty. It sticks to biscuits better!



Why does this happen to some jars and not others? The rate of crystallization depends on the nectar sources, honey storage temperature and other variables. A few varieties will never crystallize but most types will do so over a long enough period of time.


Crystallized Honey


If most natural honey “turns to sugar” in time, how can those supermarket bears be so beautiful and clear?  How indeed?

The practices used to create a beautiful product for the grocery shelf are not necessarily kind to our nutritious raw food.

To get a jar of liquid gold to sit on a shelf in a pristine state for months, many large commercial packers use intense filtration. But ultra filtration removes some of the micro-nutrients and pollen too. Heating during processing also changes the honey from raw to processed.

To slow down the process of crystallization, keep your jar of honey in a warm place. Cool temperatures below 70°F speed up the process. The optimum temperature would be about 80F for honey.

Best Container for Honey Storage

The best thing you can do for your honey is to store it in a tightly sealed jar. Keeping it at room temperature or above and in a dark cabinet preserves color and flavor.


In fact, the more light it is exposed to the honey may darken over time, but you'll have eaten before then!

Can You Store Honey in a Honey Pot?

Handmade honey pots are beautiful to use and make great gifts. However, do not leave a large amount of honey sitting out in them as most do not seal. Dust, and sometimes even tiny ants will find that jar of sweetness.

Also, if the jar does not seal – the honey may draw in moisture and ferment  by having too high of a water content. Honey is considered 'hygroscopic" it absorbs moisture.

Honey is acidic. This is one reason it never spoils – bacteria doesn't grow well in it. But this does not mean that you should not take precautions to keep it protected from environmental influences such as dust or humidity.

Because honey can absorb moisture and odors - reusing jars like pickle jars should be only after they are washed thoroughly and aired of scent.

Using large-mouth glass jars, is a great method of storage for long term. You can spoon out as much as you need – even if it crystallizes, you can get every last drop!

There are larger containers (half-gallon) that  will hold a lot of honey but are not too heavy to lift.  Smaller amounts can easily be transferred to  a serving container.

My favorite storage option is glass jars in a kitchen cabinet. Glass allows me to see inside without opening the container. If it is cold and slow to pour, I can put the jar in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.

 I like to store a small jar right on my stove top. And another  in the cabinet above the oven - nice and warm, like we did when I was a kid. Any “tight sealing” jar or container is okay.

 

Should You Store Raw Honey in the Refrigerator?

Is putting raw honey in the refrigerator a good idea? This is a common question asked about storage.

It will not make it last longer or keep it fresher.  But if you have already put your jar in the frig, that’s okay – it is still good.  Just maybe a bit candied!

Storing Honey in the Freezer

Honey can be stored frozen in the comb. Or, you can place liquid honey in a container with room for expansion and then freeze.

Freezing protects the integrity of your raw product. In fact, it can be frozen for several years. When you are ready to use, thaw at room temp in sealed containers.

Use  silicone trays to freeze small portions. A great way to seek relief for sore throat pains or coughs, just pop out a frozen “cube” and put it in hot tea.




How to Store Fresh Honeycomb

Do you enjoy eating honeycomb?  Some folks enjoy eating beeswax with the comb.  It is really sweet but a bit waxy! But first, if you have a piece of comb inside your jar(chunk honey) – it will crystallize faster.  What to do?

Eat it first!  But, what if you have several pieces of comb that you want to save for later. Surprisingly, freezing is a good option. You can wrap the pieces of comb rightly in plastic wrap and freeze.

Recapping the Best Tips for How to Store Honey

  1. keep it in a tight sealing container

  2. store your jar in a dark location

  3. keep in a warm location – it will crystallize slower

 


 


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