As with any food you hope to keep fresh for as long as possible, the question whether or not honey can simply be put in the freezer comes to mind. Honey is the timeless nutritional supplement and mealtime sweetener that has been enjoyed by humans for thousands of years. Today, honey is more plentiful and available than ever before, and comes in a variety of floral flavors. However, sometimes the price just seems a little ridiculous, especially for the size of the bottle. Expensive luxuries such as these need to be savored over time, or this liquid gold will cost you in the long run.
Image used under Creative Commons from Siona Karen
Honey does not freeze
Honey doesn’t freeze, and the reason behind this is very interesting. Honey is a saccharine rich substance, and the more sugar that is dissolved into water the harder it becomes to freeze. Honey itself is a very low moisture substance, so the water content is practically nothing. This means that honey doesn’t really become frozen, it only becomes more viscous the colder it gets. However, even though honey doesn’t freeze, there are reasons why you might want to store it in the freezer.
Shelf life and storage of honey
Honey can last practically forever, as long as it is stored in an airtight container, at low humidity, and at room temperature or lower. That doesn’t mean that each storage method is equal or desirable. When stored at room temperature, honey has a tendency to crystallize, making the honey gritty the next time you try and enjoy it. There is also an issue of maintaining a proper seal at room temperature. Porous containers, such as plastic bottles, can allow moisture in over time, potentially furthering crystallization. An open container or broken seal can allow in both moisture and microorganisms, potentially leading to fermentation or spoilage. There is also a matter of changing flavors. Like cheese and wine, the flavor of honey adapts over time, and this can be either good or bad depending on whether the changes suit your taste. This can be especially true for honey blends, as one flavor might become more pungent after aging, when before it was subtle.
When honey is placed in a very cool environment, the changes in flavor and texture are halted. Honey does not crystallize in the freezer, but actually can crystallize more in the refrigerator, so if you can’t store in the freezer at the moment, just leave it out until you can. Like honey that is stored at room temperature, honey in the freezer should be sealed airtight. Storing in a glass container is also preferable, as plastic storage containers run the risk of letting in the flavors of other items kept in the freezer, as well as that dreaded freezer burn taste.
When “thawing” honey, there are a few methods. The fastest method is to put it in the microwave. This comes with some drawbacks though. Most microwaves have different intensities and can overcook the honey in the same time another would thaw it. The best method is to place the container in which you stored the honey into a pot of warm water until the desired consistency is attained. If stored properly, honey from the freezer sure look and taste just like the day you bought it. However, be careful not to heat the honey to much, as it can burn and change the taste.