Does real honey crystallize?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “does real honey crystallize” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not real honey crystallizes. Moreover, we are going to discuss honey and the different types of crystallization of honey along with the factors that affect the crystallization of honey.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

Does real honey crystallize?

Yes, real honey does crystallize as it is a supersaturated solution. It contains the sugars fructose and glucose in a very large amount that makes it supersaturated. Since it is a supersaturated solution, it has the ability to crystallize if some of the sugars present in its formulation comes out of the solution.

Thus, as long as honey is unheated and is raw and real, it can crystallize. Crystallization does not have any negative impact on the quality of honey. 

The only changes that crystallization brought about in honey are the change in texture and the change in color of honey.

It is also worth mentioning that the process of crystallization of honey preserves the flavor and quality of honey for a long time which prolongs the shelf life of honey.

What is honey?

Honey is a supersaturated solution of the sugars 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. Now when the glucose comes out of the honey, it makes the supersaturated honey into saturated one that is a stable condition. 

And that is the whole process of crystallization of honey. 

But if you do not want your honey to crystallize, you can read how to prevent raw honey from crystallizing here.

What are the different types of crystallization of honey?

A few kinds of honey solidify consistently while the others will be halfway solidified and structure two layers, with the solidified layer on the lower part of the container and fluid on top (owing to the difference between the densities of the two layers). 

Moreover different kinds of honey also vary in the size of the crystal that they form. Some kinds of honey form fine structured crystals while the others form enormous and chunky crystals. 

The faster the honey solidifies, the better the surface will be. it will have a good texture. Furthermore, solidified honey will in general set a lighter/paler tone as compared to the color it had when it was liquid. 

The reason behind this color change is that glucose will in general separate out in the crystals that are dehydrating, and the color of glucose crystals is white. Moreover, the honey with a darker color tone will maintain its brown appearance even after solidification.

What are the factors that affect the crystallization of honey?

Three factors affect the rate of crystallization of honey.

  1. Temperature
  2. Pollen 
  3. Relative concentrations of glucose and fructose

Temperature

The lower the temperature is, the more will be the crystallization of honey. Honey can even crystallize if the temperature surrounding it becomes 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Thus, you can keep honey at a warm temperature to slow down the rate of crystallization.

Pollen

Sometimes pollens of the flowers that honey bees collect nectar from, in order to make honey also find their way to honey. These pollens can act as a preservative in honey but at the same time, it also increases the rate of crystallization of honey.

The relative concentration of glucose and fructose

The higher the glucose content of honey is, the more are the chances of its crystallization as it is glucose that comes out of the solution and forms crystals.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “does real honey crystallize” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not real honey crystallizes. Moreover, we discussed honey and the different types of crystallization of honey along with the factors that affect the crystallization of honey.

Citations

https://blog.beeraw.com/real-raw-honey-crystal

https://www.wired.com/2014/03/crystalized-honey/

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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