Should You Put Honey in The Fridge?
Honey is, no doubt, a staple in many kitchens. Many of us love it not only for its sweetness but also because of the many health benefits it provides. However, buying it in little amounts daily can be a tough task. You can even easily forget it.
There’s some confusion as to whether you should refrigerate honey or not. You’ve no doubt noticed that it seems to last forever. However, sometimes, it does crystallize. Even so, this doesn’t mean that it’s off or unusable any longer. So, does refrigeration honey prolong its shelf life or shorten it?
Storing Honey the Right Way
When it comes to storing honey, there’s nothing much to worry about it since you don’t need to provide special conditions. Honey never goes bad, so long as you keep it in the right place. It’s one of the easiest foodstuffs to store since, once opened, oxidation isn’t an issue.
To keep the quality of your honey uncompromised, you need to store your honey in a tightly sealed container. Most importantly, keep it away from direct sunlight as it can cause darkening as well as subtle flavor changes. Ideally, a cool place is perfect for the safe storage of your honey.
Regarding the containers for storage, it’s good to use a glass jar or any plastic that’s safe for storing food. You should, however, note that metallic containers aren’t as good since they can rust. You should thus avoid using them if you want your honey to last a long time.
You can safely store your honey using the container that you bought it in.
Facts About Refrigerating Honey
You should not refrigerate honey. Cooler temperatures will make it solidify, and you might have to keep warming it whenever you want to use it. Besides, frozen honey forms a semi-solid mass that makes its use a bit difficult.
If your intention to refrigerate it is because of the fear of bacteria, then you’re mistaken. Bacteria do not attack honey due to its acidity or lower pH which inhibits bacterial activity. Therefore, any bacteria or other microorganisms that often cause food spoilage won’t survive in the presence of honey.
How Long Can I Store My Honey?
Due to the high concentration of sugars in honey, its shelf life is longer than you might imagine. If you keep it in the right container and under the right conditions, you can store it indefinitely. That’s what sets it different from all other foods that often have a prescribed shelf life.
You should, however, note that the shelf life of your stored honey depends on many other factors outside your storage conditions. For instance, different manufacturers have different ways of processing their honey. Some do it well and produce high-quality honey.
On the other hand, those that don’t and that adulter their honey will produce higher yields and reduce their costs but produce a lower quality product. This will cause it to either crystallize faster, contain microbes and even ferment.
If you want to be buying honey in large amounts, you need to get reliable sellers known for high-quality products. With that and good storage practices, you will never worry about your honey getting spoiled over time.
Why Does Honey Crystallize?
Some people tend to throw away crystallized honey. Honey crystallization is not in any way, a sign of spoilage. What you ought to do is to take back your honey to the liquid state by gently warming it — 30 seconds in a microwave or in a bowl of warm water.
Honey can crystallize for two reasons:
- Pollen count: If it’s raw honey, the chances are that it’s high in pollen. Such honey crystallizes faster.
- Low temperature: When the temperature gets low, the water separates from glucose in the honey, and, in the process, it crystallizes.
Why You Should Keep Honey Away From a Warm Area
Just as cool temperatures aren’t good for honey, neither is keeping it in a warm area recommended. Excessive warmth or heat can interfere with its viscosity. Honey contains moisture, and any slight rise in temperatures beyond certain levels will make it lose its moisture, hence affecting its quality.
A warm area is also not good for honey since it affects enzymes contained in it. Notable enzymes in honey include diastase, invertase and glucose oxidase. The presence of these enzymes is what makes honey good food, especially health-wise.
Storing honey in a refrigerator will solidify your honey and make it harder to use. Although there’s no harm in doing this, it’s not an ideal condition for consumption. Ideal storage conditions are in a glass jar at room temperature out of direct sunlight. If you ensure these conditions exist, then you can store your honey for as long as you want. Always remember to avoid temperature extremes.