What to do if honey is not sugared
Many consumers prefer to use honey in a liquid state, without waiting until it becomes thick, with a high content of grains. However, a candied product is no worse than a fresh one, which is easy to verify by examining all the causes of crystallization. What this phenomenon is and in what cases it is possible to delay the process of the appearance of crystals - you will learn about this from this article.
What is crystallization?
Crystallization of honey is a natural process, which is characterized by its transition from a liquid form to a solid due to the appearance of small sugar crystals. They weigh much more than other components of the bee product, so they immediately sink to the bottom (natural crystallization always occurs from top to bottom).
It is not difficult to explain this process, since honey contains a large amount of glucose, which, under the influence of various factors, settles to the bottom, changing its shape. Sugaring does not affect the beneficial properties, and the disadvantage of this process is only the inconvenience associated with the consumption of the product (the crystallized version is not so easy to spread on bread or mix with any dishes).
Did you know? By nutrition, 100 g of honey is equivalent to 180 g of minced meat, 90 g of cheese or 50 g of nuts.
Product quality indicator
Some beekeepers consider the liquid state of honey to be one of the good indicators of the freshness and quality of a bee product, but in fact this feature does not yet provide a 100% guarantee of benefits. You can verify the positive properties of the composition only by appropriate laboratory tests, but this is what really should alert you when buying - this is the time of year.
If you are not dealing with rare Greek honey, then its liquid form in winter or early spring will indicate the presence of unnecessary components, since a natural product should at least begin to crystallize by this time (a precipitate will appear at the bottom of the can, albeit a little).
For what reasons honey crystallizes
Regardless of the variety, over time, the glucose and sucrose present in the composition will always settle in bulk in the form of crystals, whence the name of the process comes from. The more these components are in the product, the faster honey will become solid, respectively, with a low sugar content and the crystallization process will slow down. So, the collection from acacia is fully thickened only 1-2 years after pumping, but the buckwheat or mustard product will only take six months or a year.
Important! The temperature in the storage is also affected by the temperature in the storage, so if the jars are not tightly closed and you transfer them sharply from a cool to a warm room, then you should not be surprised at the faster crystallization of even “liquid” varieties.
What varieties of honey do not sugar for a long time
Fans of a delicious flowing product should choose its specific varieties, the most popular of which are acacia, linden, may, Greek and chestnut varieties.
Acacia honey is much lighter than other varieties and is characterized by unique taste and aromatic properties. The composition of this product contains approximately 36% glucose and 39% fructose, in addition to which one can not fail to note a considerable moisture content. All components of the acacia variety allow it not to lose its appearance for 1.5–2 years.
In some cases, a freshly pumped-out product looks more like sugar syrup, therefore, small grains formed during crystallization make its consistency close to standard honey. It is noteworthy that during sugaring, the already lighter acacia honey becomes even lighter.
This variety belongs to the earliest varieties, so you can try it already in late spring. The main honey plants in this case include lily of the valley, cherry, apple, bird cherry. May nectar is considered one of the most useful varieties, which also has a pleasant taste and aroma. Fructose in the product is much more than glucose, so the crystallization process is much weaker. In addition, the composition of the May variety is more suitable than others for the use of the product by diabetics, which is also associated with its low calorie content. Did you know? The most expensive honey in the world is an elven variety of this product, which is obtained in one of the regions of Turkey. For one kilogram of sweets, the buyer will have to pay from 6, 000 to 7, 000 dollars. To protect yourself from fraud and not to buy a fake (the May look is very similar to the honey that the bees make after feeding them with sugar syrup), you should buy it in the fall, because by this time the crystallization process is already beginning, and it will be much easier to determine the naturalness of the product.
In many ways it resembles acacia, characterized by a light color and long-lasting preservation of the liquid structure (at least 6 months). A correctly pumped product can be very or moderately viscous, which determines the rate of its further shrinkage. However, even after the process of sugaring, such honey does not become very hard, and its consistency is more like an ointment, toothpaste or semolina with its characteristic lumps. Over time, a homogeneous texture can be stratified into two parts: solid and liquid, occupying the upper part of the tank.
Natural chestnut sweetness is a very dark look with excellent viscosity. On average, the process of its crystallization takes no less than six months, but even in a solid state, it still remains very tasty and healthy. The consistency of the hardened chestnut honey crystals makes them look like gelatin granules, but the longer the storage, the larger the crystal structure. Like the previous option, long-term storage of the product can lead to delamination.
