Can Honey Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze honey. But, ask yourself why you’d want to. The definition of the word “freeze” doesn’t lend itself to honey, though. This is purely down to the lack of water content in honey. So, although there are some benefits to storing honey in a freezer, you actually freeze it like you can pure water.
Is It Possible To Freeze Honey?
No, not really. This is because honey is a substance rich in saccharine — there’s a higher sugar content than the water it’s dissolved in. Instead, it becomes more viscous rather than frozen as it gets colder.
Despite honey not being able to freeze, there’s nothing stopping you from putting it in your freezer. In fact, there are some benefits to doing so:
- Prevents the honey from crystallizing
- Retains the fresh taste
- Assurance of golden coloring
- Freezing honeycombs kill wax moths
Is It Not Better to Store Honey in an Air-Tight Container?
In the case of maintaining its freshness and nutritional content, it’s best kept in an air-tight vessel at room, or lower, temperature with low humidity.
That’s one way to store honey, but it’s not always the desirable way. Here’s why — when honey is kept at room temperature, it crystallizes. This makes the honey gritty and enjoyable, which isn’t the desired result for a beekeeper that’s looking to sell fresh honey.
Another reason for storing honey in a container is not enough to maintain a proper seal from moisture and microorganisms. If the container is exposed, the honey will crystallize and spoil or ferment.
Thus, this chain of events will cause the honey to change its flavor. This will bad when it’s your honey blend at stake — one flavor could taste more pungent than the rest because of aging.
Why Is It Better to Store Honey in Your Freezer?
Putting honey in the freezer or a very cool environment is one of the best ways to keep it fresh. When stored in a freezer, the honey doesn’t crystallize, unlike storing it in just an air-tight container at room temperature or a refrigerator. The refrigerator can even cause the honey to crystallize much faster than when it’s just in an air-tight container.
It’s best to leave the air-tight honey container outside until you can store in a freezer. Also, with the air-tight container stored in a freezer, changes in flavor and the texture of the honey won’t occur.
It’s best for the air-tight container to be glass rather than plastic. The reason is that plastic lets in the flavors of all other items kept in the freezer. If it’s not other flavors, it’s the freezer odor that’ll affect the taste.
What’s the Freezing Point for Fresh Honey?
A substance such as honey is very viscous — it’s thick and sluggish with a decrease in temperature. Once the temperature hits -4 degrees Fahrenheit, it’ll appear solid but will still flow at a very low rate. The honey then becomes a brittle substance as the temperature hits -43.6 degrees Fahrenheit and plummets down to -59.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower temperature after that will cause the honey to take a glassy amorphous form that’s non-crystalline.
The freezers used by beekeepers and consumers are suitable for keeping honey fresh for a very long time. This is because most of these freezers maintain a temperature between -24.8 and -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Freeze Honey
Step 1: Use an Air-Tight Container
Extract honey from the honeycomb into a jar or bottle. Leave one-inch of space between the lid and the honey so the honey can have room for expansion. The lid must be air-tight to prevent fermentation and oxidation of the components of honey, which keeps it fresh.
Step 2: Check for Spills and Bag It
Once you’ve closed the lid on the glass or plastic container, get a piece of cloth and then dip it into warm water so you can clean off the honey spills on the container. After cleaning, make sure the container is dry.
The next thing to do is put the honey container within a bag — a freezer-safe resealable bag. This helps to prevent new odors in the freezer from absorbing into the honey containers and also prevents leaking containers from making a mess.
Step 3: Set the Right Temperature
The final step is to place the honey containers into the freezer and set the freezer at an appropriate temperature for storing the honey, which is usually between -24.8 and -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note: This method of freezing honey can be practiced by both consumers and beekeepers.
How to Thaw Frozen Honey
There are two methods for thawing honey:
- Microwave: Put the glass jar of frozen honey into the microwave for heating. Beware as microwaves vary in terms of heat intensities — some could thaw it, and others could overcook it. To be safe, try microwaving the honey for 30 seconds at a time.
- Warm water: Another method is to place the honey container into a pot of warm water. Don’t use boiling water since this could crack the glass.
Can You Freeze Honey in a Honeycomb?
Yes, it’s possible to freeze honey within a frame without the risk of damaging it. This is so because honey has very little moisture to expand out of the frame — unless the frame was uncapped before freezing.
Beekeepers practice this way of freezing honey for two reasons:
- Pest control
A beekeeper may not decide to extract honey at harvest time. So the safest bet is to freeze the honeycomb or frames. Once frozen, the honey within the comb will remain intact and safe for easy extraction on harvest day.
Another reason to freeze honey is to exterminate wax moths in the honeycombs. Freezing the honeycombs will exterminate all moths, their larvae and eggs. This benefits the sale of un-harvested honeycombs.
Just like most farm products, honey’s also preserved through freezing, even though it can’t be officially frozen due to its low moisture content. So, you can simply put your jar of honey in your freezer, with no fear of it going bad as milk does.
As a beekeeper, freezing honey is crucial to selling high-quality honey. Controlling pests such as wax moths is another benefit when freezing the honeycombs directly. This, in turn, makes the sale of unextracted honey a much simpler process.