bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Friday, June 18, 2004

Crystallizing the issues

Here's a curious statement in an otherwise well-informed piece from the University of Florida:
In terms of commercial consumer appeal, granulated honey is generally regarded as unacceptable.
I wonder if this is peculiar to the coarse crystallization of local Floridian honeys. In British honey shows, there is often a category for naturally crystallized honey. Granted, some naturally crystallized honey can give a very coarse texture (crunchy, nice!) or a rock-hard fine texture (spoon-breaker), but a significant amount of UK honey crystallizes naturally very nicely, thank you.

The article also has a scary title: “Is honey thickened by crystallization safe to eat?” For those of you in any doubt, crystallization in itself is a perfectly natural occurrence in virtually every honey (except perhaps acacia and ling heather honeys). But, when honey starts crystallizing and then separates with liquid honey above the crystallized honey, the liquid part has less sugar and unwelcome fermentation of the liquid can become an issue. I've heard some stories about bees having parties consuming their own fermented honey.


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