Here’s a little story from our annual Bee Weekend event this past April. A beekeeping customer shared with us that he had two jars of honey in his kitchen, each from a different hive. One had started to crystallize, but the other hadn’t. He was baffled and asked if we had any idea why. We did have guess, involving a bit of food science:
Honey crystallization is totally normal, as honey is an oversaturated sugar solution containing two main naturally occuring sugars: fructose and glucose. The glucose is what crystallizes, so the higher the glucose content, the faster the honey can tend to crystallize. As demonstrated by our beekeeper friend, glucose content can vary even from hive to hive!
Other causes of crystallization can be the source of the nectar collected by the bees, as well as storage temperatures. For example, honeys like orange blossom and tupelo are higher in fructose and tend not to crystallize, while a honey like our Montana white clover is higher in glucose and may crystallize more easily.
The bottom line is: nothin’ wrong with crystallized honey! (Actually, we like it: makes it easier to eat it by the spoonful! If you do too, you might love our creamed honey, which has been whipped into a wonderful spreadable texture.) If you prefer your honey in a liquid state, you can return it to its liquid state with some GENTLE heating (think placing the jar in a bowl of warm water or on very low heat in a double boiler).
Looking for more crystalized honey tips? Check out this blog post on crystalized honey.