We are often asked about the best way to store raw honey so here's a handy guide ranging from which container to use, to the ideal temperature and shelf life. As raw honey is such precious substance this is how to take care of it and maintain its natural goodness.
A reminder that these tips apply to raw honey, not the commercial stuff usually found on your supermarket shelves. Raw honey is special because it is pure, unadulterated, and comes straight from the beehive to your kitchen. It is unpasteurised, chemical and antibiotic free and full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and energy-boosting carbohydrates. It is super easy to store to retain its healing properties over a long period of time, even without preservatives. Raw honey will keep virtually indefinitely – it’s been found stored in Egyptian tombs and is absolutely fine to eat - but it's important to store it properly to preserve its taste, texture and quality. So here’s our guide to retaining this beautiful product in all its glory.
Always store honey at room temperature, or depending on where you are in the world. The ideal temperature range is 10-21'C ( 50 - 70' F) and higher temperatures are not advised. Even after opening, you do not have to refrigerate raw honey but do avoid it sitting in fluctuating heat, for example, next to ovens or in direct sunlight as this can cause the health-promoting properties to deteriorate.
Glass jars are the best to store your honey, plastic can allow your honey to lose natural water content or even leech chemicals into it. Keeping your honey in the original container that you bought it in is recommended, and after use, make sure the lid is on tight so moisture and air and odours can’t sneak in. Bacteria shouldn’t grow easily, but improperly sealed containers could allow moisture in on top of the natural water content. If water is allowed to evaporate then it can also crystallise faster, so make sure the container is airtight. Stainless steel containers are an option, but always check they are stainless steel as other metals are not so reliable and can even contaminate the honey.
No, honey does not go bad. 100% pure, undiluted, honey can withstand the test of time and will stay good indefinitely! Most honey will eventually crystallize which means it becomes more solid and grainy in texture. This is a natural process for honey and is a good sign it is a quality honey. In fact, if your honey doesn’t crystallise, this is an indicator that it has been pasteurised and processed with the pollen, goodness and flavour being stripped from it. Crystallisation is a sign that your honey is pure and raw.
Honey stored in sealed containers can remain stable for decades and even longer. However, honey is susceptible to physical and chemical changes during storage; it tends to darken and lose its aroma and flavour, a shelf life of two years is usually recommended, but properly stored honey can retain its quality for far longer than that.
You shouldn't need to refrigerate your honey because it is best kept at room temperature, it may also go hard or thicken in texture in the fridge. However, raw honey possesses natural moisture so if it isn't stored in the right conditions, yeast can develop over time and this can lead to fermentation. Some manufacturers pasteurise their honey to kill any yeast cells but this also kills off the natural healing properties too. Raw honey that is runny and requires storage over a long period of time could be stored in the fridge to prevent any possible fermentation and change of taste, but overall, you shouldn’t need to refrigerate.
Left on the shelf or in your cupboard for a few months, raw honey will eventually crystallise. While this process is normal it may be something you prefer to avoid. To prevent crystallisation, you can store honey in the freezer. You will need a container with a little extra room, as honey will expand slightly when frozen. One tip is to use an ice cube tray to freeze honey (you can store the frozen cubes to a bag afterwards). This way, when you need honey, you can thaw out one cube at a time. Freezing protects the integrity of your raw honey and it can remain frozen for years. When you are ready, thaw the honey at room temperature in sealed containers. Do not thaw honey in the refrigerator as you need it to come to room temperature quickly.
Yes, absolutely, but if you prefer a smooth, liquid texture to your honey experience then take the lid off the jar, set it in a saucepan of warm water (not boiling to retain its health properties). It will slowly regain its more liquid consistency in a few minutes and you haven't lost any of the natural goodness. Alternatively, you could spread the grainy honey on hot toast and the granules will simply melt away deliciously.
Keep the lid on tight to retain the water content and protect from contamination. Wipe off any bits of food, like toast crumbs, and any drizzles of honey so it doesn’t attract intruders, such as ants. Keep out of direct sunlight by a window, a darker place like a pantry or cupboard is better for storage.
Let us know how you store honey and if you have any questions, send them our way and we will do our best to answer them for you.
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