Crystallization of Honey
Is Crystallized honey edible?
Yes, Crystallization of honey is a natural phenomena and only natural honey crystallizes. There is a lot of misunderstanding among people on crystallized honey. Many of them consider crystallized honey is adulterated or spoiled and not edible. Crystallization is a natural and spontaneous process of preserving the flavor and quality itself. Honey crystallization often called as granulation.
Pure, raw and unheated honey has a natural tendency to crystallize over time with no change on the honey other than color and texture. Some form fine crystals and others are large, gritty ones and crystallized honey tends to be a lighter color than when it is in liquid. This is mainly due to honey's composition. Typically, honey contains natural sugars more than 70% and around 20 percent water. The overabundance of sugar makes honey unstable.
The natural sugars contain in honey are fructose(fruit sugar) and glucose. Generally, the fructose ranges from 30-44% and 25-40% is glucose. The balance of these two major sugars causes the crystallization of honey. Due to lower solubility of glucose it crystallizes. Fructose is more soluble in water than glucose and will remain fluid. When glucose crystallizes, the glucose separate from water and form as tiny crystals, since it is in a saturated solution. The glucose crystals are naturally pure white in color.
The greater the percentage of natural sugars, the better the quality of honey. Adulterated honey always contains less invert sugar(fructose). In most of pure and raw honey, fructose is present in greater amounts than glucose. Nectar, honey dew, is one of the sources of the invert sugar in honey. Another source is sucrose. After the invertase enzyme has been added by bees, sucrose decomposes. Fructose is sweeter than sucrose(Table sugar). It explains why honey is sweeter than sugar and consuming honey makes healthier. Some types of honey crystallize completely, while others partially crystallized and form two layers, with the crystallized layer on the bottom of the jar and a liquid on top.
Temperature and relative humidity could also make a difference. At room temperature, the crystallization process, depends on the type of honey, it may range from days to years. Pure and Raw honey crystallizes.
Crystallization is actually a sign of high quality honey. Crystallization can be liquefied by placing in hot water or sunlight and can reuse with all properties.