Jun122012

15 Comments

Storing Honey Long Term

Guest post by Kimber, who blogs at Kimbers Glen.

Ahh, honey. Sweet, sweet honey. It is such a versatile food staple to have on hand. Not only is it a sweetener, it’s also great for medicinal purposes; such as calming a sore throat or as a cough suppressant . It’s a natural energy booster and wonderful for the skin, too. The cost of honey versus other sweeteners, like sugar, can seem much higher, but typically you use less honey as a sweetener then you do sugar. Knowing that honey is natural rather then synthetically altered can make a big difference to you.

Honey can be stored indefinitely. It will not go rancid if stored properly. But, how do you store honey long term? It’s easier then you might think. First you need to know that there are several different types of honey. There is comb honey, liquid (extracted) honey, granulated (also called creamy) honey, and chunk honey. Comb honey is honey filled beeswax combs as stored directly by the bees. Liquid honey is processed by cutting off the caps and placing it in an extractor where centrifugal force extracts the honey out of the cells. Granulated (creamed) honey is made by mixing one part fine crystallized honey and 9 parts liquid honey, then it is stored at 57 degrees until it becomes firm. Chunk honey is comb honey that is placed in a jar with liquid honey poured around it. All honey types, except comb honey, are processed to some extent. Less processed honeys (no heat applied) have more taste but can be susceptible to fermentation from sugar tolerant yeasts which are always present in honey. High temperatures, over 160 degrees used during processing with filtration, tend to reduce granulation and help improve the looks of the products; however, natural enzymes are eliminated.

Liquid honey needs to be stored in a cool dry area avoiding sunlight with an optimal temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It also should be kept it in a tightly lidded container as honey easily absorbs moisture. Over time, liquid honey will crystallize (also known as granulating). That is ok. While it might look unpleasant, you can restore honey to its liquid state by simply simmering the container in warm water until the crystals disappear and removing it from the heat source as quickly as possible. Never boil your honey or vital nutrients will be lost.

Honey Granules, also know as dehydrated or dried honey, are a unique sweetener made from a combination of unrefined sugar cane juice (sucrose) and a bit of honey in order to lighten the color and texture of the final product. Dried honey is easier to handle than standard honey, and can be used as is to add flavor to hot beverages or reconstituted with water for more traditional usage. Because of the addition of sucrose, dehydrated honey cannot be substituted pound for pound for standard honey. The granules must be reconstituted with a specified amount of warm water to create honey, and then can be used. The exact specifications of honey reconstitution are included with the product. It is recommended that honey granules be stored at temperatures less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and below 70% humidity in order to maximize the shelf life of the product.

 

Honey Whole Wheat Bread:

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup honey

1 cup warm water

1 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 1/4 tsp yeast

Add yeast, water, honey, and oil together well. Let sit about 10 minutes to proof the yeast. All remaining ingredients and knead together until dough forms a ball. Add extra flour if needed. If using a mixer, use bread hooks. Place in oiled bowl, cover, and let rise until double in size. Punch down and knead slightly placing in bread pan. Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, remove from pan, and cool completely

 NOTE: Because of the risk of botulism NEVER give honey to an infant until after they are at least one year of age.

 

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(15) Readers Comments

  1. I’ve seen dehydrated honey for sale and wondered about it as a sweetener. Thanks for this.

  2. I’ve stored a gallon of our local honey this way, with the added step of vacuum sealing my lids with my Food Saver adapter.

    Last season, the guy we got hour honey from had an disturbing reduction in production. I also noticed a significant drop in bees because my cucumbers were barely pollinated. I hope the bees have returned this season! I’m seeing a few around my cucumbers and I’d REALLY like to stockpile another gallon of honey!

    • We raise an organic garden, planting food is wise but you have to remember bees are attracted to flowers to make the honey. We have to also plant numerous flowers to keep the natural full circle.

      Good luck and good gardening……

  3. Thanks for this informative article. We buy our honey at Costco or Sam’s Club, and the next time I buy honey I will immediately transfer it from the plastic bottle to glass canning jars. I like the idea of smaller jars; it’s easier to heat in the glass than the plastic bottles it comes in from these two stores.

