Honey is loved by all the generations and trusted for multiple health benefits. It is the most amazing natural sweetner. Zizira explorers met many beekeepers in our Epic trips in search of indigenous plants and products. We found the bees and honey more and more amusing with each fact we heard from the beekeepers of Meghalaya.
Although, honey is most loved, It is least understood by all the honey lovers. Honey is most beneficial when it is in the most raw and natural form. Thanks to commercialization of honey by many brands, people got aware of the honey benefits but also got carried away from the facts about honey. So, get ready to burst your myths about real honey!
Crystallization is a natural and uncontrolled process that happens when the glucose in honey loses water and takes the form of crystal. Honey can become granulated over time due to crystallization. The sugar's tendency of honey to crystallize depends primarily on its glucose content and moisture level.
The right way to warm your honey is by putting the honey jar in hot water (not boiling) or keeping it under the sun. Do not microwave or heat the honey directly to preserve the quality. Honey should not be heated above 40 degree Celsius to maintain the enzymes and to make sure that honey remains raw with all its nutritional value. Honey that has been overheated rarely crystallizes, so finding solid honey is a good indication that it isn't processed.
Phases of crystallization:
Before the honey gets completely crystallized, there are different phases it undergoes at room temperature (20° C -22° C) which are as follows.
- Just after its filling - The honey has a warm, smooth, and drippy consistency with a clear golden-brown color.
- After a week - The color of the honeys gets a little darker and its consistency becomes thick and sticky.
- After two weeks - During the second week, the honey tends to attain a dull brown color and becomes thick and this is when it starts crystallizing.
- After 3 weeks - During the third week you can actually see the signs of crystallization in your bottle. The color of the honey becomes a lighter shade of brown with some white formation on it. The honey gets really thick with a semisolid texture.
- After 4 weeks - You will really observe the difference during this week. The honey attains a light brown color with some white tints. The texture becomes very thick, but you will still see some liquid in it.
- After 6 weeks - During this phase, the honey turns into a creamy texture with an off-white color. The consistency becomes extremely thick and it will not have a flow.
- After 7 weeks - The honey becomes completely crystallized and will be buff colored with a solid creamy texture. You will observe crystals like formation of the natural sugars in it. A spoon will be needed to scoop it as this crystallized honey will not easily flow.
How to decrystallize honey?
To turn your crystallized honey into liquid again, a gentle heat technique is followed.
Boil water in a container and remove it from heat.
Place the jar of honey in it making sure the water does not reach the top of the jar.
The honey slowly liquefies. Repeat the process if the honey is still solidified.
The jar can also be kept under the sun till it liquefies.
Note: It is not recommended to microwave raw honey or to put it in direct heat as this may destroy some of its essential nutrients.
Just like crystallization, Foam forming on top of honey bottle or sometimes oozing out of the bottle is absolutely normal. While filling the honey in bottles, air gets trapped in it and later comes up to the top. This foam is actually rich with pollen content and sometimes has traces of Propalis.
Taste, Color, and Thickness
These characteristics keep changing and they depend on which flowers the bees are collecting nectar from. Different seasons and weather conditions also affect honey's taste, texture, and color. Raw honey can be of a different color from very dark to almost colorless depending on the source of nectar. Honey generally appears lighter when crystallized.
Store honey in a cool, dry place in a tightly sealed container. It is not necessary to refrigerate honey.
Honey for Infants and Diabetic Patients
It is adviced to avoid giving honey to newborn babies and infants as their digestive systems are not completely developed to handle raw honey. It is not always recommended for people with diabetis. Diabetic patients should consult their physicians about consuming honey.
How Zizira honey is sourced and packed
Zizira sources honey from traditional beekeepers of Meghalaya. Our beekeepers extract the honey at night because the bees do not bite at night and they do not need to use smoke. The raw honey is then brought to the Zizira unit and we pack it in sterilized bottles to ship to your home.
I was under the impression that the crystallization of honey is an indicator of the quality of the honey, or the lack of it.. How wrong I was.
When the honey I bought from Zizira started crystallizing, I was upset. But then I checked with a couple of senior Ayurvedic doctors. They told me that crystallization is a natural progression of honey as it ages. I was further told that these crystals are excellent for the treatment of cough and sore throats and that in ancient times, these crystals were the preferred medicine for these ailments.
crystalysation of raw honey is interesting reminds me when I was little my mom used to take honey mixed with lime for cough and the bottle used to have the light yellow sugar at the bottom. The honey was from Shillong!
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