I have been fielding many questions of late about the differences between our Liquid and Crystallized honey.
Nutritionally, there is no difference. When honey is first extracted from the hive, it is always in its liquid form. From that point forward, the honey will begin to crystallize at a rate that is dependant upon the flowers that the bees gather their nectar from, the storage temperature of the honey, the moisture content, & other factors. I've heard of honey that will crystallize in as little as a week or 2 from the extraction date, and I have some honey that after 2 years still shows no signs of crystallization. For our Utah honey, the time frame seems to be 4-8 months on average. For that reason, we are not always able to offer a liquid honey year around.
Crystallization basically occurs due to the sugar molecules attaching to pollens or other small impurities in the honey, and once the process begins it continues until the the entire container of honey is crystallized.
Honey that has been pasteurized &/or filtered removes nearly everything (including nutrients) that the sugars could attach to and therefore can sit on a store shelf without crystallization for years before it would eventually crystallize. Yes, pasteurized honey will still crystallize, but it takes a lot longer.
The savvy honey consumer will recognize that crystallized honey is only one indication that their honey is raw and Cold Extracted, but not the only indicator.
It is therefore important to recognize that if you are going to be consuming completely natural & untampered honey, you will almost unavoidably be dealing with crystallized honey either a little or a lot.
Many people actually prefer eating and enjoying the crystallized honey. For those who prefer their honey to be in its liquid state there are some prudent ways to reliquify your honey without damaging the delicate enzymes and nutrients that are constantly being damaged during commercial heating & packaging.
Method #1 (and my favorite) is to put your honey out in the sun for an afternoon & let the warmth slowly reliquify your honey.
Method #2 is to put your honey into a large pot of water on low heat until the temperature is uncomfortable for your hand. Then turn it off, or monitor at that temperature until the heat has slowly reliquified your honey.
Method #3 - If your oven has a "Warming" feature, put your honey in the oven at about 110-115 degrees for several hours monitoring till reliquified.
Never use a microwave!!
You will notice that all of the methods above can take a few hours. If it only takes you 15 minutes to reliquify your honey, the temperatures were almost certainly too hot. When using any of the above methods shake the honey bottle on occasion to even out the temperature of the honey throughout the bottle. Remember that you can damage your honey as easily as any honey packager can by getting it too hot.
If you have been shy about purchasing or using crystallized honey, I hope that this new information will give you the confidence to purchase and use some of our beautiful crystallized honey.