My dear friend, Kat, that I met back in the late 1970’s when we both lived in Italy…. Messaged me on Facebook yesterday with a great question. So, great–I thought I would create a blog post for The Recipe Weekly. For those of you who don’t know, I have a little hobby, I participate in the caring of honeybees, and we have one Langstroth hive in the back yard. In our family, we prefer ANAP beekeeping. With ANAP, as natural as possible, no chemicals, ever go in our beehive to treat mites or other diseases honeybees can get. The reason that is, is because, we feel that honeybees should know how to care for themselves, they did fine without us for millions of years, taking in pollen and nectar, building comb, and surviving winters and inclement weather–and well, that is another whole new blog post. So, without further ado, on with the Q & A.
By the way, thanks Kat from California, for the great question!!! It has helped me write this blog post.
Q: Where is the best place in a kitchen to store honey to prolong its shelf life?
A: The best place in the kitchen to store honey is…. Anywhere in the food cabinet! I do have a ‘but’ to add to that answer, please read on…
Yes, we keep our honey in the food cabinet in the kitchen, and because we are caretakers of honeybees, we do have extra honey from time to time, and place our honey in pint size, wide mouth canning jars, to store.
Here comes the but…
But, where you are storing your honey in the kitchen does matter, Kat, ‘if ‘ you store honey in a refrigerator. Because, if you do, it just accelerates crystallization. Buying several jars of honey from a local beekeeper? Storing honey on the upper shelves in your food cabinet, or pantry, is a safer bet. This will prevent any access to colder temperatures from lower shelves, especially in the winter–and the possibility of accelerated crystallization. This would be also true for people who have un-insulated cellars, or basements. If it freezes, keep the honey where it won’t–or you will just end up with crystallized honey sooner than you want.
We have been beekeeping for several years, the last time we took honey off, about 3 years ago, we got 36 pint size jars of pure golden honey. Because our family got smaller over the years, believe it or not, we still had two jars of honey left over this year when we took honey off again. Over time, one of the two jars crystallized. I’ve included a photograph of that below.
Honey will sugar, (crystallize) sometimes, but there is no worry if that happens, you can take a deep pan with warm to hot water (not boiling, and by no means, not over 160 degrees) and that is to maintain honey’s pure and natural properties, and to not pasteurize it. Once you have your hot water prepared, submerge your bottle of honey in it, if you have the time, you can stir inside the jar until it liquidfy’s (decrystallize’s) again–however, if you just let the jar sit in the water, it will decrystallize over time, in the warm water without stirring. You can repeat the process of warming the water, until your honey is completely decrystallized.
Caution: Do not set a jar of crystallized honey in a hot boiling pan to ‘cook.’ Turn off the hot boiling water first, and place the jar in warm to hot water–with the heat turned off under the pan.
VIRGINIA WRIGHT is author of: Buzzzzzzzz What Honeybees Do
Buy educational, non-fiction book: http://www.amazon.com/Buzzzzzzzz-What-Honeybees-Virginia-Wright-ebook/dp/B004EYUD9G