Why does honey granulate?
All high quality, unadulterated raw honey will granulate and at a rate dependant upon the water content, the level of sugars and the temperature at which honey is stored. Store bought honey, which may be artificial, blended or heated to high temperatures (>60C) for lower cost, improved shelf appearance and faster pouring, will take longer to granulate but has essentially been stripped of its nutritional benefits. Raw honey can granulate from a few months to years and should not be seen as a lesser product, quite the opposite.
Good news ... to restore granulated honey to its clear and runny form we suggest gentle heating at 30-40C (which are hive temperatures) for a few hours. You can use a water bath or even a low powered seed germination/propagation matt. We don’t recommend the use of microwaves due to potential hot spots and heat damage, but they will also work and require a shorter time. If our honey granulates get in touch and we can help you firstname.lastname@example.org
Read on if you want to know why all this happens …
70% of raw honey consists of glucose and fructose, with the remaining 30% made up from 180 nutritional components. Bees seek out flowers at different times of the year because of their available plant nectar in order to convert this sugary liquid to energy-rich stores of simple sugars. Nectar sources vary geographically as well as throughout the year and this is why honey appears in so many different colours and flavours.
The granulation of honey is primarily due to the displacement of higher levels of glucose from honey, with the concentration of glucose within the honey based on the flowers pollinated as well as the water content of the honey. We only extract honey when the water content is below 20%, measured by a refractometer, but if the water content is 17% there will be a noticeable difference in the propensity of the honey to granulate. Our experience from our Hertfordshire hives is late season honey contains a higher level of glucose, whilst our spring honey is light and floral due to higher levels of fructose from crops such as field beans. Our spring honey rarely granulates but is also in shorter supply due to colony sizes and inclement spring weather. Other crops impacting honey appearance include rapeseed, heather and ivy, which are all high in glucose and granulate very quickly, in fact rapeseed honey can be extremely difficult to extract from honeycomb, even for the bees! This is why later in the year the most stable but equally enjoyable product is set or creamed honey, which has been mixed to a smooth consistency. This is our favourite and spreads better on toast!
Do contact us with any questions, thanks!
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