If you’ve kept some raw honey long enough, you may have watched it crystallize over time. Some people think this is a sign that the substance is going bad, but in reality, this is an indication of its quality. Only honey that goes through a chemical process never crystallizes. Read on to learn why raw honey crystallizes and why that’s a good thing.
Why Raw Honey Crystallizes
Unheated, pure, raw honey has a tendency to crystallize with no effects aside from a slight change in texture and color. The reason for this change boils down to a chemical reaction. Honey is a concentrated sugar solution made up of less than 20 percent water and over 70 percent sugar. Honey contains more sugar than the water is naturally able to hold, and the honey is unstable due to the high levels of sugar. Therefore, honey naturally crystallizes because it’s an oversaturated sugar solution.
Glucose and Fructose
Honey contains two principal sugars: glucose and fructose. Generally, fructose content ranges between 30 and 44 percent and glucose ranges from 25 to 40 percent. The balance of these sugars causes the crystallization of honey. The relative percentages of the sugars determine how quickly the honey crystallizes. When glucose crystallizes, it becomes tiny crystals.
Why Crystallization Is Good
In this article about why raw honey crystallizes and why that’s a good thing, we have not yet explored the latter question. Crystallization is good because it’s a sign the honey is raw and healthy. As we said, some people see the crystallization and think the honey has gone bad or been contaminated, but it’s actually an indication the honey has not been processed. Honey that never crystallizes has likely gone through a chemical process that give it unnatural characteristics.