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Honey storage tips to make it last for 'decades or longer' – and avoid crystallisation

Honey is hard to resist, especially when the silky, golden liquid is being poured over food, but it’s much less enticing when the jar becomes foggy with crystallised clumps.

Some people are adamant about refrigerating their honey, while others swear by storing it in a cool, dark place

However, according to beekeeper and author Dawn Combs, the key to prolonging honey’s shelf life lies in understanding the type of honey you have, as different varieties thrive under different conditions.

Both set and runny honey are prone to crystallising, but this can be easily prevented with some savvy storage techniques.

For raw honey straight from the hive, Dawn suggests keeping it in a consistent temperature range of 18C to 24C, ideally in a cupboard near a stove or oven to replicate the cosy, dim environment of a beehive, thus warding off crystallisation.

The beekeeper added: “Most recommend a cool storage environment because they fear that the honey will darken slightly otherwise.

“Cool storage is a fine choice, but be aware that crystallisation will happen more rapidly in these situations.”

Pasteurised honey undergoes high-temperature treatment to eliminate sugar-tolerant yeasts and prolong its shelf life. Much like the raw varieties, it needs to be stored in a warm, dark location to prevent crystallisation.

That said, if it’s too late and your honey has already formed these unique crystals, it’s not a sign to throw it away.

Contrary to popular belief, crystallisation is not a sign of “bad” or gone off honey. Thicker honey types – or set honey is made purely of honey and is already crystallised.

For this reason, storage methods are entirely different. Regardless of where you choose to store your honey, one non-negotiable factor is the type of container utilised.

Dawn advised that the sweet viscous food substance should always be conserved in an airtight, glass container to steer clear of excess moisture.

This is crucial since honey’s “water-loving sugars” may easily absorb moisture from the air when stocked in plastic containers.

Glass lids especially are pivotal to prolonging the shelf life of honey to the maximum to stop any unwanted yeasts that might affect the taste and consistency.

US beekeeper and author Frank Mortimer agreed with Dawn that jars with sealed lids are the top choice for keeping honey fresh for years.

He claimed that adhering to these storage tips can grant honey “an almost indefinite shelf life” and potentially last “decades or longer”.

Frank reassured honey fans that even when crystallised, the product is safe to eat as it “never spoils”.


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