How to Store Raw Honey Indefinitely
Honey is a perfect food as soon as the bees finish with it. But as a natural food, we sometimes feel that we need to take too many precautions with it. To preserve it’s natural goodness, you need to know how to store raw honey.
Otherwise, you may end up with a gritty, grimy mess that looks very unappealing. Gritty honey is not spoiled but it often concerns the user and is mistake for being spoiled. It is not.
In face, that gritty jar of honey may actually be healthier than the beautiful golden bear from the supermarket! (Big Company but good tips.)
The best raw honey will come from small scale beekeepers. Why? Because we can focus on each jar better than a large producer who sells thousands of jars a month. Once you find and purchase real honey, you will want to learn the ins and out of proper honey storage.
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Decorative Honey Pots Are Great For the dinner table. But, a tightly sealing container protects your honey.
What is Raw Honey?
Real honey is made by bees. It is perfect. Then, we humans come along and sometimes try to improve it. The practices used to create a beautiful product for the grocery shelf are not necessarily kind to our wonderful honey.
But, you don’t have to be a slave to modern processing. Local beekeepers across the US produce “table honey” each year.
Yes, it will cost a bit more – or should. With proper harvest and storage techniques, we can enjoy all the natural goodness of honey and not waste any.
Honey can only be called “raw” if it has not been processed or super filtered and never heated.
Using an extractor to remove honey from the comb is okay – it just slings the honey out. However, the honey should not be exposed to any heat (hotter than it would be inside the hive).
Allowing honey to drip through a sieve or strainer is okay. Commercial honey producers often push honey through a filter under pressure. This is done to provide a beautiful product that will look good on the shelf for a long time.
This creates a problem because ultra filtration removes some of the micro-nutrients and pollen in honey. Thereby, lessening the nutritional value of the product.
Raw honey is unique. The color and flavor will vary from year to year. Why? Because each season the different flowers may or may not produce that same amount of nectar as in previous year. Nectar production is closely tied to weather conditions.
In my bee yard, it is not unusual to have one bucket of honey that is very light in color and another very dark.
The Best Way to Store Fresh Honey
Because honey can absorb moisture and odors – please don’t re-use an old pickle jar. Unless of course, if you are wanting to add a bit of pickle aroma to your raw honey, that’s your call.
For long term storage, I like to use glass jars. You can always pour a smaller amount into a honey pot for easy dispensing. Bright light can cause honey to darken. (It’s dark in the hive – right ?)
How do you store raw honey in the dark? The easiest method is to place your jar of honey in a room temperature cabinet. An ideal temperature range of 70° F – 80° F is best.
( I break the rule and store a small jar of honey right on my stove top. – I am a rule breaker that way. ) Any “tight sealing” honey pot or container is okay.
Does Raw Honey Need to Be Refrigerated?
No, no, no. Pure honey will not spoil. It does not require cold temperature or a vacuum sealed jar.
Please never put your honey in the refrigerator. It will not make it last longer or keep it fresher. Putting honey in the refrigerator can promote some changes that you do not want.
Raw Honey Crystallizes – It’s Natural!
This is a common cry among consumers who do not understand the nature of raw honey. Honey is a super-saturated sugar. When honey goes to this solid state, we call it crystallization.
People ask how to store raw honey to prevent crystallization. The answer is that sometimes you can not completely stop crystallization.
Raw honey contains pollen, tiny bits of wax etc that encourages the change to a solid. Honey that is stored in the refrigerator will crystallize faster. Crystallized honey is ok and safe to eat.
Crystallized honey can be gently warmed to a liquid state. But most people want their honey to stay in the liquid non gritty form.
How to Store Honeycomb
First the bad news, if you have a piece of honeycomb inside your jar of liquid honey – it will crystallize faster. Solution? Eat it first! But, what if you have several pieces of honeycomb that you want to save for later. The best way to store honeycomb long term is in the freezer.
Cut your sections of honeycomb into smaller manageable pieces. Wrap tightly with foil or other type of wrap to seal out moisture.
Or, you can cut the comb into smaller pieces, place them on a plate and put them in the freezer. Once frozen – use a food sealer to vacuum pack each section of honeycomb. Now you can remove small amounts as you would like. A few hours on the counter and your honey will be ready to enjoy.
You Can Store Honey In the Freezer
Did you know that you can freeze liquid honey? I know it sounds crazy. But, freezing is a good storage method for honey that you don’t plan to use for a long while.
Honey can be stored frozen in the comb or place liquid honey is a container with room for expansion. Freezing protects the integrity of your raw honey.
Honey can be frozen for several years. When you are ready to use, thaw honey at room temp in sealed containers. Do not thaw honey in the refrigerator-we want it to come to room temperature quickly.
What if you are not a honey lover but want to keep some on hand? Freeze small amounts of honey in ice cube trays and then seal them in plastic bags. This makes it easy-peasy to take out just a small amount for use.
Even those of you who are not honey-lovers, may enjoy just a bit of honey on occasion. Use silicone trays to freeze small amounts of honey. A great way to seek relief for sore throat pains or coughs, just pop out a frozen “honey-cube” and put it in hot tea.
How to Store Honey Even After Opening the Jar
The value of pure honey makes it important to learn how to store raw honey properly. And finding small farmers markets to purchase directly from the farmer increases your chances of getting real honey.
But no mater where you get your honey there is one thing to remember. You do not have to store honey in the refrigerator after opening the jar. Pure honey will last a long time.
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