Crystallization of honey is little understood by the consuming public. Many assume that honey appears crystallized to be an adulterated or unnatural product.
That is not so. Actually, crystallization process is natural and spontaneous. Most pure raw or unheated honey has a natural tendency to crystallize over time. Crystallization does not affect the honey except for colour and texture. Crystallized honey is not spoiled and preserves the flavour and quality characteristics of the liquid honey. Some honey users like it in this state since it is easy to spread on bread or toast without dripping off and the taste is richer.
Bear in mind that crystallization of honey has no bearing on its quality, but it is an attribute of pure and natural honey.
Crystallized honey can be brought back to liquid consistency by gently heating it in a hot water bath (Bain Marie) or warming cabinet (box) until the honey re-liquefies. Heat a saucepan filled with enough water to reach the level of honey in the jar to 35 – 40ºC, then remove it from the heat or turn off the heat. Take the lid off of the honey jar and immerse the jar in the water. Let it stand for about 20-30 minutes.
Honey is a very difficult food to be adulterated. It is not easy to mix it with water a potential mixture of honey with glucose or any other sweetener can be easily traced. Honey has 12 different quality standards and is one of the foods that is been constantly tested.
There are honey varieties that crystallize slowly, such as Citrus (Orange blossom honey), Bell heather (Calluna cinerea) and rosemary. Thyme chestnut honey is crystallized after 6-15 months, while pine tree and fir honey after 20 months, or more.