Does Pure Honey Go Bad?


Question:  I have a bottle of pure liquid honey that’s starting to get thick and sugary on the bottom. Does this mean it has gone bad and I need to replace it? 

Answer: No — your honey should be fine, provided you’ve been storing it properly.

From a safety standpoint, commercially produced pure honey has a practically indefinite shelf life, says the National Honey Board. It’s not unusual for honey to crystallize over time —  but that doesn’t make it unsafe to use, adds the Honey Board.

That said, prolonged storage can potentially take a toll on the taste and appearance of honey. Besides crystallizing, your honey may also start to darken, change aroma and lose flavor after a couple of years. So it’s a good idea to check your honey from time to time, to see if it’s still satisfactory for your tastes.

As for honey that’s already crystallized, you can revive it by placing the opened honey jar in warm water and stirring until the crystals dissolve. Another option is to transfer the honey into a microwave-safe container, with the lid off. Microwave on medium-high power, stirring every 30 seconds, until the crystals dissolve.

To help keep honey at its best, be sure to store it in a cool, dark area and keep it tightly capped after each use.

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