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This question is inspired by this answer suggesting that honey lasts a long time. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to last so long in my cupboard. I make sure it's sealed tight, but usually after only a week or two it's looking pretty nasty.

Is there a way to prevent this from happening? Or is there a standard (not to mention safe) way to "rescue" hardened honey without losing flavour or texture?

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6 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Keep it stored in an airtight container, so that it doesn't absorb moisture from the air.

If it congeals, put the container in hot water until honey is liquid (~10-15 minutes).

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Clarification: Do you mean to run the container itself under a hot tap? Is the result really "good as new?" –  Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 19:31
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Correct, put the container in hot water of some sort. I heat a pan full of water, and immerse the bottle. –  flicken Jul 16 '10 at 19:46
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For those people with microwaves or a kettle, you an also heat water (you want it hot, but not boiling), and give the honey a bath. It even works for plastic bottles. (when I say 'hot', maybe 150F ... you might be able to get glass jars hotter, but don't shock it as it might shatter –  Joe Jul 17 '10 at 11:31
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Hmm, sounds like you're getting "raw" unprocessed honey, which is a good thing, because that kind is in all ways better than store processed, but it tends to crystallize very rapidly.

To return it to it's liquid state, heat it slowly in a double boiler to around 145(f). It should turn clear and liquidy. Once it looks nice, cool it off by adding some cold water to the pot. Don't heat it in a closed containter: honey increases in volume when heated.

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Happens to the processed stuff too, actually. Double boiler is an interesting idea. I'm not sure how easy it would be to get it out of the container and into the boiler though! –  Aaronut Jul 16 '10 at 19:46
    
I always decrystallize honey in a double boiler. It's the only way to go. –  JSBձոգչ Jul 17 '10 at 1:33
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If your honey is in a glass jar, you can also just remove the lid and put it in the microwave for 20 - 30 seconds or so. All you're trying to do is heat it up so it goes back to liquid form. (But don't microwave it in plastic! Yuck!) I've never found a way to keep raw honey from crystallizing in the first place, though.

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My family owns a bee company and we have found the best way to melt honey back to it's liquid form is to immerse the whole bottle with lid still on into a crock pot filled with water and turn it on high for about an hour or so depending on how much honey your reheating. Fill the crock pot so that the water hits below the lid though because water will ruin your honey. And just keep checking your honey every 30 minutes or so. I know the original post is old but I hope this might help other people that may have the same question :)

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From this question it seems that you might be able to store it with the comb to make it last longer before crystallising.

According to this site you can store the comb for more than a few weeks by putting it in the freezer, it will thaw out as runny honey apparently.

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Get acacia honey - it practically never crystallizes.

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