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How to Permenantly Decrystallize Honey & Prevent Honey from Crystallizing

A spoonful of a product you probably already have in your cabinet can prevent the chemical process that causes crystallized honey- and the same ingredient can decrystallize honey and return it to a smooth runny consistency- even when chilled.

Honey is the only food product that never goes bad, though, if you’ve ever discovered a jar of honey forgotten in the back of a cabinet, you might doubt it based on looks. Aged honey turns to an unappetizing, crystallized mess- making it impossible to pour or use in most food prep.

1 Easy Tip to prevent honey from crystallizing - & fix it if it already has

My Experiments fixing Crystallized Honey

When I saw Alton Brown make simple syrup on Good Eats- on the way explaining the process behind sugar crystallization- it sparked an idea for dealing with the stockpile of crystallized honey I had in my pantry.

In his simple syrup recipe, Alton used a tiny amount of glucose (aka corn syrup) to change the chemistry of his sugar syrup enough that the solution became inhospitable for the formation of sugar crystal molecules.  I began to wonder if the same method that prevents the crystallization in the simple syrup prepared for cocktails and beverages could “fix” all my crystallized honey by decrystallizing the honey.

Old honey crystallizes and turns into a semisolid gritty paste it can be hard to enjoy on your favorite foods

Research: 

Determined to know, I asked a beekeeping friend if adding corn syrup to honey would change the chemical makeup enough to prevent honey from going into the crystallized state overtime. 

Horrified, he began something of a rant about honey purity, corporate marketing, and the shady business of commercial food labeling, so I decided I’d just stay quiet and experiment on my own with fixing the crystallized honey in my cabinet!

Hypothesis: 

Honey crystals can easily be melted with heat- that’s how most people use up their crystallized honey– but I wondered if the same basic chemistry that prevented crystallization of simple syrup could rescue honey that had turned from liquid to a semi-solid state.

Three years after my original test of this hypothesis, I can confirm that this method works to fix crystallilzed honey and prevent re-crystallization when it is returned to storage. I waited three years to see if the honey in my test batch recrystallized, and I can confirm the test was a success: this method for fixing crystallized honey prevents recrystalization.  Below, I demonstrate this method step by step.

Products linked below have been researched and tested on this project. As an amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Steps to Fix and Stabilize Crystallized Honey

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • Honey – either already crystallized honey or a fresher batch of liquid honey that you want to prevent from crystallizing in storage.
  • Corn Syrup
You just need to ingredients to fix crystallized honey: corn syrup and crystallized honey

STEP 1. Melt Existing Honey Crystals

Scoop crystallized honey into a clean saucepan.

fixing crystallized honey and preventing recrystallization

Over medium-low heat, warm the honey, stirring occasionally, until the heat breaks up the sugar crystals and the honey is a smooth liquid.

Most people fix crystallized honey by warming, but warming is just the first step in this tutorial to permanently fix crystallized honey

STEP 2. Add Corn Syrup to Warm Honey

Add a small amount of corn syrup to the warmed honey. (No exact measurement required. I use about 2-3 tablespoons of corn syrup to 1 cup of honey).

Only a small amount of corn syrup is required to disrupt the crystallization process of sugar.  This small amount of corn syrup should make no noticeable change to the flavor of the honey.

Stir to combine

At the small amount of corn syrup to disrupt the formation of crystals

You can add fresh honey if you’d like to prevent future crystallization of fresh honey. When I go through these steps with old crystallized honey, I try to save myself some future work by adding fresh honey to the batch- to keep it from later crystallizing.

Adding fresh honey to my batch to prevent the new batch from crystallizing

Step 3: Decant into Clean Dry Jars 

Pour honey into a clean jar.

If you’re processing a large amount of honey, try pouring a portion of the honey into a jar filled with fresh herbs like sage or rosemary. Left undisturbed for several weeks, the honey will preserve the herbs and the herbs will infuse intense flavor into the honey. Warm and strain before serving with rustic bread, cheese, or fruit.
When finished, poor the mixture into a clean dry jar

Then seal and enjoy! Three steps and one extra ingredient is all it takes to restore crystallized honey to a viscous liquid state and change the chemical makeup enough to prevent crystallization, but not so much that it changes the flavor.

This reprocessed honey will last for years without re-crystallizing

Crystallized Honey Safety

Crystallized honey is still safe to eat out of the jar or to cook with – in fact, many markets around the world feature crystallized honey as a delicacy or as part of a sweet candy-like treat.

Eating crystallized honey won’t make you sick unless the honey is contaminated with something else- for example, by unsanitary packaging processes or from food or soiled utensils being dipped into the container of honey before it began to crystallize.

Even though crystallized honey is safe to eat, that doesn’t mean that all crystallized honey is always safe to eat: use your eyes, nose, and tastebuds to check for signs of the honey might be bad.

Signs that your honey has gone bad due to contamination might include:

  • a foul odor,
  • fuzzy or black spots indicating molded or rotting particles, or
  • a film covering the surface of your honey.

If you notice that your honey has a bad smell or any other concerning signs, it’s a good idea to toss (or compost!) the honey rather than risk becoming ill.

How to decrystallize honey in a microwave

You can definitely use your microwave to decrystallize honey using the process described in this blog post. Because the high sugar content means honey heat superhot super quickly in the microwave, you’ll want to remove the crystallized honey from plastic packaging before microwaving.

To decrystallize honey in the microwave, place your plastic container of honey in a bowl of warm water for 3 to 5 minutes, until the honey crystals soften. Next, place your honey and a small amount of corn syrup in a glass bowl or measuring cup. Place in the microwave and heat until the honey corn syrup mixture is warm and fluid. Remove from the microwave, stir, and pour back into your plastic honey jar.

If this tutorial saved you the expense of buying fresh honey, would you consider saying thanks by becoming a $1 sponsor to help keep this website operating?
 

1 Easy Tip to prevent honey from crystallizing - & fix it if it already has

grammiegrammie

Monday 11th of February 2019

So my honey that never crystalizes is probably just crappy corn syrup!!

Glenna

Friday 30th of March 2018

Your helpfulness will save us from giving up and throwing out our crystalized honey.

Tom

Tuesday 23rd of January 2018

Thank you for trying this out and posting. I am trying it as I type.

jrsmith

Friday 20th of October 2017

You know that it was the heating that un-crystallized the honey, not the corn syrup, right?

Lindsayanne

Friday 20th of October 2017

Thanks for your comment. The heating process breaks down the crystals, the second step of adding corn syrup prevents the honey from recrystallizing later. For more info on why it works, check out Alton Brown's Serious Eats episode about making simple syrup.