Raw honey has several health benefits. It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Consuming honey can keep several common ailments at bay and even simple wounds and scratches can be treated with it. But the problem with storing raw honey is crystallization. When you keep honey in your pantry, you will see after a few months that it has crystallized. Many people assume the honey has spoilt and they chuck it out.
Crystallization of Honey
The thickening of honey is a natural process. It does not have an adverse effect on the texture or color of the honey. Do not assume crystallized honey is spoilt or contains preservatives. In fact, you can still use the honey as it is and it will have all the qualities and flavors of liquid honey.
You should take crystallization as a sign of honey being natural and pure. However, if you still want to melt it, so that you can spread on your toast or add it to recipes, here are some ways to melt honey at home.
Melting Crystallized Honey at Home
If the honey crystallizes and turns into a solid yet soft mass, you can easily melt it by heating it is a hot water bath or placing it in a warming box. These two methods make use of indirect heat application and hence, does not affect the taste or characteristics of honey.
Under natural circumstances, beehives have a temperature of about 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can rise sometimes to 104 degrees Fahrenheit when the summers are hot. So, if you are looking to melt honey and preserve its flavor and properties, it is best to heat it indirectly to around 95 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go beyond this temperature range, the heat will destroy the natural enzymes, cause a loss of flavor and also darken the color of the honey.
Melting Honey in a Hot Water Bath
Here is how you can melt honey at home using a simple hot water bath.
Step 1: Take a thick bottom saucepan and fill with water, so that the level of the water is below the neck of the honey jar (glass jar).
Step 2: Place the saucepan on the stove and place a thermometer to check the temperature.
Step 3: Once the temperature of the water reaches between 95 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Step 4: Unscrew the lid of the honey jar and place in the hot water carefully and let it stand for around 20 minutes.
Step 5: Stir the honey occasionally to ensure the heat spreads evenly and dissolves the crystals.
Step 6: If the water cools down, replace it with hot water immediately. Be sure to bring the temperature of the water to 94 to 104 degrees.
Step 7: Remove the glass jar when the honey melts and reaches its original consistency.
Warning: Do use the hot water bath method to melt honey in plastic jars and containers. The heat will melt the plastic and cause it to warp. Furthermore, heating plastic releases BPA, which is toxic. Instead remove the honey from the plastic container and place it in a glass container and then use the hot water bath to melt the honey.
Warming Box to Melt Honey
Take wooden box and make sure it is well insulated. Fix an electric light bulb inside the box, but make sure it is fixed at the base of the box. Also, install a thermostat in the box, so that you can monitor the temperature.
Place the honey in the box and switch on the light. Make sure you keep a watch on the temperature. Usually, melting honey using this process is a long one. It will take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to melt the honey.
A warm box is ideal for melting large quantities of honey. Be sure to stir the honey to spread the heat and hasten the melting process.
How to Prevent Honey from Crystallizing
Always store honey in an airtight container and at room temperature. Do not store your honey in a refrigerator or temperatures less than 64 degrees Fahrenheit. The perfect temperature to store honey is anywhere from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.