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Does Honey Freeze?

Does Honey Freeze?

There is a lot of debate when it comes to storing honey, and many people believe that freezing is a great way to do this – but does honey freeze in the first place?

Pure and raw honey does not actually freeze, but at temperatures below 4-degrees Fahrenheit, the honey will crystallize and turn to solid. If you do not want your honey to crystallize, store honey in airtight containers in a cool, dry place that is away from direct light.

Wondering how to store or freeze your honey? Keep reading to learn more!

Storing Honey

One of the key benefits of raw or organic pure honey is that it doesn’t go bad. This makes it a sensible food item to keep on hand over the long term.

The reason why honey doesn’t spoil has to do with the enzyme that is in honey, transferred from the bee during honey production. Honey has antimicrobial elements that make it less prone to going bad than other foods.

Furthermore, honey is acidic, with a low pH level. These further contribute to the long shelf life of honey.

Honey is a viscous, thick liquid that solidifies in freezing temperatures but that doesn’t actually freeze. As it gets colder, the honey becomes even thicker and more viscous, until the honey crystallizes.

The thing to remember is that honey is more liquid in warmer temperatures and more viscous in colder temps. Over time, dramatic fluctuations in the temperature that the honey is in could impact the quality, flavor, and traits of the honey.

Know that you can store honey for many years at room temperature, in airtight containers. You want to make sure that the climate is dry and that the honey is protected from moisture, which can introduce bacteria to your honey.

Refrigerating Honey

There is no need to refrigerate honey, though it does not hurt the honey to be stored in the fridge. The more important cautions are to protect the honey from direct light, moisture, or extremely warm temperatures if you want it to last a long time.

Freezing Honey

It is possible to store honey in the freezer, but does it actually freeze? Probably not at the temperatures of most home freezers. This is a method used by beekeepers and farmers for storing large amounts of honey, and preserving or protecting it for later.

At colder-than-usual temperatures, the honey won’t crystallize and industrial freezers used in agricultural operations may get cold enough to effectively freeze the viscous honey.

As for the raw, pure honey from your hives, it will not freeze but, instead, will crystallize. It may appear frozen and seem solid at temperatures around -4F, it is not technically frozen. It is important to remember that honey freezes below -4F, while most freezers have a maximum cold temperature of -4C.

An empty beehive dripping honey

Crystallizing Honey

So, instead of freezing honey, you are, in actuality, crystallizing it. Raw, unfiltered honey crystallizes at around 11-degrees Celsius (or about 51-degrees Fahrenheit).

If you add a sprinkle of water- just a dash- the process may be quicker. Keeping the crystallized honey in this state- unthawed- also produces a product known as creamed honey, which is an opaque, spreadable type of honey.

Freezing Frames of Honey

If you harvest your own honey, you may choose to do what many beekeepers and farmers do, which is to freeze the actual frames or honeycombs, themselves. This preserves the honey for harvesting later, often when dealing with a bulk supply.

This is also a pragmatic approach when you live in a region with fluctuating temperatures. It keeps the honey preserved and protected until you choose to harvest, filter, and use it.

Some beekeepers may sell their honey in this frozen state. Since there is so little moisture in honey, you won’t need to worry about it expanding when frozen and damaging your hive frames at all. 

Another prudent reason to ‘flash freeze’ the frames of your hive is to make sure that any wax moths that could be in the hive are dead and gone.

Thawing Honey

When you are ready to enjoy your frozen honey, make sure to allow time for it to slowly thaw. The honey will be crystallized, so allow it to thaw at room temperature for best results.

This ensures your honey will be liquid and smooth when thawed- do not apply high heat to expedite this process as it can deteriorate, discolor, and damage your honey.

Honey FAQs

Does Honey Go Bad?

Raw, pure honey does not go bad if it is stored properly. The reasons for this include honey’s low moisture content, which does not support the growth of bacteria.

Honey is acidic, so it is even less susceptible to spoilage via bacteria. When honey is naturally produced, it contains an enzyme from the bee that makes it antibacterial.

How Long Does It Take for Honey to Crystallize in the Fridge?

Honey can crystallize in 12-48 hours, typically.

How to Store Raw Honey?

Raw honey should be stored in airtight containers and placed in cool, dry places that are out of direct light.

How to Eat Comb Honey?

To enjoy honeycomb, just chew on it! You may also choose to remove the honey from the honeycomb by placing it in a bowl and allowing it to drain out of the comb cells.

Does Honey Need to Be Refrigerated After Opening?

Honey does not require refrigeration if it is stored in a cool, dry place that is out of direct light. Protect your honey from moisture, too.

As you can see, honey is a shelf-stable product that belongs in every pantry. Honey does freeze at the right temperatures, but if your freezer does not get cold enough to preserve honey, consider storing tightly closed jars in a cool, dry place.