It is the perennial question: what should I do when my raw honey crystallizes on me?
We do get asked that often enough, especially as real raw honey often tends to crystallize more than processed and pasteurized honey.
Here are two things we do NOT recommend you do to smooth out crystallized raw honey, and one thing we find works just fine for our customers.
Should I Nuke My Crystallized Raw Honey In The Microwave?
Should you nuke your honey in the microwave to heat it up and smooth it out? No! That is a bad idea.
The temperature of microwave heating can permanently alter the composition of your raw honey.
Remember, this honey was not heated beyond 107-110 degrees, ever, and that’s why it tastes so good and retains healthy yeasts.
One single time nuking it in the microwave will raise the temperature well beyond 110 degrees and change the chemical bonds of your honey, as well as kill off any active yeasts or other bee gut bacteria active in the honey.
Once you nuke it, you can’t change it back.
Likely your raw honey will begin to taste a little burned, and often can re-crystallize in a more brittle and clumpy manner.
At that point you might as well throw out the jar as it won’t be worth enjoying.
Don’t nuke your crystallized raw honey!
Should I Heat My Crystallized Raw Honey In a Pan Of Water?
How about heating up the jar on the stove? Not recommended!
While this method is potentially less damaging than microwaving, you will face two problems.
First, your heating is going to be uneven. Your hot water is going to affect the edges of the honey in the jar more than the center.
Unless you wait a really long time for the temp to even out, you are not going to really fix the issue of smoothing out your crystallized raw honey.
Second, it’s very likely your water pan is going to heat beyond 110 degrees, and possibly the water will even hit boiling point if you don’t control the burner on the stove closely.
Once you hit boiling point, you are at the temperature that pasteurization occurs. Leave your honey at that temp and you just pasteurized your raw honey, which means it is no longer truly raw honey.
Even if you keep the temperature under that point, but it edges above 110 degrees, you have the same challenge as the microwave – you have now heated your honey beyond a point it was ever heated before, and permanently changed it’s composition.
You may find that the next time the honey crystallizes even harder than before heating, and the taste is not going to be quite as good.
Say goodbye to any active yeasts or other favorable bacteria in the raw honey as well.
Don’t water heat your raw honey!
So How Can I Fix Crystallized Raw Honey?
Smoothing out raw honey is pretty simple, really. Use a spoon or honey dipper!
We have found mechanical stirring is the least invasive and least damaging method to smooth out crystallized raw honey.
But isn’t the crystallized honey to hard to stir? Not really.
It might look like a big sheet of solid-rock honey, but once you start stirring it and moving it around, that is enough to loosen those chemical bonds that make it crystallize in the first place, and start getting smooth, rich raw honey flowing again.
Just get a good sized spoon and start stirring it up, and you will find that it gets looser and smoother in only a few good stirs!
Is this raw honey going to always be thicker than processed honey? Of course it is.
But isn’t that why you bought real unfiltered unpasteurized honey in the first place?
If you want honey that flows as smooth as water, well, you’ll usually need to buy processed honey that added water and over heated it to make it flow that smooth in the first place.
We don’t like that kind of honey, and aren’t going to sell it to you, so be prepared to do a little mechanical stirring when our raw honey crystallizes on you. Because it will.
But that’s what you want to see anyway as it further proves this is the real stuff, totally unadulterated and raw right from the hive!
If you have other suggestions for us on ways you’ve found to smooth out crystallized raw honey without changing it in a negative way, let us know and we can include it in our FAQ too!