Have you ever noticed your organic raw honey looking a little hard, grainy and lumpy? Before you throw it out, your honey is not bad, it’s just changing! When honey changes from liquid to a semi-solid state, is called crystallised honey - and it’s totally natural. Those little lumps or white flecks you see are a sign that your honey is as close to natural as possible – in fact, honey will even crystallise when it's still in the hive.
There are three things that make honey likely to crystallise:
- The ratio of glucose and fructose in the honey
When honey crystallises, it is still as nutritious and sweet as ever! In fact, the crystals prove that your honey is high quality and hasn’t been processed. Raw & unfiltered honey is more likely to crystallise, as the nutritious pollen hasn’t been filtered out and important enzymes haven’t been damaged by pasteurisation.
Because low temperatures can cause crystallisation, you may also notice that the colder months of Autumn and Winter have an effect on your honey too.
GLUCOSE & FRUCTOSE
Glucose and fructose play a key role in crystallisation. When bees hop from flower to flower, they’re collecting rich nectar, which will eventually become honey. That nectar is made up of two sugars: glucose and fructose. Different flower nectars have different ratios, and the crystals in your honey will reflect those different ratios. For example, honey from sunflowers and clovers crystallise quicker, while eucalyptus honey changes slower.
Pollen being present is simply a side effect of the bees’ honey making process. While bees collect nectar, they can rub their fuzzy little bodies on the flower’s pollen, and it can find its way into the hive and into the honey. With pollen in honey, the little particles provide a base for crystallisation to begin.
Having pollen in your honey is not a bad thing; not only is pollen healthy, but it’s also important to keep pollen in your honey to test which flower it came from. Pollen traces also ensures that your honey hasn’t been processed.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH CRYSTALLISED HONEY?
It is fairly simple to turn your honey back into a smooth liquid again by heating it. The best way to do this is to put your honey in a bowl of warm water and slowly letting it warm up. You can do this on the stove top if you like, just don’t heat it too much and remember to stir it. Microwaving overheats the honey and will destroy many of your favourite enzymes and vitamins, so that's not recommended unless you really want to.
The other option is to just embrace it! Crystallised honey is just part of the process and simply the nature of organics – in fact, it's actually a sign of high-quality, organic honey!