Honey jars don’t always come with an expiration date, but don’t fret about the condition of your sweet stash. Whether it’s a squeezable bottle packaged by a national chain or a canning jar picked up at a local roadside stand, it’s not going bad any time soon.
It's All Good
Unlike any other natural food, honey does not go bad. Producers sometimes state a two-year expiration date on honey because it can change flavor over time, but even long after that time has passed, the honey will still be perfectly edible. Honey from ancient Egypt has even survived to modern day without going bad. If it can survive a few thousand years in a pyramid, it will do just fine in your pantry until you use it all.
No Preservatives Necessary
Other fresh foods such as meat and vegetables notoriously perish quickly, especially if stored at room temperature. Honey stands out as the exception to the rule, thanks to its chemical makeup. Honey naturally has antimicrobial properties, meaning that bacteria won’t take over and turn it bad. Honey’s low pH also keeps contaminants at bay.
Melt It Down
The consistency of honey will change with time, causing it to look a bit funny. If you find your honey looking thicker than usual and a bit pale, likely, it has crystallized. Crystallization occurs when the glucose sugar in the honey solidifies, giving the honey a slightly grainy texture. Crystallized honey is also harder to pour or spread. The crystals are completely harmless and you can melt them by warming the honey container in a bit of hot water. Varieties of honey that contain more fructose than glucose do not crystallize as readily. If one variety of honey always turns solid on you, try a different type.
Shut the Lid
Honey should be stored tightly sealed to minimize crystallization. Moisture contributes to honey turning grainy, so a container with a tight-fitting lid will keep your honey fresh longer than a jar that doesn’t fully close. Sealed containers also keep unwanted pests and other contamination from tainting your honey. The National Honey Board recommends storing honey at room temperature, between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
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