Updated: May 20, 2018
Crystallization of honey
Crystallization of honey is a misunderstood phenomenon. Most of the consuming public associate crystallized honey that has become coarse and grainy in texture with table sugar. They then assume it is unnatural. This is not so.
The crystallization process is natural and spontaneous. Pure, raw and unheated honey has a natural tendency to crystallize over time. This has no effect on the honey other than color and texture.
Thanks to “Bees Raw” ,we know that crystallization of honey actually preserves the flavor and quality. Many honey users even prefer it in this state as it is easier to spread on bread or toast.
“How does crystallization work? “
Some honey crystallizes uniformly; some will be partially crystallized and form two layers, with the crystallized layer on the bottom of the jar and a liquid on top. Honey also varies in the size of the crystals formed. Some form fine crystals and others large, gritty ones. The more rapid honey crystallizes, the finer the texture will be. Crystallized honey tends to set a lighter colour than when in liquid form. This is due to the fact that glucose sugar tends to separate out in dehydrating crystals form, and that glucose crystals are naturally pure white. Darker honey retains a brownish appearance.
The two principal sugars in honey are fructose (fruit sugar) and glucose (grape sugar). The content of fructose and glucose in honey varies from one type of honey to the other. Generally, the fructose ranges from 30 - 44% and glucose from 25 - 40%. The balance of these two major sugars causes the crystallization of honey, and the relative percentage of each determines whether it crystallizes rapidly or slowly. What crystallizes is the glucose, due to its lower solubility. Fructose is more soluble in water than glucose and will remain fluid.
When glucose crystallizes, it separates from water and takes the form of tiny crystals. As the crystallization progresses and more glucose crystallizes, those crystals spread throughout the honey. The solution changes to a stable saturated form, and ultimately the honey becomes thick or crystallized.
Bottom line? Crystallization of honey is a gift of nature.