Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Crystallized Honey - Has It Gone Bad? And Other Questions, Answered

The golden glow of a jar of honey appears as liquid sunshine.  One can almost feel the summer sun's warmth and hear the hum of busy bees when looking at the rich, viscous substance. 

The benefits of crystallized honey.

For some however, concern can arise when, seemingly out of nowhere, this perfect liquid begins to form a cloudy appearance.  This is called crystallization and there is actually no need for any alarm.

A common misunderstanding of crystallized honey is that it is “spoiled” or “adulterated”.  The fact of the matter is quite the opposite.  Pure and unadulterated honey can naturally and spontaneously crystalize over time – this has no effect on the honey other than the color and texture.  In fact, crystallization will often help preserve the quality of the flavor of the honey and it is the one sure way to ensure that the honey you are consuming is pure and unadulterated.

The benfits of crystallized honey

Why does honey crystallize?

Honey crystallization happens when glucose, one of the main sugars in honey, separates from the super-saturated honey solution.  Honey is made up of about 70% sugar and about 20% water.  Glucose serves as a starting point for the formation of crystals.  As water evaporates, the glucose takes the form of a crystal.  The crystals form a framework which holds the other elements of honey in a suspension, creating the semi-hard state.

Crystallization is honey’s natural way of preserving itself.  There are several different factors that determine if and when honey will crystallize and the manner in which it crystallizes - storage temperature, type of flower(s) it originates from and overall natural sugar content ratio and composition of the honey.  Due to these many factors, sometimes honey will fully crystallize while at other times it will only gradually crystallize.

Most mass-produced, commercial honey will crystallize very, very slowly.  This is because the pollen (and some of the flavor) has been filtered out and sometimes, in the worst of cases, fillers are added to reduce cost.  It may sweeten your tea, but it has also lost some of the nutritional value and in some cases is no longer pure.

Pelindaba Lavender Gourmet Honey is pure and Certified Organic, therefore free from unwanted additives.  At Pelindaba we believe in embracing nature.  Our very foundation, the fields of lavender, depend on it.  Each year we yield an organic crop based on the conditions of nature and we and our visitors are never disappointed.  We approach honey in the same fashion.  Crystallized honey is a favorite of ours at the farm for many reasons.

Benefits of crystallized honey:

In the body.... Many honey users prefer crystallized honey and enjoy it for its ease of spreading on toast and sprinkling on salads and dessert dishes.  It has a lovely grainy texture that melts in your mouth and is very easy to scoop with a spoon.  Indeed, some raw honey recipes can be easier to make with partially or fully-crystallized honey — and, the taste is richer.

Try adding lavender crystallized honey to your favorite plain yogurt for a texture and flavor that is sure to please your palate.

The benefits of crystallized honey.

On the body.... Crystallized lavender honey also makes a naturally moisturizing skin and lip scrub.  Simply mix crystallized honey with equal parts oatmeal that has been smoothed in a blender.  About a ½ Tablespoon each is enough for one treatment.  Adding smashed fresh seasonal berries to this mixture will boost the antioxidant effects.

Wet skin with warm water and apply the mixture in circular motions.  Leave the crystallized lavender honey scrub on your skin as a mask for 5 minutes.  The natural antimicrobial benefits of both honey and lavender will help to cleanse and disinfect the skin gently and naturally.  Rinse skin with warm water and pat dry.  Skin will feel soft, supple and clean.

A homemade crystallized lavender honey scrub can be a lovely variant to Pelindaba's Lavender Sugar Scrub.  Try adding this alternative to your regular skin care regime.

The benefits of crystallized honey.

The next time nature provides crystallized honey, embrace the opportunity to try something new and take pleasure in the benefits of this natural phenomenon and the certainty that your honey is pure.  You’ll be delighted you did!

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