  4. Shouldn’t any article regarding honey contain the warning about giving honey to children under age 1? I don’t know why I noticed, I don’t have any children.

  5. Good post.
    Rudy, at preparingyourfamily.com has a post about honey storage. He pointed out something worth reading:
    “You MUST buy honey that is labeled pure. You want to get filtered honey if possible over liquid honey as the process to liquefy the honey after initial filtering destroys most of the nutrients.”

  6. I keep bees, so I have a lot of experience with honey. First of all, please buy only honey produced in the US. Honey from overseas, and especially China, may have been exposed to lots of pesticides and herbicides not allowed in the US. The honey is then “superfiltered” to remove the chemicals. At this point it may not even be true honey anymore. China also dumps honey in many other countries to be sold to the US without the “China” label that scares off wise consumers.

    Honey produced in the US is blended and pastuerized by the large honey companies. The good enzymes are destroyed by this process and you also lose all of the great flavor you get from a locally produced honey. A local honey may cost more, but the floral fragrance alone is really worth it. People who buy my honey love the amber alfalfa and pale sweet clover honeys and won’t buy anything else.
    I

  7. All honey will eventually granulate, but it does not harm the honey. Honey found in Egyptian tombs was still good after 2,000 years!
    Honey does not spoil unless it has too high of a water content. If you see signs of fermentation that honey could be spoiled.
    I keep honey for storage in glass canning jars because it is easier to warm the honey when it granulates. I set the honey on the back of the stove when I am baking or set it in a pan of water on the lowest possible heat. I also put the jar in a small six-pack cooler, add boiling water up the neck of the jar, and close the cooler. I use the cooler method for plastic bottles. Never put the plastic jars on the stove or in a pan on the stove as the bottle will warp. NEVER MICROWAVE HONEY AS IT WILL BOIL INSIDE THE JAR AND THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS!!

  8. I have a small jar of honey that was purchased several years ago. It has been stored in a kitchen cabinet during this time at room temp, about 75 degrees. The jar has never been opened, but the color of the honey has darkened. My wife is afraid to use it, I think its fine. By the way, it has not formed crystals in the jar. Any thoughts.

    • Yes, your honey is perfectly fine. Honey is the ONE food that has NO experiation!

      I also wanted to mention that honey is a natural antibiotic and is recommended for wound healing since it does not allow for bacterial growth.

      Very important in case there is no medical.

  9. I love the honey bees. They are really nice fellows, I can pull weeds amongst my lavender, with the bees just buzzing all over the flower parts. They never get nasty or mean. I guess thats why I love honey so much, I have so much respect for these little guys. I did learn so much from this article and your posters, esp from Billie Helwick. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I am a fellow bee keeper; A few comments; Honey gets darker as it ages, it does not hurt anything. Honey only ferments if there is some amount of water in it. When we process our honey we put on the ac if it rainy. In 8 years we have one jar ferment, that was a drip off and we trashed it. We put the comb in a china cap and push it through and immediately pour it off. We have honey for five years back and it is fine. Due to the use of Bayer’s Neonictinoid based pesticide use on commercial crops corn and soy ; if your bees are in 3 to 5 miles of those fields you will lose your bees. There needs to be a push to Stop these huge companies from poisoning everything around us, because if you think your going to survive any of the scenes brought up, having areas poisoned by the chemicals will make things very hard, because the environment is going to be out of balance.

  11. I just got a 5 gallon bucket of pure honey from a friend that worked at a bakery and they used it in their bread. He had it stored in the 5 gallon bucket for about 10 plus years in a storage shed. Is this still good to use ?

  12. I have 3 jars of honey that I have never used out of and could be 10 to 15 years old.. One has a sour taste. Could it be fermented. The other 2 jars taste fine. All have darkened and one is about 50% crystalized. Is there any use for fermented honey and is it dangerous to use. Could it be fed back to bees without endangering them. The sour tasting one came from a different apiary than the other two. I would really appreciate an answer to this question from someone . Also what would cause this honey to ferment.

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