It is considered the most environmentally friendly option that tourists often bring to their families from Greece. It has a thick and viscous consistency, has a dark color and a pleasant rich taste. An unusual characteristic of such a product is the subtleties of its collection. The usual acacia, linden or other flower varieties are obtained from pollen of flowers, but the Greek version is often collected from insects that feed on the juice of different plants. The collection process continues until late autumn or early winter, so honey does not shrink until the next November, which often happens with other varieties obtained in the Russian territory of the middle climatic zone. See also why honey can be sugared during storage. There are several types of Greek honey: spruce or “Menalu Vanilla”, pine, thyme and chestnut. Each of them may have its own characteristic features in terms of color and consistency, but the sugaring period for all of them is approximately the same - 1.5–2.5 years, after which the product acquires a fine-grained structure.
Honey remains liquid - what is the reason
Whatever it was, but even the highest quality and natural honey will thicken over time, and the question is only in that very speed of this process. If after a few years the purchased product is still liquid, then it is not as natural as you were promised.
Even the most stable varieties thicken and sugar over time, and if this does not happen, then it is worth considering the following possible causes of this phenomenon:
- The presence of sugar syrup . It is possible that an unscrupulous seller simply diluted natural nectar with cheap syrup, which significantly reduced the cost of the finished product, while reducing its beneficial effect on the human body. Externally, the presence of sugar syrup is almost imperceptible, so you can find out the true composition only in the laboratory.
- Early pumping . When preparing a product ahead of time, it retains high humidity for a long time, which prevents natural sucrose from settling to the bottom. Moreover, in the near future, such honey may completely deteriorate, becoming unsuitable for further consumption.
- Re-kindling . If for a long time no one bought a workpiece, some sellers heat the candied product and pass it off as fresh. Of course, it will no longer be as high-quality as before, since it managed to lose most of its nutritional properties.
Features and characteristics of a quality product
In order to correctly assess the external signs of a quality product, it is important to know which characteristics are worth paying attention to in this case.
The main indicators include:
- The correct color for the type of honey selected . For example, light shades will be normal for an acacia variety, but chestnut and buckwheat are always characterized by dark shades, sometimes with the addition of red flowers.
- The taste of the selected product . Normally, it should be sweet, pleasant, without different flavors, or even less bitterness. From the point of view of taste, the best varieties are lime, clover and raspberry, although other varieties have their admirers.
- Consistency For a fresh beekeeping product, it will always be liquid or moderately viscous, but if honey has already stood a little, then you can count on a dense or mixed consistency, which, however, is a completely normal feature.
- Humidity . The optimal indicator for the implementation is considered to be a moisture level of the product not higher than 21%, with a sucrose content within 8%. In this case, the weight of 1 liter of honey will be about 1400 g. This feature should definitely be considered when choosing a suitable honey option.
Sour, fermented compounds or with strange smells are best avoided. If you notice the delamination of honey (when the upper layer is sugared and the lower one becomes cheese-like), then you will have to use it in the very near future, since such varieties will not work for long-term storage. Another unacceptable characteristic for any quality honey will be the presence of foam, indicating the onset of fermentation or the presence of excess impurities in the composition.
Product Storage Rules
In order for honey to stand for two years or longer, while preserving the maximum amount of its beneficial properties, it is necessary to create all conditions for the product to do this. Sunlight should not penetrate the place of storage (it does not matter if honey nectar is in jars or honeycombs), otherwise it will turn from a useful product into a usual very high-calorie sweetness. Shelves should always be dry and air humidity not exceed 80%. As for temperature indicators, it is good if they do not exceed + 10 ° C, but significant reductions should not be allowed. Important! In oak products the honey will become darker, bitterness in taste may appear in the container from aspen, and in the coniferous containers it is possible to “infect” the product with a coniferous aroma. In a residential private house you can store sweets in the basement or pantry, where it often thickens for several years. In apartment conditions, never place jars of honey near heating appliances, it is better to place them on shelves in the coolest room or on the balcony. With a small number of blanks, you can leave them in the refrigerator, of course, not completely clogging it with banks.
As for the container for storing sweets, it should always be perfectly clean and dry, without the remnants of past honey (otherwise the fresh product will quickly begin to ferment and soon completely deteriorate). It is good if the selected container is made of aluminum, stainless steel or glass, and in some cases wooden barrels will be no less successful option.
Useful sweetness can be poured not only into glass jars, but also into clay or ceramic pots, avoiding copper or especially lead vessels. Iron ware is also not suitable for storage, as it is able to oxidize quickly, thereby worsening a pleasant honey taste. For the same reason, metal spoons should not be left in containers with honey. In sealed plastic food containers, storage is possible, but not longer than one year. Later, after this time, honey will begin to absorb the harmful components of plastic. We advise you to read whether it is possible and how to eat propolis in its pure form. By choosing and arranging the right conditions for the further storage of honey, you don’t have to think about whether it may not crystallize or why foam appears on the surface. Based on the expert’s conclusions, both the liquid and correctly sugared solid form of honey is a completely natural state of the product, which in any of these cases will retain its useful properties.