People often call and ask if crystallised honey is real and edible, or is it perhaps spoiled?
Honey is a natural product and as such is susceptible to deviations in taste, appearance, and other natural processes. One of these natural processes is also crystallisation - the process in which honey changes from its liquid state of matter into the solid one. This phenomenon is a proof of real honey, and people in some countries buy only crystallised honey. It is believed that only real, natural honey crystallises. Crystallisation does not cause chemical or sensory changes to the honey. The pace of crystallisation depends on the type of honey, the content of sugars and water, and on the storage temperature.
The most important factors for crystallisation, however, are the ratio between glucose and fructose and between glucose and water. Glucose is less soluble in water that fructose, and since honey is almost completely saturated with glucose, crystals are formed. The more glucose there is compared to fructose and water, the faster the crystallisation process. Crystallisation is also stimulated by lower temperatures, foreign objects in the honey (colloids, pollen grains, air bubbles), as well as by stirring and shaking. Honey may crystallise in different ways and crystals may vary in size.
Every natural honey may crystallise. The most suitable temperature for crystallisation is between 10 and 20 °C. Crystallisation slows down at lower temperatures; some say that honey remains liquid longer if you store it at 0 °C for the first five weeks and at 15 °C thereafter. Usually, crystallisation starts at the bottom of the jar or at the contact with the packaging. When heating up honey be careful not to exceed this temperature, otherwise honey loses its natural properties and substances.
Honey types with the slowest crystallisation process are acacia, sage, fir tree, and spruce tree honey, followed by forest, lime and chestnut honey; faster crystallisation takes place in wildflower honey, and the fastest in rape, sunflower, dandelion and buckwheat honey. Some beekeepers even accelerate the natural crystallisation process, since crystallised honey is more solid and therefore more suitable for spreading.
Crystallised honey is also a welcome ingredient in cuisine. Mix one tablespoon of crystallised honey with some liquid and it will easily dissolve. It is well soluble and binds well with natural fat, so you can also mix it with cottage cheese, yoghurt and other dishes. It is not recommended for use in baking and cooking, since heating it ruins its healing properties. Crystallised honey is a perfect ingredient for delicious fresh deserts