Why does Honey Crystallize?

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Why does Honey Crystallize?

Most of the time, honey crystallizes when it is removed from the honey comb. Some of the honey crystallizes after it is removed from the source. Some of the honey types remain as liquid for several months. Honey that consists of high content of glucose will crystallize fast and this crystallized form will exist in a semi-solid state. This phenomenon occurs when the excess glucose from the supersaturated solution gets precipitated out. This separated glucose loses water and forms a crystal. The water that comes out of the glucose will generate moisture in other parts of the container and this increased moisture content in the honey container might create conditions for fermentation.

Crystallization can be done in controlled conditions which create a product called creamed honey, spun honey, whipped or churned honey. Crystallization that occurs spontaneously will appear as rough and exists as grains. Crystallization occurring under any control will result in smooth particles that can be distributed and spread.

Honey crystallizes when the glucose content is about more than seventy percent in the supersaturated solution. As the glucose comes out of the solution, the solution becomes saturated. The glucose molecules act as starting structures to the formation of crystals. Other small substances or even bubbles can also act as initializers of crystallization.

Among the factors that cause crystallization apart from glucose are the other substances that aid in crystallization like minerals, acids, and proteins. Crystallization can be triggered by dust, pollen, wax or air bubbles in the honey. The other factors that have the tendency to stimulate crystallization of honey are temperature, relative humidity and type of container. Some types of honeys like tupelo and sage honeys which consist of 30 percent glucose do not crystallize. Sugars other than glucose like maltose and sucrose also influence the crystallization.

However, the crystallization process can destroy the honey quality by creating the environment for fermentation.

Author: Hari M

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