How to store honey properly

How to store honey properly

Honey is a very ancient food. Just think that our ancestors already used it in prehistoric times, who collected it from wild insect hives. Perhaps it has been the quintessential desert for millennia.

This food is produced by bees, following the re-elaboration of the sugary substances they feed on: mainly flower nectar, but also honeydew, a sweet secretion produced by small insects, such as aphids.

For several years now, all over the world, there has been a significant decline in bees : die-offs occur and productivity has unfortunately decreased. The problem is closely linked to factors such as the widespread use of some pesticides and climate change. All this is very serious because, in addition to producing honey, these insects are pollinators and play a fundamental role in agriculture.

But honey is present in practically all homes. You too have had some honey feast, one of those memorable ones. When you are done, do you by any chance remember where, how, and for how long you kept it? No? Well, this could be a great guide to answer all of these questions.

How long to keep honeyHow to store honey properly

Honey, like many other natural products, should be kept in well-sealed glass jars. This is because glass is the material that more than any other perfectly preserves food.

But once opened, what to do? Many people mistakenly put honey in the refrigerator, believing that it will keep better. No, honey should not be stored in the refrigerator, much less exposed to heat sources. This is because honey changes its molecular structure: in the fridge it will tend to crystallize faster,  becoming hard, while near heat sources, such as the sun or the kitchen stove, it will tend to melt, making it heavy.

Honey should therefore be stored in a cool and dry place, such as a pantry, away from sources of direct light, cold currents, or sources of heat. This way you can make sure your precious honey is edible practically forever.

If open

Once opened, honey has no precise expiration date. If kept in a protected atmosphere, you will have on average three years to consume it.

After this period the honey will not be damaged, it can still be used, but it will probably have lost some of its organoleptic and taste properties. But always based on the information leaflet you find on the jar.

If closed

Thanks to a tight and hermetic closure, honey can be considered as an eternal food. Store it in a cool and dry place, and possibly in the dark, at a temperature not lower than 20 °. So your “liquid gold” will be fresh in every moment of your life.

Do you think that a practical confirmation has come from none other than archaeologists? In fact, a group of scholars found a series of honey jars in some Egyptian tombs that had remained intact over time. Neither the taste, nor the smell, nor the texture had undergone any alteration. The burial had guaranteed the nectar the ideal conditions to preserve its characteristics.

When exposed to air, the honey begins to ferment and will have an unpleasant aftertaste where to keep it

Honey is therefore food that never expires. Once opened, however, it can last for a long time, as long as you have the foresight to store it correctly.

Never leave honey to air without a cover or cap. In fact, if exposed to the air, the honey begins to ferment and will have a  decidedly unpleasant aftertaste. So try to re-seal it (tightly it would be perfect) and you’ll make sure you have more food.

Over time, once the jar has been uncorked, the honey will certainly tend to crystallize, but this should absolutely not scare us nor warn us. In fact, it will turn out to be the same edible.

Unlike what you imagine, when you open it, honey does not necessarily have to be placed in the refrigerator. In fact, being naturally rich in simple sugars, it automatically manages to disadvantage the deterioration process.

But in any case, if you have a hard head and want to leave it in the fridge, we recommend that you heat it for a few seconds, so as to cancel the crystallization process that will inevitably have formed due to the passage of time.

Crystallized honey

Does honey become like a jam, does it solidify, crystallizes due to the cold? Don’t worry, you can still eat it, without problems. In fact, the properties do not undergo any change based on consistency.

But if you are a fan of  “honey” honey, there are two methods to restore it to its natural state without altering its properties. The first is to heat the honey in a water bath to a temperature of no more than 40 degrees centigrade, stirring until the crystals are dissolved. The second is to insert the jar of honey in the microwave ( uncorked, I recommend ) for 5 seconds, then mix. If that’s not enough, repeat the operation.

How to store it in a honeycomb

You are a lover of honey, the authentic one, one of those who buy the honeycomb directly, because he wants to enjoy the taste of fresh honey. Good choice. But, once you’ve bought it, where do you put it?

Do not leave the honeycomb near foods with strong smells. They could contaminate the flavor of your honey

  • First of all, to maintain its freshness and its properties, the honeycomb, if you do not consume it all the same day, it will be better to keep it in the refrigerator, at a temperature between 3 and 10 degrees. However, there is always a but.
  • You will need to be careful not to leave it near vegetables, fruits, and other foods and substances that have very strong smells. The honeycombs in fact tend to absorb them and the flavor will therefore be altered. A good method would be to cut the honeycombs into pieces and arrange them in individual clean containers, which you will then need to close carefully.