In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does honey become toxic when heated” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not honey becomes toxic when heated. Moreover, we are going to discuss whether it is safe to cook honey and the association between honey and botulism.
So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.
Does honey become toxic when heated?
So to make the point clear to you, honey does not become toxic when it is heated. There is no doubt that honey will lose its viscous consistency and some of the enzymes, vitamins, and minerals present in its formulation when it is heated but it won’t become toxic and it can’t impact any deleterious effect on your health.
When you heat honey at a high temperature, you can potentially weaken or damage the micronutrients present in its composition, thereby you can destroy some of the nutrients present in honey. But it is worth mentioning here that how much nutrients will get lost depends upon the temperature at which honey is heated and the time duration for which it is heated.
Moreover, we can heat the crystallized honey to get back its original texture but before that, we need to understand the crystallization of honey.
As we know that honey is a supersaturated solution of glucose and fructose that contains more than 70% of the sugars and less than 20% of water present in its formulation that gives it the viscous consistency. Now looking at the percentage of the solute (sugar) in the solvent (water) in the case of honey we know that the honey has more sugar present in its formulation than the normal cases which makes that structure of honey rather unstable and this is the very reason that real honey crystallizes.
Now the sugars that are present in honey are the disaccharide sugars fructose and glucose. Honey contains 30-44% of fructose in its composition while it contains 25-40% of glucose which means that the fructose content of honey is more than its glucose content.
It is the relative concentration of these two sugars that determine the rate at which honey crystallizes. It is worth mentioning that fructose is more soluble as compared to glucose. Therefore the sugar that mainly comes out of the solution to make crystals is glucose.
Now what happens is that glucose comes out of the solution and it begins to form tiny crystals on the surface of honey. If the process of crystallization continues, then more and more glucose crystals will deposit on the surface of honey. When the glucose comes out of the honey, it makes the supersaturated honey into a saturated one that is in a stable condition.
Now you can warm this honey to change its crystallized form into a smooth, silky liquid. But while heating the crystallized honey to get back the original consistency of honey, it should be kept in mind that you should not heat honey to more than 95 degrees Fahrenheit as the temperature above this potentially can destroy the nutritional profile of honey.
Can I cook honey?
So cooking honey can be a bit tricky and difficult as if the temperature goes above 95 degrees Fahrenheit it can mess up the nutrients present in honey. Thus, if you are keeping honey for too long in the oven or grill, it can potentially destroy a lot of micronutrients. Moreover, the taste profile of honey that is cooked for a long time also changes.
So it is not recommended to add honey in doughs or batter that you want to bake, rather what you can do is sprinkle it on the baked goods once they are done baking. But if you still want to cook directly using honey, you can go ahead as the process can destroy nutrients but it won’t have any deleterious health effects.
Honey and botulism
So when it comes to honey, especially unpasteurized honey can have spores of Clostridium Botulinum in it that can cause botulism that is characterized by nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. It can even lead to hospitalization and severe deleterious health implications if not treated on time.
Therefore it is advised that children under 1 year should not be fed on honey. Therefore honey is pasteurized to get rid of such spores. Pasteurized or cooked honey can have a very minor amount of spores present in it, therefore it won’t be able to affect any adult deleteriously. But when it comes to children under 1, their immune system is not strong, therefore it is advised that you should not feed honey or corn syrup to your children under 1.
In this brief guide, we answered the question “does honey become toxic when heated” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not honey becomes toxic when heated. Moreover, we discussed whether it is safe to cook honey and the association between honey and botulism.