This time of year as our honey starts to crystallise or goes candish a lot of people ask me why this is occurring, hence the reason for this post. Honey is made up of sugars found in the nectar of flowers, minerals, acids and proteins. All this is dissolved in around 15-18% water. Due to the high content of sugar to water these sugars can not stay dissolved in the honey and so, especially during winter, they start to form crystals. It is mainly the glucose which behaves in this manner and hence your honey is what most people called Crystallised or Candied. Other conditions can also increase the rate of how fast your honey will crystallise. For example, if you store your honey in the fridge it will increase the rate. Also, another factor on how your honey will behave is dependent on the source of the nectar.
Tea-tree can crystallise even during summer, but a honey mainly comprised of yellow box can take years to start this process. Do not worry about your honey going like this, it is a natural process. A classic example of this is when they found jars of honey in Egyptian tombs, when these jars were inspected they found the honey had crystallised but it still was perfect to eat. Those Pharaohs knew when they were on to a good thing. People have got a bit used to the rubbish that has been sold in the supermarket and I have even have one person suggest to me that the honey was going off. Quite the opposite, it is a good sign to see this occur in your honey, one can see how natural and pure the honey is. The crystals will bind to all the natural parts of the honey including the pollen and it’s this which aids the process.
Natural honey like this is the kind our grandparents used to have as a matter of course, you’d find a jar of thick spreadable honey in their pantry and it was fantastic on toast or crumpets. It’s honey as it’s meant to be… and honey that you will not find easily in shops or supermarkets these days.
Now what ever you do, please do not throw out your honey when it starts to crystallise! I know plenty of people who love their honey this way for eating or cooking with – it’s so easy to measure your honey for a recipe when it’s in this form. If you’re wanting to get the honey back to a liquid state you can easily stand the container in some warm water or place it in a nice sunny spot. Finally, honey will never go off. Yes, that is correct, will never go off. The only thing your honey will do is start fermenting if you get a lot of water into it. When honey ferments and you get the combination right it is quite a pleasant drink, known as Honey Mead.
Here is a link to a recipe that we have done many times with great results. There are also many books dedicated to the subject of making