How To Soften Honey That Has Hardened
If you’re used to honey that maintains its original molten, sticky consistency despite it sitting untouched on your shelf for months, chances are your honey isn’t raw. Raw Manuka honey isn’t processed like most store-bought honey — with no additives, preservatives, or pasteurization process, raw Manuka honey may harden (or crystalize).
Hardened or crystalized honey isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s the contrary. Your Manuka honey crystalizing is a surefire sign from Mother Nature that you’ve purchased authentically raw, unprocessed honey.
Hardened honey is nothing to worry about, but it can make getting your morning spoonful just a bit more challenging. Since we’re sure you’re buzzing to get into your Manuka honey jar, we’ll explain the best way to soften your hard honey (along with some delicious ways to enjoy it once its back to its creamy, rich texture)
Why Does Honey Harden?
Never experienced hardened honey before? Don’t be alarmed; hardened raw honey is completely normal (and natural) over time. Before overly processed honey became the norm at the grocery store, all liquid honey would crystallize.
While it may seem odd for your bottle of honey to harden, it’s your honey's way of showing you it's still rich with those precious enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that make it the naturally beneficial product you know and love.
Most commercially-produced honey goes through a rapid heating and cooling process to prevent the crystallization process (hardening) and accomplish a uniform color and consistency.
Everyone has a different approach to beekeeping and honey harvesting, but at Manukora, we believe in The Art of Ethical Beekeeping, which eliminates the need for pasteurization.
In practicing ethical beekeeping, our bees make their honey on their own time, meaning we don’t prematurely remove the honey from the hives before it’s been wax-capped and fully dehydrated.
With this, the honey is in its final form by harvest, and heating honey isn’t necessary. Without the heating process, you may have to decrystallize honey after it’s sat for a while, but we promise the benefits of raw Manuka honey are so, so worth it.
How Do I Soften Hardened Honey?
The first thing you can do is get ahead of the game and know how to store honey in its optimal condition. There is no need to refrigerate your honey after opening — it’ll be perfectly safe in your pantry.
The optimal temperature to store your Manuka honey is 68 degrees Fahrenheit (right at the lower end of room temperature).
Keeping your honey in the pantry will ensure it doesn’t get too cold, and also that it doesn’t heat up from being exposed to direct sunlight — like how filtered honey can lose its excellent health benefits from the heating process, prolonged direct sunlight can also affect your Manuka honey’s beneficial properties.
Softening (or de-crystallizing) your honey is simple, easy, and just a few steps away. There are a few different approaches.
Do: Give Your Honey a Hot Water Bath
The quickest and easiest method is to heat a medium bowl of water in the microwave so you can essentially give your honey a quick warm bath. Heat the water to a temperature that is warm to the touch but not hot enough that you’d pull your fingers away (130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). Next, place the entire jar of honey into the warm water bath. Allow the honey to sit in the warm water for a minute or two and stir.
Your Manuka should return to its thick, creamy consistency in just a few moments — give it a taste; chances are you won’t be disappointed.
Don’t: Put Your Honey in Boiling Water
Some sites may recommend putting your jar of honey into a pot of boiling water. The main reason we don’t recommend this is because water boils at 212°F — honey pasteurizes at 160°F. A jar isn’t enough to protect your raw honey from losing some of its beneficial properties to what is ultimately heat processing.
If you’re not keen on giving the honey a bath or if you don’t have a microwave readily available, you can opt to run the container of honey under hot sink water instead.
What If the Honey Is Too Runny?
Like how your honey can harden, the consistency can change, making it too runny. When enjoying this healthy indulgence, you want its texture to match its delicious flavor.
When it comes to raw honey, runniness is seldom an issue unless it’s stored in an overly warm environment. Usually, runny honey is only an issue with honey that has been heat-treated and removed from the hives too early, which Manukora honey is not.
However, that’s not to say something is wrong if your Manuka honey is a little runny. You can expect raw honey to harden in the cooler months and become more watery in the warm ones if you live in a hotter, more humid climate.
Expect Manukora Manuka honey to be dark, thick, and creamy — like no other honey you’ve experienced.
If your Manuka honey is still too runny, place it in the fridge overnight. The average commercial honey will embody a more liquid-like consistency, whereas Manuka will be much thicker in its ideal state.
Luckily for your honey (and your taste buds), getting your Manuka honey back to that ultra-thick and creamy consistency is as simple as cooling it.
If your honey is too runny, place it in the fridge for about half an hour; the cooler temperature should rejuvenate it and bring it back to its desired creamy state.
Time To Indulge
Now that your Manuka honey is the perfect velvety thickness, all that’s left to do is indulge. You can enjoy your Manuka honey stirred into some tea, drizzled on top of your favorite dessert, or straight from a spoon on an empty stomach; your body will thank you for the tons of beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals either way!
Looking to learn more about all things Manuka honey? Click here to explore the Manukora blog.
Ready to experience the rich creamy indulgence of Manuka honey for yourself? Explore Manukora’s raw Manuka honey here.
The Science Behind Honey’s Eternal Shelf Life | SmithsonianMag
Effect of honey in the gut microbial balance | Food Quality and Safety | Oxford Academic
Why does honey crystallize? | Scienceline