How to decrystallize honey: Just add heat (gently)!

Have you ever purchased a fresh jar of honey, and then discovered a few weeks later that it has entered a solid state? Don’t fret – the crystallization is normal, and the honey is still perfectly good. In fact, crystallized honey can be an ingredient of its own, making an excellent spread for toast, rub for chicken, or addition to a cheese plate. If you drop a chunk into your tea or any warm dish, it will dissolve in seconds.

But if you’re like me, and you prefer your honey in its drizzly, viscous form for everyday use, then use this easy fix to soften it up. The key is to add some gentle heat, so that the sugary crystals re-dissolve into a supersaturated solution. Although this can be done in the microwave, I prefer to heat honey lightly on the stove. Too much heat will destroy the fragile aromatic molecules that make good honey so delicious.

I recently bought a glass jar of raw lavender flower honey, which was already 90% crystallized on the store shelf. After a couple of weeks, it looked like this:

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Time to decrystallize!

First, I brought a pot of water to a very light boil. Then I turned off the heat and set the jar of honey in the pot, swirling the jar around in the warm water every few minutes.

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After about fifteen minutes, the jar looked like this:

IMG_5477

…I should have used a taller pot! To get the honey at the top, I re-boiled the water, let it cool a little bit, and laid the jar in the pot at an angle. I rotated and shook the jar every few minutes. Soon, the whole thing was liquified:

IMG_5478

Voilà – Pretty simple!

A few weeks later, the very bottom of my jar has started to re-crystallize. It’s a very gradual process, so I am guessing I won’t need to re-heat the jar again before I use up the honey.

A few notes:

  • The stovetop method only works for honey in glass jars. The plastic bears just can’t handle the heat.
  • Be careful when you remove the jar from the pot – glass can get very hot! Use a glove or potholder if you’re uncertain.

 

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