Honey is a sweet and super saturated sticky viscid liquid with golden brown color produced by bees (smallest workers of nature) from the nectar of the flowers that stored in their hives as food. Honey mainly consists of sugars like glucose and fructose, including proteins, amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals (iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium, chlorine, potassium). Further, it is slightly acidic in nature and pH levels fall in between 3.2 and 4.5 which prevent the growth of bacteria. Honey is used as a sweetening agent in foods; it is also used in cosmetics, soaps and medicines. It acts as humectants means when applied to the skin surface, it draws moisture from the air into the skin and retained it in the layers in other words it nourishes and hydrates the skin.
Honey has a tendency to crystallize in which it turns from liquid to the semi solid state and when it crystallizes many people assume that it can be adulterated and can be of poor quality, but the opposite is true as crystallization of honey is a natural phenomenon that totally depends upon the glucose content, temperature and content of moisture. The higher is the sugar content the faster will be the rate of crystallization and the optimum temperature for crystallization of honey is in between 10 and 18⁰C whereas, the rate is slowed down when stored at less than 10⁰C temperatures and it also occurs in the honeys containing moisture content greater than 18%. The quality of honey does not deteriorate, but it remains good year after year.
Honey crystallizes because it is a supersaturated solution of sugars mainly glucose and fructose and it will happen when glucose losses moisture becoming glucose monohydrate and takes the form of a granule or crystal. The higher the glucose content the faster will be the rate of crystallization.
Precautions while Storage of Honey
- If honey stored in an air tight container, then it will not absorb moisture from the atmosphere and will remain in liquid form.
- If it crystallizes then immerse the container in saucepan filled with hot water at 40⁰C for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Storage of honey at less than 10⁰C is an ideal condition for preventing it from crystallization.