Although our ancestors discovered the benefits of raw honey about 10, 000 years ago, the honeybees and their precious produce have been around for much longer than that. In recent times, some daring archeologists have excavated and tasted honey from Egyptian tombs that have been estimated to be about 2000 years old.
We live in a day and age where longevity and shelf life are compromised. But, despite the changing trends in how food has evolved, raw, wild honey still boasts of having an unperishable quality to it. The ancient men used to hail it as one of the elixirs for a long life. Whether or not it can increase your lifespan hasn’t been proven yet, but many factors contribute to its eternal shelf life and some are quite astounding.
Factors That Make Honey A Resilient Food
Honey can be savored no matter how old it is due to its distinct properties and chemical composition. Here are the reasons why honey doesn’t go bad.
1. It’s Super-Saturated In Nature
Honey is a concentrated sugary solution mostly. It contains very less moisture and is different from granulated white sugar. Most bacteria, fungi, and yeast need adequate moisture content to survive. Being supersaturated makes it an unfavorable environment for most micro-organisms to thrive in it. As honey is quite dry in its natural state, these organisms die due to dehydration.
2. It Has Natural Anti-Microbial Properties
Honey has an acidic pH of about 3.26–4.48. This is non-conducive to the growth of harmful microbes that could pose a threat to its longevity. This acidic environment along with its super-saturated state destroys the microbes from within thereby preventing any chances of spoilage.
3. It Has A Strong Enzymatic Action
The manner in which honey gets produced by honeybees itself determines its long life. Honey is actually sourced from nectar. When a hardworking bee stuffs its nectar collection into the honeycomb, it has already mixed it with the enzyme glucose oxidase. A chemical reaction happens wherein hydrogen peroxide is released, which in turn, serves as a hostile agent against microbes.1
The Truth About Crystallized Honey
A popular misconception about honey is that once it gets crystallized, it has gone bad. This is absolutely bogus! When stored for long durations at very cold temperatures, crystals of sugar form in honey. This is a natural response and in fact, crystallized honey tastes better. Many freak out at the sight thinking that the honey has gone bad. However, all you’ve got to do is dip the jar of honey in a bowl of warm water and wait for a while until it turns liquid again.2
Ways To Store Honey For Long-Term Use
You need to be aware of storing honey right if you would like to reap all of its goodness for several years together. Here are 2 tips to keep in mind while storing honey.
1. Get The Temperature Right
Honey should be stored in a cool, dry and dark place with minimal temperature fluctuations. It should be kept away from too hot or cold areas in the house. If the ambient temperature falls to below 65°F, honey will begin to crystallize.
2. Choose The Right Container
Opt for medium-sized glass jars with air-tight lids to store honey. It’s best to store honey in small-sized containers as they can be easily reheated in case crystallization happens. If you prefer plastic ones, choose food-grade varieties alone.
Every time you use honey, wipe the outside of the jar to avoid ants from getting attracted to it. Never leave it open for long as that could hasten the spoilage processes. Go on and try to incorporate the marvelous benefits of this “liquid gold” in your daily lifestyle.
|↑1||Alvarez-Suarez, José M., Massimiliano Gasparrini, Tamara Y. Forbes-Hernández, Luca Mazzoni, and Francesca Giampieri. “The composition and biological activity of honey: a focus on Manuka honey.” Foods 3, no. 3 (2014): 420-432.|
|↑2||Costa, Lucília Carolina Vardenski, Elaine Kaspchak, Marise Bonifácio Queiroz, Mareci Mendes de Almeida, Ernesto Quast, and Leda Battestin Quast. “Influence of temperature and homogenization on honey crystallization.” Brazilian Journal of Food Technology 18, no. 2 (2015): 155-161.|