Learn how to soften honey, and you will never throw it away again!
Has your honey crystallized? Fear not- it is a natural occurrence. But I have four easy methods to bring it back to pourable.
We’ve all been frustrated trying to get rock-hard honey out of the jar. Now, you can use honey in its crystallized form because it doesn’t spoil.
Pourable honey is just so much better and easier to use. Fortunately, softening it is a quick and easy process.
Read on to discover simple ways to soften honey without compromising its quality or taste.
How to Soften Honey
There are 4 easy ways to soften honey! And 3 of the 4 do not require any special equipment.
1. Hot Water Bath Method
This is my preferred method.
This is how to do it:
- Fill a bowl or sink with warm water. (Or you can heat a water-filled saucepan over low heat until it simmers.)
- Place the honey container in the warm water. Make sure the water level is below the lid.
- Let the honey sit in the warm water for 5-10 minutes or until it softens.
- Stir the honey occasionally to help distribute the heat and promote even softening.
As it sits, the warm water envelops the container.
This gradually raises the temperature of the honey. The heat changes the structure of the sugar crystals. So, they return to their liquid form.
2. Microwave Method
This is the fastest method. But it requires a more hands-on approach.
Here is how you do it:
- Transfer the solidified honey to a microwave-safe container with a microwaveable lid.
- Microwave the honey in 20-30-second intervals at low power or defrost mode.
- Stir the honey between intervals. This helps distribute the heat and break up the solidified portions.
Be cautious not to overheat the honey because overheating can affect its taste and quality.
3. Sous Vide Method
I love this method because you can set it and forget it. But it requires a sous vide machine.
This is how to do it:
- Set the sous vide to a temperature between 95°Fahrenheit and 110°Fahrenheit.
- Place the container of solidified honey in the water bath.
- Allow the honey container to sit for 1-2 hours or until it softens.
The gentle and consistent heat from the water bath will slowly melt the solidified honey. And it will not compromise its quality.
4. Sunlight Method
This is another fantastic, hands-off method. But it is the slowest method. And it requires some good weather.
Here is how to do it:
- On a sunny day, place the container of solidified honey in direct sunlight.
- Store it in the sunlight until it softens.
- (You may have to move the jar around to the sunniest places in your home.)
The heat from the sun will gradually warm the honey and soften it. This method is fabulous because you can do it with multiple jars.
Just note that it may take several hours or even a few days. Everything depends on the sunlight’s intensity and the consistency of the honey.
Why Does Honey Harden or Crystallize?
Crystallization is a natural process that all honey will undergo with time.
This is a sign that you have a pure, unprocessed product. And no, your honey has not gone bad. Even if it is thick and cloudy.
Honey’s chemical makeup is mostly glucose, fructose, and a little water. But scientists consider it a supersaturated solution.
This means there is not enough water to keep the sugars permanently dissolved. So, they “escape.” This is true for the glucose molecules, in particular.
Over time, these sugar molecules bond together, forming crystals. So, you end up with thick and grainy honey.
But even that depends on the chemical makeup of the honey you have. It will crystallize more easily if it contains more glucose.
Typically, raw (unprocessed) honey contains more glucose. The stuff from the bears is processed and has more fructose. Both can crystallize.
The good news is that you can re-liquify your honey. Use one of the four methods above.
And remember that crystallization is proof of your honey’s purity and naturalness.
Is It Safe to Use Hardened Honey?
Yes, it is safe to use hardened honey. Honey crystallizes over time, especially if it’s raw and unpasteurized.
To make hardened honey pourable again, you can warm it up.
Be cautious not to overheat the honey. Excessive heat can destroy its beneficial enzymes and antioxidants.
Important Note: Experts do not recommend giving honey to infants under one year old.
- This is because honey can sometimes contain spores of Clostridium botulinum. This can cause infant botulism, a rare (but potentially dangerous) illness in babies.
How to Keep Honey From Hardening
Follow these tips to keep your honey soft for as long as possible.
- Store it properly. Store honey in a well-sealed container at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and heat.
- Exposure to air and temperature fluctuations can speed up the crystallization process.
- Avoid moisture. Keep the container and the area around it dry. Moisture can introduce water into the honey, which can promote crystallization.
- Use a warmer. Is your honey already hardening? You can warm it to soften any sugar crystals before storing it.
- Follow any of the methods in this article. I prefer the water bath method.
- Stir it. Regularly stirring your honey can help delay crystals forming. This helps to distribute any existing crystals throughout.
- This prevents them from clumping together.
- Filter it. Filter honey through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. This will remove any small crystal particles and impurities, resulting in a smoother texture.
- Use it in one of these delicious honey recipes! The more you use your honey, the less time it has to crystallize.
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